You’ve probably heard the term carat when it comes to diamonds and other gemstones but may not be completely sure what it means exactly. Understanding how diamonds are weighed can help you choose the one that best suits your preferences. Carat weight is one of the 4 Cs of a diamond’s value. The others are color, clarity and cut. Combined with carat, these influence both the look and the cost of a given diamond. Let’s learn a little bit more about carat weight.
History of the Carat System
The development of the carat weight system can be traced back to the carob seed, which ancient gem dealers used to counter their balance scales. In today’s industry, a carat diamond weighs the same all over the world so there’s consistency when making a purchase or sale.
What is a Carat?
A carat refers to how much a diamond weighs. One carat is equivalent to ? of a gram and is often subdivided into 100 points. Unlike some of the other ways a diamond’s value is determined, carats are a bit more objective. An expert typically uses a very precise scale that is able to measure such small weights. Usually a higher carat weight results in higher price.
As mentioned above, a carat is divided into 100 points and some jewelers refer to the gems by their point value. For example, a diamond that is a ¼ carat might be called a “twenty-five pointer.” For diamonds that weigh more than a carat, a decimal is added. For example, a diamond that weighs 1.04 carats would be referred to as “one point oh four carats.”
Using Carat to Determine Price
Generally speaking, a higher carat weight results in a higher-priced diamond. That’s because larger ones are more rare and therefore have a higher value. However, two diamonds of equal carat weight may not cost the same amount. That’s because experts at both the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society also take into account the color, cut and clarity of the diamond. The combination of these factors influences the total cost of a diamond, no matter where you’re buying from.
Choosing a Diamond
If you’ve decided that you want a certain diamond weight, that’s a good place to start when you begin shopping for a gemstone. Diamonds that weigh exactly a half-carat, a three-quarter carat or a full carat are called “magic sizes” and tend to cost more than those that are just at or below that weight. The Pricescope diamond carat weight determines the price and even the difference between a diamond that weighs .99 carats and one that weighs 1 carat can be quite dramatic.
Carat is one of the most important factors in diamond price, but you might also consider choosing a diamond that you love, even if it’s not a magic size. If you love the look and size of the diamond, the official carat weight is just a number. Loving your diamond is much more important.