Diamond World explains you all you need to know about Diamond Carat.
   
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Home > Diamond Education > Carat

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Carat Weight
The weight of a diamonds is generally given in carats. The term carat originated in ancient times when gemstones were weighted against the carob bean. Each bean weighed about one carat. In 1913, carat weight was standardized internationally and adapted to the metric system. One carat equals 0.2 grams - a little more than 0.007 ounce. In other words, it takes 142 carats to equal 1 ounce.

Two terms, carat and karat are often confused. Karat refers to the fineness of gold alloys (pure gold is 24 karat; 14 karat is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals) and carat refers to gem weights.

The weight of small diamonds is frequently expressed in points, with one point equaling 0.01 carats. For example, five points is a short way of saying 5/100 of a carat and fifty points equates to a half carat.

Sometimes in the jewelry trade, the term size is used as a synonym for carat weight. This is because small round diamonds having the same weight also look the same size and similar diameters. As diamonds increase in weight, their size becomes less predictable. Diamonds with a shallow cut can have a greater diameter than a deeper cut diamond with the same weight. However, you don't want the diamond to be too shallow or it will not reflect the light properly and will have less brilliance.

Diamond Measurements
It is similar to asking how tall a 200 pound man is. You have no way of knowing because you don't know how the man is proportioned. The same holds true for diamonds. So if size is important to you, focus on diamond measurements as opposed to carat weight. You don't need to carry a millimeter gauge when you go shopping. Just start asking what the different millimeter measurements are and note how they look. Diamonds that look big for their weight may have reduced brilliance and fire so always insist on great cut.

Note that an increase in carat weight does not produce the same increase in millimeter diameter. For example, there is a 25% increase in carat weight from 1.00 carats to 1.25 carats but less than 8% increase in diameter (6.5 to 7.0 mm). This concept, along with the increased price per carat, explains why prices increase dramatically in order to get noticeably bigger millimeter size. Please have a look at the figure below to see the carat weight of a diamond and diamater in mm.
diamond world carat

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Carat Price
The weight of a diamond has a large impact on price. All other factors being equal, the heavier the diamond, the greater its cost will be. Diamonds lose approximately 40-60% of their rough weight when they are cut. Over 1 million rough diamonds must be mined before one is found that can be cut into a 1.00 carat finished diamond! Please have a look at the figure below to get an impression of price increasement based on carat. Have a look at our Diamond Education - Cost page to learn more about cost on diamonds.
diamonds pricing explanation With each weight category increase (quarter, third, half), the value per carat of a diamond will increase significantly and almost geometrically (given all have the same other factors). A stone which is twice as large as an otherwise identical smaller stone might be three or more times more expensive. So while you might see a price for a smaller stone at $2,000 per carat, as you price the same cut, color and clarity in a larger stone you'll see dramatic increases.

There are standards for reporting a diamond's weight. FTC guidelines allow a one-half point (1/2) tolerance in the stated weight of a diamond. For example, a diamond weighing .495 carat can be legally sold as a 50 point diamond, while a .494 carat diamond must be sold as a 49 point stone. Some stores sell diamonds according to size ranges so you need to insist on knowing the exact weight of your loose diamond.

Advice: Look for diamonds that have a diameter measurement that is at least as large as the average for that weight. In other words, don't pay for weight you can't see.

If you did not find your Diamond answer here, please have a look at our
Diamond Tutorial.

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NOTE: On January 1, 2003 many countries around the world have 'Kimberley Process' established by world governments and the diamond industry to eradicate the trade in conflict diamonds. All the diamonds used in our engagement rings, earrings and jewelry are purchased form legitimate sources in compliance with the United Nations resolution. We do not and will not ever sell conflict diamonds.