C is for Carat: Figuring out your diamond’s weight

DiamondYou’ve heard the ads, “1 carat total weight diamonds.” But what does it mean and how is it measured? Here’s the low-down on carat weight.

Diamonds (along with other gemstones) are measured in metric carats, abbreviated as “ct.” A carat equals 0.2 grams, or as the GIA puts it, “about the same weight as a paperclip.” This is carat with a “c,” as opposed to karat with a “k,” which is a measure of the purity of gold. (And as opposed to a carrot, which makes your eyesight better so you can see your diamond… )

A diamond carat is divided into 100 “points.” So a ½-carat can also be referred to as 50 points. Diamonds are weighed to the thousandth (.001) of a carat. They’re  then rounded to the nearest hundredth, so our example diamond would be considered .01 of a carat.

Examples of carat weight

Examples of carat weight

The source of diamond carats

The word carat actually comes from the carob seed. These seeds usually have a uniform weight— about 0.2 grams—so early traders used them as a counterweight on their scales. Of course, today, the weight has been standardized throughout the world

Cut or carat: Which is more important?

Think of the first question you ask someone with a new engagement ring: How many carats is it? But this shouldn’t be the only factor that you take into consideration when you’re buying a diamond. A lot depends on the quality of both the cut and clarity. You could buy a large diamond that doesn’t shine or show off as well as one with a higher level of clarity. How a diamond is cut can actually obscure its size and true weight. A beautifully cut .90-carat diamond may show off better in a setting than a full carat.

Bottom line…all 4C’s (cut, clarity, color, and carat) need to be taken into consideration when you’re looking to buy (or sell) a diamond. Diamonds are an important investment, so if you want an expert opinion on your gems , let me know. I’m happy to help.

Brilliantly yours,


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