Buying a diamond can be a confusing process if you don’t know what to look for, especially when it comes to diamond carat weight.
Natural diamonds are such a precious commodity that an entire industry has been built around them — complete with special terms like “carat” that were created to measure their worth. But what does carat weight actually refer to?
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about diamond carat weight, diamond sizes, and how to buy a diamond with these terms in mind.
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The term “carat” was first accepted as an official unit for measuring diamonds less than a century ago, in 1907.
Currently, the standard for one carat is equal to 200 mg, with subdivisions of 100 points for more accurate measurements. For example, a 1.11 ct diamond would weigh exactly 222 mg.
Diamond carat weight is most commonly used by jewellers to refer to the mass of diamonds — the higher the carat weight, the bigger the diamond is in general.
It’s also one of the 4C’s (factors for measuring the quality of a diamond), the other 3 being diamond clarity, colour, and cut.
In the past, before the current standard for carat existed, diamonds were compared to other types of small items to determine their weight and size, such as carob seeds, with each country having their own standard for what a carat was.
Nowadays, diamond carats are measured using electronic scales for the best accuracy and also to ensure that buyers get what they pay for.
Because they are used to measure weight rather than dimensions, carats are by far the most reliable way to get a rough idea of a diamond’s size, no matter what cut the diamond has.
Differently cut diamonds with the same carat weight may have varying shapes but inherently have the same volume.
In Australia, a good-sized diamond for an engagement ring is typically around 1 carat, while diamond studded earrings are usually half that size at 0.5 carat.
Theoretically speaking, there is no “maximum number of carats” for a diamond — after all, natural diamonds can get as big as a few hundred carats, but this is only limited by how they are produced or found on the earth.
Diamond carat weight isn’t everything, and if your aim is to get the most amount of carats in a diamond, you’ll likely be paying a lot more than what you realistically should.
Understanding diamond carat weight can be very useful in your search for the perfect diamond, but only if you know how to use it.
One way to use diamond carat weight is as a guide for your budget. Because carat weight is a major factor in determining the quality and price of a diamond, you can use rough price estimates to guide your search:
We’ll give you a moment to catch your breath. Yes, we know the ranges are huge, and this is why we recommend looking at the 4C’s as a whole when deciding on a diamond instead of just carat weight.
The other way to use diamond carat weight is to see what it looks like in its setting, whether as part of a ring, necklace, bracelet, or earrings. Look up similar-sized gemstones in your desired setting to get an idea of how bold or subtle they appear, and consider how they would wear on the intended recipient.
Bigger is not always better, and the perfect diamond is not always the one with the highest carat weight.
At the end of the day, the decision to buy a diamond comes down to how much you’ve fallen in love with it. A diamond’s carat size is only one of the factors that measure its quality, so be sure to do as much research as possible to make the best decision you can.
Diamonds are forever, so is your decision to buy them. If you need any advice for buying a diamond, you can rely on our team at GS Diamonds to guide you through each step of the way to finding one that you or your loved one will cherish for a lifetime.