What Is a Diamond Carat? Everything You Need To Know

When we shop for gemstones or receive a piece of jewelry, we hear that it’s a specific carat. Or, we hear a diamond ring is 3-carats. But what exactly does this mean? A carat, not a karat, is a specific measurement used for diamonds and other gemstones. It measures the stone’s weight and is one of the 4Cs. Each of the 4Cs determine how much a gemstone will cost.

On the other hand, a karat (kt) measures gold purity. For example, an 18kt piece is 75% gold and 25% alloy. While the two can be easily confused, they’re different from one another since they measure different things.

Even more interesting, “carat” has a root in the word Carob. This is because long ago, Carob seeds measured the weight of a diamond. Gem traders would use these seeds to counterweigh a diamond on a balance scale to determine their worth. One Carob seed weighed about one carat. With all this information, you may find yourself wondering “What is a diamond carat?” Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Carat Weight?

A carat is not the same as size because a diamond could visually look small but have a high carat weight. So, rather than measure size, carat measures a gemstone’s weight. Since carat is a measure of weight, you can convert it to grams if necessary; one carat is approximately 1/5 of a gram.

While a gem’s carat weight affects its value, it isn’t the sole factor that determines price. Fascinating, right? People often see a diamond ring with a high carat weight and expect it to cost a fortune. This is one factor determining a diamonds price since they’re sold based on weight. But carat weight isn’t the only thing affecting the stone’s price tag. The 4Cs also includes cut, clarity, and color. So, you can usually sacrifice one for another and still buy a gorgeous gem.

Size VS. Weight

You may find yourself wondering how size and weight can be so different. Diamond size is visual and measured in millimeters (mm). These beautiful gemstones aren’t sold by size but by their weight.

For this reason, jewelers want you to focus on diamond weight, not size. After all, you should focus on what’s affecting the price. Sometimes, you could get a larger diamond at a fair price if it has a lower carat weight. So, that big diamond ring your friend showed off may not have the carat weight you expected!

A bigger diamond doesn’t always weigh more simply because it measures larger. You could have two diamonds with the same diameter but different weights. The diamond that weights more will have more carat points, and the deeper a diamond is, the more it weighs.

Sizing Charts

If you look at a traditional diamond chart, it will probably say a 1-carat diamond measures 6.5 mm. However, today’s sizing charts say that a 1-carat diamond is around 6.4 mm.

So, why do things keep changing? Well, they’re not really changing. The actual size of a diamond has always varied. Remember, a diamond’s weight and size are different. It’s possible to have a big diamond with a relatively low weight.

Another reason diamonds rarely measure as large as projected size in millimeters is because of weight. Most of the time, diamonds are bottom-heavy. As a result, you could have several 2-carat diamonds with varying millimeter sizes.

Diamonds Are Smaller Than Advertised

You could have two diamonds weigh the same, but if one is deeper, it measures smaller. There is another reason diamonds don’t always measure up to sizing charts—they’re usually smaller than advertised.

How could this be? Well, diamond cutters favor depth over beauty. Many cutters will cut a stone as deep as possible while keeping it within the cut grade. They do this because the diamond will end up weighing more and selling at a higher price. However, if a diamond lost a few carat points, it would shine brighter. Isn’t that what most buyers want? A beautiful ring always dazzles in the light.

What’s Wrong With Depth?

Cutting stones for depth does come at a price. When cutting stones like this, they sacrifice beauty. A deeper diamond may weigh more and have more carat points, but it’s less beautiful. A deeper diamond is darker, so it won’t shine the same. However, diamonds are sold by weight. If the diamond weighs more, then it comes at a higher price despite the dark areas on the gem.

But is sacrificing the diamond’s pure beauty worth it? We here at Fire and Ice Diamonds don’t think so. We refuse to cut diamonds for depth simply to drive up their price. We cut every stone for beauty to ensure you buy a ring that’s bigger, brighter, and whiter to other excellent cut diamonds. The depth isn’t worth it if it means sacrificing beauty.

Now that you’ve answered the question “What is a diamond carat?” and have learned everything you need to know, pick the jewelry that speaks to you. When you’re at the jewelry shop, the jeweler may want you to focus on weight. If you want a diamond with a lot of carat points, then they’re right—you should focus on weight. But if you’re looking for a gem that shines brighter, you could buy one with a larger size that’s within budget.

Remember, it isn’t the only thing that affects the price; there are three other factors to consider. Carat weight doesn’t represent the perfect diamond, nor do the other 4 Cs. The ideal diamond is a matter of opinion.

A stone’s worth isn’t affected by carat weight or the 4 Cs because worth is up to the owner. For instance, an engagement ring holds sentimental value and tells a story. When you pass it down through the generations, it’s worth everything to your family.

Fire and Ice Diamonds sells beautiful engagement rings and gold and diamond stud earrings. Buy something to wear now, then pass it down through generations. Jewelry like this tells a story. Just like stories, each diamond is unique. Start shopping for the piece that tells yours.

What Is a Diamond Carat? Everything You Need To Know