What Is a Carat and What Exactly Is It Used For?
A Carat is a metric for measuring the weight of a diamonds and other precious gemstones like pearls. It can be divided into 100 points, and each point is equivalent to 2 milligrams, which means that one-carat equals 200 milligrams. Carat is only one of the main factors that is used to determine the quality of a diamond. Other factors include clarity, cut, and color.
What Does a Carat Mean?
A carat, commonly written as “ct”, is a unit of weight that is used for measuring gemstones and pearls. It is one of the Four C’s and is used to determine the weight of a diamond. Apart from diamonds, a carat is also used for other gemstones that are used in jewelry making. Usually, a fine cut diamond has a diameter of a quarter of an inch or around 6.5 millimeters. Suppose a gemstone weighs below 1 carat. It will be represented as 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, etc. When a gemstone weighs more than a carat, it will be represented as 1.04 carats, 1.08 carat, etc.
Historic Overview of the Carat
Years ago, people didn’t understand that the size of the stone does not matter, only the carat does when it comes to value. Every country used to have different measurement units for diamonds, which was yet another source of confusion when it comes to jewelry. Later, people realized the need for standardization, so they made a proposal to standardize it in 1871, which was accepted in 1877 by diamond merchants.
Although it took some time to get every country to come around, everyone was on board with standardization by 1907. The metric carat term was adopted in 1907, and has subsequently been used by all countries in the world. After that, all gemstones have been weighed against a standard unit, and valued according to their quality and weight. The quality of a diamond is more important than the size of the diamond, however. so other factors must be taken into consideration as well.
Is Lower or Higher Carat Better?
When it comes to buying diamond jewelry or loose diamonds, the carat isn’t the only thing to consider. There are four C’s of diamonds that you should consider, the other three being cut, clarity, and color. The higher carat diamond is generally more costly than the lower carat, but what about the other factors that must be considered?
The larger gemstones usually go through an extensive process where they are molded into the desired shape. This can cause defects, whereas lower carat diamonds don’t need as much work to get there. Therefore, a lower carat diamond or gemstone will have less obvious flaws and will look better for cheaper. Overall, the size of the diamond will depend on the type and style of jewelry that you’re buying. Ask your jeweler what the perfect carat for your particular case is.
Does Carat Influence Price?
Yes, the carat definitely influences the price of a diamond. In fact, the price of any gemstone largely depends on the carat. Larger stones are more rare to find, and therefore their prices are much higher than smaller ones. Plus, there is a huge amount of work that goes into mining and preparing them to be jewelry-ready.
The Cut Defines the Shape of the Stone
Lastly, the clarity of the stone matters too. You don’t want a dull diamond among your fine jewelry, do you? If your diamond is dull looking, then it has a low price in the market. Make sure the light passes through your diamond properly. In the end, we would say that buying any gemstone requires all 4Cs of GIA. See our extensive blog on the 4Cs of diamonds for details.
Tips to Consider When Buying a Diamond Ring:
- Usually, engagement rings tend to have 1 to 2-carat diamonds, don’t be tricked into buying a larger one.
- Choose a classic cut such as round, because it never goes out of fashion and can go with any setting.
- Diamonds with poor symmetry or defects should be avoided, as their post-purchase value is very low.
- If you have a limited budget, then going down a few grades in color is a good idea. Their actual colors are only visible in controlled lighting. A slight difference in the color won’t be visible to the naked eye.
- Always make sure your diamond ring is certified by a recognized organization.