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THE DIAMOND CARAT WEIGHT
The carat became the universal unit of measurement for diamonds in 1907 after the previous method of using carob seeds to measure jewelry was proven to be inaccurate. Carat is one of the 4 Cs used to determine the value of a diamond and while it is an important measurement, choosing the largest carat isn’t always the way to go. The ultimate goal is to balance carat weight with the rest of the 4 Cs and your overall vision for a piece of jewelry. Understanding how the carat weight system works will help you set your priorities and choose the right diamond for you.
WHAT IS A DIAMOND CARAT?
Carat is the unit of measurement for the physical weight of diamonds. 1 carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 1/5 gram. Of the 4 Cs, carat is the most objective measurement and the number one priority for a diamond cutter is to maximize carat weight. Starting with a rough stone, a diamond cutter will use specialized tools to cut and polish the diamond with as little waste as possible. The average diamond carat weight is 0.90ct.
HOW CUT IMPACTS CARAT
A well-cut diamond should have less depth and more spread—that means its measurements will make it appear larger than its carat weight. A deeper cut diamond of the exact same carat weight might appear smaller because more of the weight is hidden in the part of the diamond that no one will be able to see once it is set in a ring or other piece of diamond jewelry.
There is a wide variety of diamond cuts available. The right cut for you depends on the style of ring you have in mind (i.e. are you more timeless and feminine or bold and modern?) and your budget. If the visual size of a diamond is important to you, consider the following cuts:
The most popular—and most expensive—cut for a diamond engagement ring, round-cut has the most facets of any cut and can provide maximum sparkle. Due to its shallow cut, a round diamond can appear larger than its actual carat weight indicates.