Diamond education

Diamond Carat

Many goods are sold by weight—by the kilogram, ounce, pound, or ton

Many goods are sold by weight—by the kilogram, ounce, pound, or ton. Even people who have never bought a diamond are used to the idea that weight and price are related. They understand that a larger diamond is probably more valuable than a smaller one. But there are two things that often surprise people when they start learning about diamonds and carat weight.

The first is the precision with which diamonds are weighed. Diamond weights are stated in metric carats, abbreviated "ct." One metric carat is two-tenths (0.2) of a gram—just over seven thousandths (0.007) of an ounce. One ounce contains almost 142 carats. A small paper clip weighs about a carat.

The metric carat is divided into 100 points. A point is one hundredth of a carat.

Diamonds are weighed to a thousandth (0.001) of a carat and then rounded to the nearest hundredth, or point. Fractions of a carat can mean price differences of hundreds—even thousands—of dollars, depending on diamond quality.

Over a carat, diamond weights are usually expressed in carats and decimals. A 1.03-carat stone, for example, would be described as "one point oh three carats," or "one oh three." Weights for diamonds that weigh under a carat are usually stated in points. A diamond that weighs 0.83 carat is said to weigh "eighty-three points," or called an "eighty-three pointer."

Carat weight can also be symbolic. While the visual difference between a 0.98-carat diamond and a 1.01-carat diamond is negligible, many people will opt for the larger stone—even at a much higher price. Some weights are considered "magic sizes": half carat, three-quarter carat, one carat, etc. There's not much difference in their weights, but if both are D-color round brilliants with identical clarity and cut, the size makes all the difference. They really don't look much different, but if a consumer's heart is set on the one-carat size, the difference is enormous. The fact that the second stone is slightly over the "magic" one-carat size can give it as much as a 20 percent difference in price with only a 6-point difference in weight.

Don't confuse the term carat with karat. Karat is a unit of measure used to describe how much pure gold there is in an alloy.

The Value Of Brilliance

  • Size does matter. Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. a metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams, but carats are usually subdivided into points, for instance a .50 carat weight diamond can be called "50 points" or a "50 pointer".
  • Size does matter. Diamond carat weight is the measurement of how much a diamond weighs. a metric carat is defined as 200 milligrams, but carats are usually subdivided into points, for instance a .50 carat weight diamond can be called "50 points" or a "50 pointer".
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