How to Buy an Engagement Ring? - Part 6: What is Diamond Carat?
What is diamond carat?
In gemology, carat is the unit of mass. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. The symbol for carat is ct. You may also hear the term “point” or “pointer” in conjunction with weight. It is an informal term used to describe diamonds that weigh less than 1 carat. One point is equal to 0.01 carats; so an 8 pointer diamond is 0.08 carats.
In the jewelry industry, we typically describe parcels of round diamonds under 1 carat by their weight versus their dimensions because the round brilliant cut has standardized proportions. Diamonds over 1 carat follow closely to the average dimensions, but they are not sold in large parcels unless you’re a big fish in the industry. So, a 2 point diamond is around 1.75 mm, and a 1 carat diamond is around 6.3 mm. You can google “diamond size weight chart” for more examples.
The take away from the last paragraph is that carat also relates to size. If you want a large diamond, you go for a higher carat weight. One thing to consider: diamonds of nice sounding sizes demand a premium. These sizes include (in carats):
- etc., you get the point.
We call these sizes “magic numbers” and there is a significant price jump once you reach each magic number.
My Opinion on What is Diamond Carat
In my experience, size is the one thing couples are usually very particular about. The diamond has to be either 1.0 or 1.5 carats. Of the 4C's, this is the “C” where I give the least feedback because there is very little compromise. I don’t see the value in carat aside from the vanity aspect, but maybe that’s because I mostly deal in colored gemstones where the options are limited. A 0.99 carat diamond can be as large as a 1.00 carat diamond.