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Understanding Carat Weight March 10, 2009

Posted by Jill Renee in : Buying Diamonds , trackback

One of the first questions asked about a diamond is “How many carats is it?” And it’s a perfectly appropriate question. Of the four graded aspects of a diamond, carat weight is the easiest to translate into understandable terms. To put it simply, bigger equals bigger.

Carat isn’t a measure of size, though. Carat, or more correctly, carat weight, is a measure of mass, similar to the gram. In fact, five carats is exactly one gram.

As one would expect, when a diamond’s carat weight goes up, so does the size and the price. However, the price doesn’t rise on an even grade. The purchase of two half carat diamonds would be less expensive than a single one carat diamond, despite the overall mass being the same. This price difference is typically based on the rarity of larger stones and extends logically. You wouldn’t expect a twenty carat diamond to be priced the same as twenty one carat diamonds of similar cut, color, and clarity, would you?

The upside to smaller diamonds being less expensive is often capitalized on by the three stone engagement ring, in which a large center stone is flanked by two smaller diamonds. This tactic not only allows a diamond ring to be sold with a high carat count at a low cost, but plays upon the way the human eye compares based on size.


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