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Are you looking for the perfect diamond engagement ring and feeling confused by carats? You are not alone.
While dazzling in their beauty, diamonds can also represent a significant investment. Selecting the best diamond to represent your love and align with your budget is important. This makes it crucial to understand diamond carats and their impact on diamond quality.
In this guide, we look at what is a carat in diamonds and provide tips on how to choose the best carat diamond for your ring.
Carat is a unit of weight used for diamonds. Carats are also used for the weight of other gemstones and pearls.
The use of carats to measure diamond weight stems from ancient times. Early gemstone traders would use the carob seed as counterweights on balance scales to determine the weight of gems. The uniform weight of carob seeds allowed for universal measuring.
1-carat is equivalent to 200 milligrams (0.2 grams). To put that into perspective, a standard-sized paperclip will usually weigh 0.2 grams.
It is important not to confuse ‘carat’ with ‘karat’. Karat is a term used to measure the purity of gold. For example, 18k gold will contain 75% gold and 25% other metals, such as silver.
When you buy a certified diamond, you will receive all the information about the diamond. This will include the diamond carat, cut, clarity, colour, and size.
One common misconception is that carat and size are the same. While carat refers to the weight of the diamond, it doesn't directly translate to the size of the diamond.
Diamond size is measured in millimetres across the top of the diamond, known as the table. This is the part of the diamond that is visible when it is set in a ring or other piece of jewellery. For example, a 1-carat round diamond usually measures approximately 6.5 millimetres in diameter.
The shape of a diamond plays a significant role in its perceived size. For example, oval or marquise cuts can appear larger due to their elongated shape. This means that two diamonds of the same carat weight might appear to be different sizes because of their different shapes.
The cut can also affect the size of the diamond. Shallow-cut diamonds may appear larger because more of the diamond's weight is distributed across a larger surface area. Deep-cut diamonds, on the other hand, may appear smaller than their carat weight.
It is crucial to strike a balance between carat weight, cut quality, and your personal preference for diamond shape to find a diamond that is beautiful and sparkles brilliantly.
High-carat diamonds undoubtedly have a ‘wow’ factor. They can be a showstopper and exude a sense of luxury in your engagement or wedding ring design.
While a larger-carat diamond is rare and thus more expensive, the value of a diamond is not determined by carat alone. Diamond quality is measured according to the four Cs: carat, cut, colour, and clarity. The cut, clarity, and colour are equally important when evaluating a diamond's overall appearance.
The cut of a diamond affects how well it reflects light, which in turn influences its brilliance and fire. An excellent or ideal cut will capture and reflect light beautifully, creating the sparkle that is desired in a diamond. A poor cut, regardless of carat weight, can result in a diamond that appears dull and lifeless.
Clarity refers to the presence or absence of inclusions or blemishes. Diamonds with fewer inclusions and blemishes are more highly valued. A heavier diamond with noticeable inclusions may be less valuable and stunning than a smaller diamond with high clarity.
Colour is another crucial factor. Diamonds with a grade D, or colourless diamonds, are considered more desirable. Therefore, a smaller, colourless diamond can be worth more than a larger diamond with a noticeable colour tint.
In the end, choosing a diamond is all about balance. It is about finding the perfect harmony among the four Cs to choose a diamond that delivers both in terms of visual appeal and value.
We highlight a few tips to help you choose the best diamond carat for your engagement or wedding ring:
When choosing a diamond carat for your loved one, you want to ensure that the diamond will suit their fingers. For smaller hands with slender fingers, a large-carat diamond may appear too grand. Larger hands with wider or longer fingers may make a small-carat diamond seem disproportionately small.
Choosing the perfect diamond carat to suit the wearer’s finger can be easier said than done, especially when it is for a surprise proposal. One way to do this is to use a ring with a gemstone your partner already owns to use as a guide for carat weight and size that works.
You should also consider a single stone vs diamond cluster ring. Although the diamonds in a cluster ring may individually possess a smaller carat weight, their combined effect can beautifully complement a wider finger. The collective sparkle from the cluster of diamonds can create a striking impact, often giving the illusion of a larger, single stone.
If you need assistance, you can consult with a certified jeweller. They can provide expertly guide you towards a diamond and setting that will suit the wearer's hand and style perfectly.
When it comes to selecting the perfect diamond, it is important to explore all carat weights. Larger-carat diamonds may have an undeniable appeal due to their rarity, but smaller-carat diamonds can be just as beautiful. Exploring all carat weights allows you to appreciate the unique qualities that diamonds of different weights can offer.
Remember that carat weight does not equate to physical size. The cut and shape of a diamond can influence how large it appears, so a well-cut diamond of smaller carat weight may appear larger than it truly is.
Your budget is an important factor to consider when selecting between diamond carats. If you are on a tighter budget, consider a 0.95-carat diamond rather than a 1-carat diamond. The difference in weight is barely noticeable but can save a significant amount.
You can also choose to have a lower diamond carat to allocate more funds towards a diamond with higher clarity or a superior cut. This choice can significantly enhance the diamond’s brilliance while also meeting your budget.