Carat is among the four Cs – cut, colour, carat and clarity – each important factor when purchasing a diamond. Carat refers to a diamond’s actual weight and is equivalent to 200 milligrams.
When shopping for the perfect diamond, it’s important to recognize the difference between weight and size. While carat weight is important, shoppers should also consider a diamond’s cut and size. Size includes the diameter measurement across when looking down at a ring setting. Similarly, the diamond’s cut grade may alter its shape, proportions and light reflection. The greater a gem’s light reflection through the top, the larger it will appear. So you should always consider both the carat weight and the optical illusion created by pulling all factors together.
The same carat weight diamond can appear larger or smaller depending on the wearer’s finger and ring size. So diamond selection is a personal decision based on several factors including one’s budget allocation, personal style, ring setting and size.
The larger a diamond’s carat weight, the more rare and valuable it is and the more pricey it can be. However, price usually drops for diamonds that weigh just under the next full carat, i.e. a 1.90 carat diamond is often priced below than a two carat diamond with minimal actual compromise needed.
When carat and price are both a top priority, you might opt for a lower colour and/or clarity grade paired with a higher carat weight compromise.