As the name suggests, carat weight specifically refers to a diamond's weight. However, much as a person's weight does not necessarily correlate with height, carat weight, by itself, may not accurately reflect a diamond's size. To gain a precise understanding of diamond size, Blue Nile recommends considering carat weight with two other characteristics: 1) the distance across the top of the diamond measured in millimeters, and 2) the diamond's cut grade.
It is important to measure the distance across the top of the diamond as this is how we view a stone when set into a ring.
A diamond's cut grade should also be considered because, as we noted in the cut grade section, when a diamond is cut with the proper proportions, the maximum amount of light (or sparkle) is returned out of the top of the diamond. Thus, when a diamond is well cut, the light reflected out of the top makes it appear larger. In addition, much of the weight of a poorly cut diamond, for example, may be "hidden" in the base of the diamond, making the diamond appear smaller than its carat weight would imply.
It is therefore possible to have a diamond of a lower carat weight, but higher
Once you've selected your cut, color, and clarity grade, it's easy to determine the carat weight of diamond that will fit within your budget.
Much as there are 100 pennies in a dollar, a one-carat diamond is comprised of 100 points. Hence, 50 points is equal to 1/2-carat, and so on.
This chart illustrates how diamonds of different carat weights look when place next to each other.
What Carat Weight Is Right For Me?
To choose the best carat weight of diamond, consider the size of her finger, the size of your setting, and your budget.
- If a large carat weight is important to you, yet you're working within a strict budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, SI1-SI2 clarity, and an I or J color grade.
- Diamond prices jump at the full- and half-carat weights. Diamonds just below these weights cost significantly less, and, because carat weight is distributed across the entirety of the diamond, small size differences are almost impossible to detect.
- Keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1.5-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8.
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