The 4Cs Spotlight – Carat Weight

ImageCarat weight of a diamond is often viewed as the easiest to understand amongst the 4Cs of grading diamonds. Many are aware of the varying carat sizes of diamonds given the ability to actually view the difference in plain sight.

The standard unit of weight for diamonds is the metric carat (abbreviated mct or ct), and one carat equals 0.200 gram or 1/5 gram. Given the preciousness of diamonds, even the smallest fraction difference of a carat can represent hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Therefore, the carat is subdivided into 100 equal parts called points. One point equals 0.01 carat or 1/100 carat. A helpful way to think about this is that 100 points add up to one carat, just like 100 pennies add up to one dollar.

In today’s commodity world, it can be tough for some to understand that diamonds are not valued like fruits, meats and other weighable commodities. In addition to diamonds, gold, silver and platinum are all also priced based on the rarity of the weight, versus being determined solely by weight.

Keep in mind that carat weight, clarity and color’s influence on the value of a diamond is based on rarity. Many are surprised to hear that carat weight is NOT a reliable indicator of size. This is due to the 4th C – cut.

When a diamond is cut too deep, the diamond will look smaller from a bird’s eye view, and light will leak out the bottom resulting in a black middle. If a diamond is cut too shallow, it will look quite large when viewed from the top, however, light will leak out the sides causing a watery appearance. Sadly, most diamonds are cut to whatever profile that will yield the heaviest weight from the rough crystal. Cut determines a diamond’s beauty and brilliance, and is viewed as the most important of the 4Cs.

When having your diamond weighed, be sure that your diamond is unset (meaning a loose diamond, out of the ring setting). At Spence, we have electronic gem scales on hand to accurately weigh your diamond to a tenth of a point (0.001 ct).

Remember bigger is not always better when it comes to diamonds. Cut determines a diamond’s beauty & brilliance!


Note: Image size may vary depending on your browser and computer display. Thus, may not reflect actual carat size.

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