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4Cs of Lab-Grown Diamonds: Diamond Carat

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Whether you're considering a lab-grown diamond or a natural mined gem, understanding the concept of carat weight is crucial in your diamond selection journey.

Carat weight is one of the four critical aspects - known as the 4Cs (Carat, Cut, Clarity, Color) - that define a diamond's quality and value. It’s also the most well known C, since it’s the term used to measure the weight of a given stone.

In this regard, lab-grown diamonds offer an excellent economical alternative to mined diamonds. Being chemically identical to their mined counterparts, one can get more carats in their selection of lab-grown diamonds at a more value based price than with natural stones.

In this article, we dive into the world of diamond carat weight, exploring its history, its relationship to diamond sizes, and its impact on pricing.

Carat: History and Measurements

The term "carat" has roots that go back to ancient times, when diamond merchants didn't have proper ways to measure how much a diamond weighed.

Without the availability of accurate, calibrated measuring tools, the merchants made use of what was around them. They found that the seeds of a carob tree were remarkably consistent among each other. Hence, the merchants started using their weights as a standard to measure against to determine the approximate weight of a given stone. It was from the carob tree where the term “carat” was coined.

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A Carob Tree in the desert - in ancient times, the seeds of carob trees were used as weighted standards to determine the weight of precious stones.

In today's time, the carat is the universal measurement of gemstones used by jewellers all across the world. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams, or 0.20 grams. Since fine jewellery deals with small increments of weight, jewellers use another unit to further break down a carat into 100 parts. This unit is called a “point”. 1 point is equal to 0.01 carats, and 100 points is equal to 1 carat.

In addition to "carats" and "points", there’s also the term “total carat weight” or TCW. TCW refers to the weight of all diamonds and gemstones on a given piece of jewellery. For example, on a solitaire ring the TCW is based on a single stone. On a pave ring, the TCW is based upon all the diamonds on the ring itself.

Carat Weight vs Diamond Size

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It's important to understand that carat weight and diamond size are two separate things. Although carat weight is a major determinant of a diamond’s size, the two are not always proportional; two stones with the same carat weight can look different in size. This can be due to differences in how the diamonds are cut, or how they are shaped.

As an example, consider two diamonds with the same carat weights, but one with a deep cut and one with a shallow cut. Comparing these two stones, the diamond with the shallow cut would appear to be larger than the diamond with the deep cut.

This is because a shallow cut diamond has more weight allocated across its front facing facet, whereas a deep cut diamond would have more weight distributed towards its depth or height.

Note that both shallow and deep cut diamonds aren't the best choice when shopping for an aesthetically pleasing stone, since these less than optimal cuts result in the lack of sparkle and brilliance that diamonds are known for.

On the topic of diamond cut, certain diamond shapes are known to help make a diamond appear bigger than it actually is. Such an example of this are oval or marquise cut diamonds - they have the same depths as round cut diamonds, but have longer lengths, This can make oval or marquise diamonds appear bigger than round diamonds of a similar carat weight.

Diamond Carat Weight Vs Price

Like with size, a diamond's carat weight isn't always directly proportional to its price. This is because diamonds of higher carat weights are more rare, since it’s harder to find raw material to make them.

To drive this point home, if a diamond's carat weight was proportional to its price, a 2.0 ct diamond would be twice as expensive than a 1.0 ct diamond. In reality, this isn't the case as a 2.0 ct diamond is generally more than 2x the price of a 1 carat stone. It's much more difficult to find a raw diamond to create a 2 carat stone, than it is to find a raw diamond to create a 1 carat stone.

With all this being said, a diamond of a given carat can differ widely in price than another of the same carat weight, depending on other factors like the other 3Cs - Cut, Clarity, Color. All these things play a role in determining a diamond's aesthetic appeal, rarity, and price. Since each diamond is unique, finding the perfect stone for your given situation depends on balancing all Cs with your budget to find the right stone for your situation.

Choosing the Right Carat Weight for You

Being virtually identical to mined diamonds, lab-grown diamonds are a great way for you to get more carats at a more economical price. Here are a few points to consider when choosing your next diamond piece.

Budget: Remember that the cost of a diamond isn’t directly proportional to its carat weight. You’ll pay significantly more for a 2.0-carat diamond than you will for a 1.0 carat diamond, for example. 

Shape: The shape of the stone has a big impact on its perceived size. Depending on what shape and cut you choose, a lesser carat stone can look larger than a stone with a higher weight. For example, the marquise shape looks bigger than the standard round shape.

There's More to a Diamond than Carat Weight

If you're in the market for a diamond, remember that the stone's carat isn't always proportional to its size, value, or aesthetic appeal. Choosing the right diamond involves considering all aspects of the stone - from the cut to the clarity to the colour, and so forth. Since all diamonds are one of a kind, the goal is to find one that fits with both your budget and taste.

As lab-grown diamond specialists, our team is dedicated to assisting you in finding the perfect stone.

 We invite you to our local showroom in Calgary, where you can browse one of the largest selections of lab-grown diamond jewellery in Canada. Whether you’re looking for the perfect lab-grown diamond piece, or you’re looking for the right loose lab-grown stone, we can help.