Last revised: December 28, 2018
Diamonds, carats, and weight: What diamond carat weight is and what it means for your memorial diamond.
If you know anything about diamonds, you are probably familiar with the practice of describing a diamond with the term “carat,” as in a “half carat diamond,” “1 carat diamond,” and so forth. And you may also be aware of the fact that the greater the number of carats, the more expensive the diamond is.
However, the true definition and function of carats is not always well understood. Here is a deeper look at what a carat is, how it affects the size and cost of the diamond, and how important it should be for you when deciding what kind of memorial diamond to purchase.
A carat is a unit of weight used solely to describe how heavy a diamond is. Based on the ancient system of using a carob seed as a standard unit of measurement for diamonds, the carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram.
While the carat is often thought to be a measure of size, it is in reality a measurement of weight equal to 200 milligrams or one-fifth of a gram. The carat can also be described with a point system, with each carat equal to 100 points. So, a half-carat diamond could also be described as a 50-point diamond.
The carat gets its name from an ancient system of weighing diamonds using the carob bean. The carob bean was preferred as a unit of measurement because each bean weighs almost exactly the same. As a result, the carob bean served as a way to standardize the measurement of diamonds for traders. Today, the carat is used worldwide as the accepted method of weighing diamonds.
While heavier diamonds do tend to be bigger, the term “carat” is not a description of size. Instead, the size of the diamond will be influenced by its cut.
One misconception regarding carat weight is that it describes the size of the diamond, with size increasing as the number of carats increases. In one sense, this is true. Diamonds that weigh more also tend to be bigger.
However, in a very important sense, this is a false assumption. A diamond’s size, both its diameter and its perceived size, depends upon its cut. Some cuts make a diamond appear larger, and/or have a wider diameter. For example, a 1-carat marquise cut diamond will usually have a wider diameter and look larger to the naked eye than will a 1-carat round cut diamond.
When you choose to turn your loved one’s ashes to diamonds, you have the ability to choose the carat weight and the cut that you desire, since the ashes to diamonds process allows us to control how large the diamond becomes. Make sure to consider both aspects of the diamond when envisioning the end product. A 1-carat diamond can look different depending upon the cut, so talk with your consultant about how to make your desired carat weight look just the way you want it.
The price of a diamond increases exponentially along with its carat-weight.
Price is very closely linked to the carat weight of a diamond. In fact, the price for diamonds is typically set on a price per carat basis. The heavier the diamond, the more it costs. However, price does not go up in a linear relationship to the carat weight. For example, you cannot expect to pay $4,000 per carat for a 1-carat diamond and $4,000 per carat for a 2-carat diamond.
Instead, the price per carat usually increases significantly as the weight of the diamond increases. For example, if you pay $4,000 per carat for a 1-carat diamond, you can expect to pay $8,000 for a 2-carat diamond. This means that your total cost for a 2 carat diamond is $16,000, or 4x the cost of a 1-carat diamond. The reason for this type of increase is that heavier diamonds are much rarer than are smaller diamonds.
When you choose to turn a loved one’s cremains into a memorial diamond through Heart In Diamond, however, you will encounter much lower prices (and price increases) than those that affect natural diamonds. For example, a 2-carat memorial diamond is less than 2x the cost of a 1-carat diamond, making the process of selecting your ideal carat weight much more affordable.
Certain carat weights are preferred over others and are referred to as “magic numbers.” Diamonds that hit the “magic numbers” command much higher prices than do undersized diamonds.
Most people are familiar with certain carat weights. For example, most people have probably heard of “one-carat” or “half carat” diamonds. These weights are familiar because they are very prevalent within the diamond industry.
There are a number of these carat weights that are preferred over others. They tend to carry much more significance and perceived value than do other carat weights.You have probably experienced this phenomenon on an unconscious level. For example, you would probably hesitate to buy your girlfriend a .99 carat engagement ring because it simply does not carry the same significance as does a 1-carat ring.
The preferred carat weights are called “magic numbers” and are as follows:
Other carat weights are referred to as “undersized” diamonds because they come “under” the preferred magic numbers. For example, a .4 carat diamond, .6 carat diamond, .8 carat diamond, .99 carat diamond, 1.3 carat diamond, and 1.7 carat diamond would all be considered undersized.
What may come as a surprise is the fact that “magic number” diamonds command much higher prices than do undersized diamonds. As a result, you may be able to save money purchasing a .99 carat diamond instead of a 1-carat diamond, without sacrificing much at all in terms of weight. The only downside is that such undersized diamonds are harder to find, thanks to the smaller demand for them.
Some jewelers will sacrifice the quality of the cut in order to create a diamond that hits one of the “magic numbers.” As a result, you should always evaluate a diamond based not only on its carat weight, but also on the other 3 Cs.
The problem with the preferred magic numbers is that jewelers can sell many more magic number diamonds than they can undersized diamonds. And, thanks to the price differences between the two, they can also make much more money off a 1-carat diamond, for example, than they can off a .99 carat diamond.
As a result, jewelers will sometimes compromise on the cut of a diamond in order to ensure that it reaches one of the magic numbers. This is why it is important to evaluate a diamond on all of the 4 C’s (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight) instead of just on carat weight.
For example, say you want to purchase a 1-carat diamond. Instead of simply purchasing the first 1-carat diamond you find, examine the other C qualities it has. You may find that it is lacking in cut or clarity. Keep looking until you find a 1 carat diamond that also reaches the cut, color, and clarity standards you are looking for.
Here at Heart In Diamond, we take the overall quality of your memorial diamond seriously. That is why all of our diamonds are graded on all of the 4Cs, so you know exactly what kind of diamond you are getting from us. In addition, after we turn cremated remains into a diamond, we handle that diamond with care to ensure the greatest possible quality in every area.
Carat weight is a useful description of a diamond’s weight and general price range. However, contrary to popular misconceptions about the term, it is not an indicator of size or the end all be all descriptor of the diamond’s quality. Instead, if you want to truly understand the quality of the diamond you receive, you should take all of the diamond’s 4Cs into consideration.