One of the challenges most jewelry buyers face is regarding the right diamond carat to buy. But let’s start from the beginning. A carat refers to a unit of measurement for diamond weights, and one carat equals 0.2g.
It’s important to distinguish between carat and karat, terms that are both common in the jewelry industry. Carat is almost exclusively used in the diamond trade, while karat is widely used in gold trade. Karat refers to the purity score of a piece of gold or gold jewelry. To put it into perspective, a 24-Karat ring is a ring made up of almost 100% gold. An 18-Karat ring comprises of 18-parts gold, with the other six parts consisting of a different metal or metals. Get the picture? Great, now let’s go back to a carat.
For some diamond shoppers, carat differences don’t mean much, as long as they’ve taken care of the other three aspects of the Four Cs – cut, clarity, and color. However, experts recommend researching widely on the right diamond carat before investing in the stone.
Carat variations reflect on the overall price of a diamond. The higher the carat weight, the costlier the gem. But more importantly, a diamond carat impacts the beauty of the stone. So, how big is a one-carat diamond, and how do you choose the most appropriate one for you?
How Big Is a One-carat Diamond?
Now 0.2 grams may not look or sound that heavy. It’s probably the weight of an average raindrop or a quarter of a raisin. But in the diamond industry, numbers mean a lot. As we already mentioned, a slight variance in carat comes with significant price variations, ceteris paribus. But how big a one-carat diamond looks depends on various aspects.
The following are some of those factors.
The Diamond Cut
The size of a one-carat diamond significantly depends on the cut of the diamond. For clarity purposes, we’ll use the words cut and shape interchangeably under this section, though the shape is one of the elements of a diamond cut.
A one-carat round brilliant diamond has a width of 6.5 mm. Now, that’s reasonably big, but not as big as the oval, pear, or marquise cuts of similar weight. A one-carat oval cut diamond measures around 7.55 by 5.54mm. As for marquise cuts, one-carat comes to roughly 10 mm x 4,75 mm. Depending on where you set the diamond, the marquise and oval shapes will look bigger than the round brilliant shape. The marquise, pear, and oval diamond cuts are known for their impressive illusions of size. Therefore, they’re ideal for customers who’re looking for something that appears larger without necessarily investing in extra carats.
On the other hand, some diamond shapes appear small even with higher carat weights. The Asscher cut is a perfect example here. When polishing Asscher diamonds, cutters place more emphasis on its surface area. That explains why Asscher cuts have the largest surface area.
The following table gives an overview of the size of a one-carat diamond across popular cuts.
|Round Brilliant Cut||6.5×6.5mm|
When shopping for a one-carat diamond, you’ll come across terms like “spread”. Spread simply means the size in relation to the carat weight. Therefore, the marquise and oval shapes tend to be more “spready”.
Generally, you can enhance the size of your one-carat diamond by choosing fancier shapes. Avoid cushion-cut diamonds since they tend to be deep-set. Therefore, much of their weight is hidden underneath their surface, making them look relatively small.
However, you won’t possibly tell a one-carat diamond from, say, a 1.5 carat one, especially if the diamonds look similar in all other aspects. It doesn’t matter whether you’re viewing the stone online or in physical displays. Your best bet would be to rely on a diamond certification from a reputable lab.
The Setting in a Ring
The size of a one-carat diamond also depends on how the diamond is set in a ring. For instance, a one-carat diamond will look larger on a platinum band. That’s because the white color of the band will reflect the diamond, thereby enhancing its size.
Still, on the setting, you should always insist on thinner bands. Thinner bands are remarkable in accentuating the size of the gem.
Halo ring settings are also preferable for those looking to enhance the size of their one-carat diamonds. In a halo setting, the diamond is the center gemstone. Then, it’s surrounded by a ring of micro-pavé diamonds. The paves areincluded to enhance the size of the center diamond.
But what if you think the one-carat diamond you’ve selected looks way larger than you desire? Not to worry, as you can experiment with some settings to diminish its size. For instance, a bezel setting is known to make diamonds look smaller than they really are. In bezel settings, the diamond in the metal edging is completely surrounded. Bezel settings are popular for enhancing the shape of a diamond, and not necessarily its size. And the apparent absence of accent stones makes the diamond look even smaller.
However, there are numerous ways you can enhance the size of your one-carat diamond in a bezel setting. Most notably, you can choose fewer or more slender prongs to hold the stone in place. That way, you’ll maximize the surface of the diamond that shows, thereby making it appear bigger.
Color psychologists will readily tell you that brighter colors tend to create an illusion of space. And the same principle holds for diamonds. Yellow, blue, green, and soft pink diamonds often appear bigger. Generally, insist on colors that reflect maximum light from all the edges of the diamond.
Color also goes hand in hand with clarity. If your one-carat diamond has visible flaws, the blemishes will reduce its ability to absorb and reflect light. Therefore, the diamond may look smaller than it really is.
How Much Does a 1-Carat Diamond Cost?
Well, there isn’t a definite answer to this question. That’s because several factors dictate the price of diamonds. And diamond prices don’t increase linearly. Instead, they increase exponentially. Therefore, you can’t expect the price of a 1-carat diamond to be half that of a 2-carat diamond, even if other factors remain constant.
Cuts and shapes also determine the price of diamonds. Generally, the round brilliant cuts are the most expensive. The cushion and princess cuts follow closely, with marquise shapes coming off cheaper.
Colors and clarity ratings are other factors that influence the price of a one-carat diamond. Red and white diamonds are the most expensive. Those who go for red diamonds are often driven by the fancy appearance while those who opt for white are perfectionists looking for a flawless stone.
According to statistics, a high percentage of diamond shoppers prefer the 1-carat diamond. Therefore, that popularity alone affects the stone’s overall cost.
A one-carat diamond may not look so big. You’ll only appreciate its size when shopping for the stone. However, you can enlarge or diminish the size of a one-carat diamond without necessarily reducing its carat weight. It all comes down to how you play around with the other aspects of the Four Cs.