Most people don’t give carat weight much thought.
They tend to buy the biggest carat weight they can afford and that’s that.
After all, it’s a pretty known fact that size does matter.
Men are always concerned about buying a big stone. They don’t want to let their girlfriend down, look cheap, or feel insignificant around her friends who have big rocks. It kind of sucks, but what can you do? Go big or go home. Isn’t that what they say?
The funny thing is, there are many other important factors that come into play (pros and cons) when we look at the carat weight of a diamond… Not just mucho grande. Things you might never even think of…
So let’s dig in and take a closer look at why carat weight matters, and why it should matter to you.
First and foremost, a bigger carat weight (talking about earth-made diamonds) is going to cost you more money a lot more. It’s usually 3-4 times the price the bigger you go… If not more.
That’s because diamonds get more rare as size increases (no matter what the quality of the stone is). That’s why even 1 carats of low grade are still thousands of dollars. But here’s the real kicker… Those 1 carats are what are called “the dream carat weight” (an average carat weight is just 38 points).
Anything bigger than a 1 carat (1.00 CT), like 1.50 CT, or 2 carat, or even 3+ (the envy of your friends) gets insane in price.
It may knock her socks off, but they will automatically take a huge chunk out of your wallet as well. :)
With bigger carat weights, you actually run into more issues that you never imagined…
“Hello, My Name Is Eileen”
Big carat weights get top heavy. So that big beautiful diamond may always be leaning sideways (like Uncle Herb) because of the weight of the stone.
Bigger stones demand bigger everything… Bigger prongs, bigger heads, baskets… even a bigger mounting. Something substantial enough to hold that sucker.
And with the mounting getting bigger, so does the price of that mounting. You are paying for more metal.
Bigger diamonds also command bigger insurance policies.
Not to mention trade-in policies… (an $8,000 diamond ring will need to be traded-in towards a diamond that’s at least $16,000) Nice eh?
And even the extended service plans, or E.S.P.’s (cover the mounting for repairs) cost you more. They are usually based upon the initial price of the ring.
And… certification costs more too. Same with appraisals.
When you go big, you pay big.
“I See Flaws…”
When diamonds get bigger in carat weight, so do the inclusions inside the stone. So with big diamonds, you’ll be able to see the flaws much easier than you can in a small stone. Black spots will stand out like a sore thumb. When you’re buying a bigger diamond, you’ll probably have to step up the clarity (go from I clarity into an SI clarity stone – Which costs way more) in order to keep those flaws eye clean (where you can’t see them, unless you use a 10x jewelers loupe or microscope).
Now you could go much higher in clarity, but SI1 is the most popular clarity there is, and it’s a great clarity to own because it’s easy to identify.
Under a microscope you’ll see easy to spot flaws and imperfections. That’s good because you can memorize them and be able to identify your stone later. In ten years, you’ll be able to look under the scope and say “Yes, that’s my diamond.” With cleaner diamonds (especially VVS stones) it gets much harder to find identifying spots that you can memorize. So sometimes, flaws are a good thing.
“You’re Looking a Little Yellow.”
When diamonds get larger in size, the color of the stone is more apparent.
So a J color stone may look really yellow as a 1.00 carat, versus a 1/2 carat, where color is less noticeable.
Luckily, bigger stones do have more brilliance and shine and fire, so light that dances in the stone often will help hide color, and, if that J color (or lower color) diamond is set into a yellow gold mounting, then it really helps hide the fact that’s it’s a yellow stone.
I usually suggest that people purchase a diamond color of at least G-H, that way color doesn’t become an issue.
“But I’m Worth It.”
Bigger stones hold their value well. They’re easier to re-sell, especially if that stone is certified (which most bigger stones are).
“Don’t Knock it.”
But… bigger stones are also much more vulnerable to hitting, bumping, breaking, and chipping. I mean, they’re big, you’re gonna knock it on something. That’s just the sacrifice you have with such a large stone (and by large, I’m generally talking about 1 carat or higher).
Looks are Deceiving.
The great thing is, you don’t always have to spend tons to get “a big look.”
Here are a couple of tips and tricks to help you out:
- Buy Spread Stones – Spread stones are stones that are cut wider and narrow to give the illusion that they’re bigger than they really are. So a .75 carat diamond will look more like a 1.00 carat. Just be careful though, often spread stones leak light (less brilliance), and they can also become more vulnerable, because the edges of the stone are thinner.
- Buy Light Carat Weights – (I really recommend this.) Light carat weights are diamonds that are right under the mark. Which means, instead of buying a 1.00 carat diamond, buy a .95 carat. Instead of buying a .50 carat, Buy a .42 carat… You’re going light. Light carat weights will visibly look the same size as the bigger stone (you can’t tell the difference between a couple of points), but the price will generally drop hundreds of dollars.
- Buy a Fancy Cut Diamond – Fancy cuts, like princess, cushion and radiant, look big, but usually will run you thousands of dollars less than a round diamond of the same quality. Fancy cuts are every cut of diamond there is except for the round cut (brilliant cut) diamond. Now if that doesn’t grab your fancy, I don’t know what will.
- Buy a Whiter Diamond – I really, really love pure white diamonds. Love them. Colorless stones (pure white) are the highest color range there is in diamond color. They are D, E and F colors, and they really do brighten up a diamond like there’s a spot light on them. It not only whitens the stone, but makes it look bigger as well. It’s such an incredible sight to see. Compare a colorless diamond to a near colorless (G-H-I-J) diamond and see for yourself. It’s a night and day difference. :)
- Buy a halo mounting – A halo mounting features one center stone, that’s surrounded by lots of smaller stones that circle around the main diamond. What it does is make the stone (and entire mounting) look bigger, and it adds a lot of sparkle and pizzazz to the ring. I like how they look, they catch a lot of light and will dance in her eyes.
- Buy One Carat Total Weights – Like I said, 1.00 carats are “the dream carat weight“, but that doesn’t mean you need to buy her a full 1.00 carat solitaire stone… You could cheat a little and buy her a ring that’s 1.00 carat total weight, which is a ring that has multiple diamonds (like the halo mentioned above) that when added up, total 1.00 carat all together. You’re still getting her that 1.00 carat ring, it’s just divided up. Your price will cut in half. And that, you can’t beat.
Plus, when shopping for diamonds, try to skip any diamonds that have fluorescence. Fluorescence can (not always) make a diamond look foggy, hazy, or cloudy. Especially if you buy her a diamond that’s white, and clean (and expensive)… Fluorescence can really kill the beauty and life of a stone.
See, Carat Weight Really Does Matter.
Now, take a peek at a few diamonds that will also make her smile big. :)
These are big stones, without the big price. :)
Or… You could always check out the low low prices of lab-grown diamonds, allowing you to buy big, and save money at the same time.