One Full Carat
A one carat diamond is 100 points of pure carbon (the same stuff in a No. 2 pencil). Only solidified with intense heat and pressure.
100 points is divided up just like pennies to a dollar. The one carat being a dollar, all the points being pennies. So 50 points is a half carat. 25 points is a quarter carat…
And the full carat; 100, is written as 1.00 carat, or simply 1 ct.
When a diamond is smaller than a one carat, jewelers often refer to them as points (i.e. 36 points). When a diamond is over 1.00, they are referred to as a “carat“, or “carats” (i.e. 1.36 carat… or 2.51 carats.).
A 7 Point Range
One carats can also come in a seven point range. Which means, if you’re within seven points of 1.00 ct (in either direction), it’s still considered a 1 carat diamond. In other words, a 93 point diamond can still be called a one carat. As well as a 1.07 can be called a one carat. This is because most diamonds (like most people) do not come in these exact magic sizes. It’s like trying to find a person that’s exactly 150 lbs. You’ll find 1.54, 1.60, 1.44… You see how difficult it would be to find one dead on?
Diamonds are the same way (like everything made in nature), so actually getting one right on the dot, is not the easiest task. So the FTC allows a leeway of 7 points up or down to still legally be called a carat (also meaning, if you truly wanted a one carat diamond; 100 points, then make sure to ask what the true carat weight is of the diamond you’re buying).
Light Carat Weights
Stones that are slightly under 100 points, as in 94, 95, 97… Are actually what they call “light carats“. Meaning, shy of a full carat. And these stones which are slightly smaller (but visibly face up the same) will actually be a little bit cheaper too. Light carats are a good way to still get that look, but save some bucks at the same time.
Likewise, when you jump higher than a carat, the price jumps too. Big stones are a premium.
And, any diamond that’s actually 100 carat or bigger is considered rare. Especially when you’re looking at higher quality stones.
One Carats can be Deceiving though…
This is because salespeople, fliers, catalogs, websites, like to call a one carat ring; “one carat“. Making you think that the center stone is a carat, when in fact, it might only be 30 points… Their “one carat” is the weight of the entire ring combined.
A one carat diamond should mean one carat in the center, and then the side diamonds total even more…
But “one carats” are still a good way to get her a one carat ring, and not pay the price of one.
A diamond that’s one full carat, and a ring that has one carat total weight, are two totally different stories.
A Big Difference in Price
When the diamonds are broken up into smaller stones (and sometimes tons of them), the cost comes down greatly. Where as a one full carat (called a solitaire), holds its value much better, but costs much more.
Compare the Rings below…
It’s so Dreamy…
One carat diamonds are “the dream diamond“. It’s the carat weight that all women want. The funny thing is, the center stone (sold on average across the country), is only 38 points. That’s it. See below…
“There’s Something in my Diamond…”
One carat diamonds face up large, but because of their size, they often show inclusions and color much easier than the smaller diamonds do. Meaning, when you get into bigger carat weights, you’ll probably have to step up in quality as well. Otherwise, imperfections may get noticeable.
“Is that a Black Spot in my Diamond?”
One carat diamonds can vary in appearance too. This is because of the way that they are cut. Some are cut deep, others shallow. So two one carat diamonds side by side, can look totally different because of their mm sizes…
They’re like people. Two people can weight 150 lbs, but one is tall and skinny, the other short and squat.
It’s all about Proportions
You could buy a one carat diamond, get a really good deal, and find out later that the stone is deep and looks more like a 3/4 carat diamond instead (hence the reason you got the good deal).
To make a one carat diamond look like a one carat diamond, check the mm size. The mm (for a round stone) should be 6.5mm (or close to it).
Millimeters will be listed on a diamond report under measurements… (They measure round stones in 3 positions: the mm width from top to bottom. The mm width from left to right. And the depth of the stone from table to culet)
If your diamond’s mm is bigger than 6.5, your stone could face up more like 1.25 carat. Which sounds good (and may even look good), but be warned; When diamonds get too shallow and thin, they are more prone to chip and break. You have to be careful. You do get what you pay for.
It’s wise to stick with standard mm carat weights, just to be safe. That way you won’t have to worry about damage.
Shape Matters MORE!
1 carats, of various shapes, will face up much different as well.
Princess cuts tend to look LARGE (because of their square corners), while Marquise Cuts look longer and thinner, and Cushion Cuts appear more smaller and deeper… As seen below:
Price in fancy cuts (which are every other cut of diamond other than the round brilliant), will be cheaper too. This is because the round is traditional, the shape that’s the most popular, so demand drives the price of the round up.
But if you stray into square, oval, rectangle, pear or heart stones…
You’ll Save Big Bucks!
(All diamond prices shown are for an average clarity and color; SI1, G-H)
One of the best features of the round stone though, is something that it excels in over any other shape…
No other shape compares.
The round brilliant is perfectly symmetrical, and that leads to the wonderful Tolkowsky cut (most often referred to as IDEAL). And cutting a stone to perfection like this brings on those stunning hearts and arrows patterns (as seen with a special diamond proportion scope).
An excellent diamond, cut to its maximum potential (achieving the best brilliance and fire) is often called a “Super-Ideal Cut“. It’s just beautiful. Compare this excellent cut, vs an average cut, and poor cut below…
They will shine and sparkle like a thousand stars in the sky.
Mind you, diamonds of this carat weight SHOULD ALL be certified (come with a diamond report). In fact, I would never buy a one carat diamond that wasn’t.
And big stones, 1 carat or larger, should come with a full diamond report as well. This bears the actual plot of the stone (map of inclusions), that show you what and where each and every flaw is. When diamonds get smaller than a 1 ct, they often get a smaller diamond report (called a Dossier).
And when it comes to reports, trust only 2 reports in the world: GIA and AGS.
GIA is the Gemological Institute of America and are the most respected, admired and trusted certificate you can buy. GIA actually devised and standardized the 4C’s. They wrote the book when it comes to diamonds, education, grading and technology. They are also the most strict diamond reporting company on Earth.
AGS is the second best. They grade a little bit differently though (which many find confusing). They give 0’s as their highest grades, but their reports are just as accurate too.
All of the rest of the reports; EGL, IGI…
They are often wrong and always questionable (meaning, you’re not getting what you’re paying for).
And if you’re buying a certified diamond, do try to buy a stone that’s laser inscribed too. That’s where the diamond report is actually engraved directly onto the girdle of the diamond. As seen here…
That way, you can loupe your diamond, anytime, anywhere, read your inscription, and know that your diamond wasn’t swapped, switched or stolen! (which is peace of mind)
One Last Bit of Advice…
Make sure you buy a diamond that’s un-mounted.
Buy it Loose first!
That way you can scope the diamond, spin it around, view it from all sides and angles…
It’s so important to view a diamond at 10x magnification (or higher magnification). You want to make sure that the stone isn’t chipped, cracked or damaged (which can happen after a diamond is graded).
So check that the stone is free of fractures first… And then have it set into the mounting of your choice (and then once again, scope it after it’s been set just to verify that it’s still your stone and that your stone hasn’t chipped during the process – accidents happen).
Then put your certificate in a safe place (a safe), and hold onto the original copy… Those are issued, laminated and hologrammed, and cost money to replace (a couple hundred dollars).
If you exchange, trade, or sell your stone, you’ll need to hand over the certificate with it. That ups the value and verifies the diamond and quality!
And as always, make sure you also add your big purchase to your home owners or renters insurance policy. That way if something happens to it; it gets lost, stolen, chipped… It will be covered! (Note that so-called “diamond warranties” do NOT cover if your entire ring is lost or stolen)…
KEEP IT CLEAN!
Please keep it clean…
It’ll shine like the day you bought it. Get yourself an ultrasonic cleaner if you have to… It only takes a minute to make that puppy bling.
And if you want a recommendation of what quality of stone to buy…
Here’s my Favorite:
Those stones are top-notch, impressive, and will knock your socks off.