The 4c’s which describes the physical properties or characteristics of a diamond and therefore its value are carat weight, cut, clarity and color.

Understanding the 4c’s forms the basic foundation for diamond grading and evaluation.

The most valuable diamond is the diamond that possess the best measurement in all the important parameters, which include carat weight, cut, clarity and color

Carat Weight

Carat is a unit of measuring weight of diamonds and gemstones.

1 carat = 200 milligrams (0.2grams)

5 carats = 1 gram

You might have heard of some jewelers talking of points;

1 carat = 100 points (eg 20 points= 1/5 th carat and ¼ carat= 25points).

Please do not confuse carat with karat. Karat is the unit used to describe the fineness of gold while carat is the unit of measuring the weight of the stone.

The word Carat was derived from the word ‘carob seeds’ which were used by people before the introduction of modern units and standards of measurements.

It is important to note that the carat weight may not necessarily reflect the size of the diamond. More precise indicators of diamond size include the distance across the top of the diamond (in mm) and the diamonds cut grade (see the section on diamond cut).

Because larger diamonds are extremely rare in nature when compared to smaller diamonds. The price of a diamond increases exponentially with size. In other words larger diamonds have a greater value per carat. A one carat solitaire diamond ring will be more expensive than a ring made up of multiple diamonds, that total one carat or more.

ct is the abbreviated form for the carat weight of a single diamond, while ct TW means the total weight of diamonds used in a single piece of jewelry.

Some gemstones are more dense than others, therefore different types of gemstones of the same carat weight may have different sizes.

Diamonds that weigh just below the next full carat are less expensive than diamonds which pass the nect full carat. eg a 2.9 carat diamond will be cheaper than a 3 carat diamond and will look the same in the hand.

Some important things to consider when determining which size of diamond to purchase include:

i) The size of her fingers. The same diamond will look much bigger on a size 4 finger than on a size 8 finger.

ii) Your budget. Diamonds come in different qualities just like other goods such as cameras for example.

Keeping your budget in mind you can strike a balance between size and quality. You can still buy a large diamond within your budget if you are willing to buy a diamond which is slightly lower in color and clarity grading.

You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (

Back to Dr Shihaan’s Guide to Buying Diamonds and Jewelry

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