Undoubtedly, carat weight and the size of a diamond are usually the first things that come to the minds of most consumers when we talk about jewelry. However, carat weight on its own is not an accurate reflection of the diamond’s size. This is because the physical dimensions of the stone are affected by the depth and cut of a stone.
For example, a shallower stone (lower depth ~ 60%) will appear larger than another stone that is cut deeply (higher depth ~ 63%). Also, other aspects such as a thick girdle thickness can also result in a smaller face-up view because weight is hidden in the body of the diamond.
You need to take note that carat weight and cut should be considered hand in hand as mentioned in the previous article. Ideally speaking, a diamond should not look too big or too small in size for it’s carat weight. Otherwise, the brilliance of the stone will suffer.
Just the right diamond size for the hands…
One carat is composed of 100 points and is the equivalent of 200 milligrams. Bigger stones are rarer in nature and hence are also so pricier. This is why you can see prices jump at the half and full carat points.
Buying diamonds is like playing a zero-sum game with the 4Cs – Cut, Carat, Color and Carat. For a fixed cost, there’s no way you can get to improve one attribute without sacrificing another aspect. If you intend to get a bigger looking stone with constrains on your budget, my recommendation is that you never sacrifice cut for size.
Areas in which you can compromise would be selecting stones with lower clarity ratings like SI1-SI2 clarity or going down in color by picking a stone within the I – J range. Other tips and optical tricks that you can use to enhance the outlook of the ring lies in the choice of settings.
For example, the size of the diamond will appear bigger in a delicate setting with thinner ring shanks. Likewise, the use of a halo to surround the center stone with melees can do wonders in creating a grand look.
You’ll get the perspective of a huge diamond when viewing this ring at a distance of 2ft or more…
One crucial factor to bear in mind when choosing a suitable carat size is to visualize how the stone would look on your wife’s/girlfriend’s finger. Not everyone’s hand would look great sporting an excessively large diamond. Vice versa, if your recipient has thicker fingers, a smaller carat sized stone would look disproportionate.
Does bigger carat weights (left) always mean it’s better? Personally, I don’t think so.
For people on a budget, a good tactic for getting the biggest bang for your buck is to buy shy. Prices jump at every tenth decimal mark 0.40, 0.50, 0.60, 0.70 and etc. and more significantly at the quarter carat marks like 0.50, 0.75, 1.00 and etc. The idea of “buying shy” is to buy close to these magical carat weights without hitting on them. In essence, you will still get a diamond that looks physically the same while avoiding the extra premium paid for them.
Here’s an illustration on what I mean.
A price comparison of round brilliants performed at JamesAllen.com
Buying slightly below the ‘magic’ numbers can result in some substantial savings.
If you take a look at the examples above, the diamonds have similar cut, clarity and color grades (and no fluorescence too). Yet, each stone can differ greatly in their costs and value. Obviously, you can notice that there is a stark difference in pricing when a diamond hits to the magical 1 carat weight.
In real life, a well cut 0.90 carat stone measures up at around 6.20mm by 6.20mm and a well cut 1.00 carat diamond measures up at around 6.50mm by 6.50mm. At a small difference of only 0.30mm, this difference is hardly distinguishable without a side by side comparison. This means that you get a diamond that faces up similarly to a full carat stone and avoid paying the extra 30% increase in prices.
Next, we show you why diamond clarity is often misunderstood by consumers.