What carat size should I choose? Would I be able to notice a difference between 2 diamonds that are 0.3 mm apart? When would I start noticing visual size differences with diamonds from various carat weight brackets?
If you are one of the people with these questions in mind, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In fact, I get asked questions like these frequently via emails and decided to create this blog post to answer them.
First things first, let’s address why people ask these questions.
Since we are talking about an engagement ring that probably costs thousands of dollars, I can tell you that the fundamental reason is always related to cost. After all, who doesn’t want to make a purchasing decision that gets you the best value for money.
Diamond prices jump at every 10 points (0.1 carat). For example, a 0.50 carat diamond would cost about 30% more than a 0.40 carat diamond with similar specifications.
Yet, the real difference in size between these 2 stones is roughly 0.4mm. And if you pick up a ruler and look at the subdivisions, a 0.4mm difference might not be that big of a size difference.
Ruler showing 1mm markings
Weird as it seems, people tend to notice the 0.4mm difference when comparing objects of smaller sizes. When comparing bigger objects, our brains seem to perceive the same difference as insignificant.
Let me show you some examples to illustrate this…
4.8mm vs 5.2mm
Do you see the difference of 0.4mm between the 2 circles above? Well, most people do notice this subtle difference when they compare a 0.40 carat diamond against a 0.50 carat diamond.
7.4mm vs 7.8mm
In contrast, the same physical difference of 0.4mm between a 1.50 carat diamond and 1.75 carat diamond isn’t readily detected because of the way our brain works.
6.2mm vs 6.5mm
Also, what happens if I place the diamonds further away from each other?
Do you realize it is harder to notice size difference now? In real life, most people casually observe diamonds from a distance and it isn’t easy for them to pick up minute differences.
Now, for people who intend to buy diamonds within the 0.50 – 0.75 carat ranges, I performed another comparison to help you visualize how they would look like in reality. If you refer to the image below, I think it is pretty clear that you would notice an obvious size difference.
5.2 mm – 5.8mm
So, what do you think?
Perception is more of a subjective matter than an objective one. Some people see differences in sizes easily and some don’t. It is the same with diamond color where some individuals can see clear differences between F and G color diamonds whereas the majority of us don’t.
I know of people who are psychologically affected by the size of the diamond in their minds. Even if they are wearing a 0.92 carat diamond, in their mind, it is never good enough unless it is a 1 carat diamond.
At the end of the day, go for a carat size that’s “mind-clean” and affordable to your wallet. After all, diamonds are purchases which are meant to be enjoyed instead of being something that constantly frets you at the back of your mind.