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  • Carat is a term that refers to the weight of a diamond.  Before the twentieth century, diamonds were measured by using the carob seed that is small and uniform and served as a perfect counter weight to the diamond.  It is those original carob seeds which are the origin of the word carat we use today.  The majority of diamonds used in jewelry and sold loose in the United States are one carat or less in weight.  The average engagement ring diamond sold in the US is less than 1/2ct in weight.

    When rough diamonds are cut and polished into finished diamonds, as much as 2/3rd of the total carat weight is lost. Because larger gem quality rough is found less frequently than smaller rough, a two carat diamond will be far more expensive than two one carat diamonds of the same quality.

    A diamond will increase in weight much faster than it increases in actual "face-up" diameter. While an ideal cut one-carat diamond measures approximately 6.5mm in width, a diamond of twice its weight is only 8.2mm wide - less than a 30% increase.
     
    What Size Is Best?
     
    To choose the best carat weight of diamond, consider her style, the size of her finger, the size of your setting, and your budget.
    • If you have a set budget, explore all your options and you'll find that there is a wide range of diamond carat weights and qualities available in your price range.
    • If your recipient is very active or not used to wearing jewelry, she may find herself bumping or nicking her new ring. Consider a smaller size diamond or a setting that protects a larger diamond from getting knocked against doors and counters.
    • Also keep in mind that the smaller the finger, the larger the diamond will appear. A 1½-carat diamond solitaire looks much larger on a size 4 finger than a size 8 .
    • Finally, if a large carat weight is important to you, yet you're working within a budget, consider a diamond with a good cut, SI1-SI2 clarity, and an I or J color grade.