Diamond Carat

The fourth and final C in evaluating a diamond for purchase is the carat weight. The term carat is a reference to biblical times when diamonds were compared against a carob bean because carob beans tend to have a uniform size and weight. One carob bean became the equivalent of one carat. The carat is still the primary unit of diamond weight used today. However, a carat is further broken down into 100 sub units called points. One point equals 1/100 of a carat. When you buy diamonds it is often mentally economical to break the price of the stone down to a per carat basis.

The next thing to realize is that carat weights do not follow a linear progression in terms of price. There are certain man-made break points in diamond pricing. The first break is at .50 (1/2) of a carat. The second break is at 1 carat and then succeeding breaks occur at each carat thereafter. These breaks, although arbitrary, are valid and a diamond that is .52 of a carat will cost considerably more than a diamond that is .44 of a carat. A diamond that is over 1 carat, say 1.03 carats, will cost considerably more per point or per carat than would a diamond that is .94.

These price breaks are very substantial and are one of the few things in diamond selling that is not subjective. As such they are quite evident in all diamond sales. The difference per carat weight in a diamond that weighs from 1 to 2 carats may be as much as $1,000 per carat or more, on a 2 to 3 carat diamond. This holds true on a 3 to 4 carat diamond also. One could expect to pay not $1,000 more but $1,000 per carat more. This tends to increase as one gets into the heavier weights and good grades of stones because the stones become much rarer. It is much easier to find small good stones than it is to find large stones of the same quality.

It is practically impossible to quote diamond prices in a paper like this because they are subject to change and market fluctuations. Retail diamond prices are also subject to seasonal conditions and one will find that holidays and gift giving times such as Christmas tend to bring about severe prices from retail outlets while the spring and summer months will often evoke a more favorable estimate from a retailer who needs to make his rent that month. Wholesale diamond prices should not change too much due to seasons or gift giving times. As a diamond wholesaler, Spada Diamonds is able to give you prices that, will vary when the market demands exceed supply and also tend, as with gold, to function somewhat independently and opposite of “soft” currency such as the dollar.

As a sidebar here, there are ways of destroying or damaging a diamond, even though a diamond is one of the hardest materials known to man. As previously pointed out, they are brittle. If you strike a diamond with a hammer, you’ll dissolve it into industrial dust. If you touch a diamond to an acetylene torch of significant temperature, you will observe an extremely interesting and costly phenomenon where the diamond turns back into the same black carbon that it came from.