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Carat – The Most Meaningless Concept (That Everyone Cares About)

Out of the basic diamond factors, the one that gets the most attention is ‘CARAT’. While it’s the one factor that receives the most attention, it is also the one that is probably understood the LEAST. This is all on purpose of course…with the goal of selling more diamonds.

Here’s a picture that befuddles many…All three stones below are 1.00 carat round

…but why do they differ in size?

The answer is because Carat is NOT size.

The misunderstanding and where it begins

Carat is simply a measure of WEIGHT.

1.00ct is the equivalent to 0.2 grams.

For fun I weighed my business card…which came in at over 13 carats!! (I wish I could say I feel wealthier now….but I don’t)


my whopping big business card

A key understanding that needs to be established is that there is significant marketing (many billions of dollars worth of marketing over the decades) behind the 4 ‘C’s and behind the concept of ‘carat’ in particular.

The first thing we did is we changed the language by using a different unit of measure than the norm. If we didn’t, women would be espousing that their significant other got them a diamond that weight 0.213 grams which sounds ridiculous.

The second thing we did is that we made everyone believe that carat means size by putting together series of pictures like this….

…doesn’t quite have the same effect as this…

The proper way to define size

…is quite simple. It’s just basic geometry.

The ingenious behind the marketing in the diamond industry is that it made us forget basic math..and there is good reason behind it. Compare the slides below…they don’t have quite the sexy ring when you put plain measurements against weight.


measurements are made in millimeters in the diamond trade

The 2 best tips for Carat

  • Ignore it (if you can)
  • Focus on measurements (this is what you actually see)

I completely understand the conundrum behind ‘carat’ for many…we often hear something like ‘I get it…carat is not size…but she or (insert your choice of ‘her friend/family/etc.) will not and they’ll definitely ask me.

Completely get this and in a future article, I’ll share what I think it the best value to maximize your dollar.

For those able to pull yourself out of the Matrix…good for you