The carat is the standard unit of measurement used to indicate the weight of diamonds and precious gemstones. Since 1913, carat weight has been gauged against the metric system, with one carat equaling 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces. Carat weight is measured to three decimal points and rounded to the nearest hundredth.
Mined from deep within the layers of the Earth's crust, most rough diamonds are either too small or too inferior in quality to produce the lustrous, polished products demanded in the fine jewelry market. Consequently, the production of a single, one-carat diamond can require the mining of up to one million rough diamonds. The rarity of larger, high-quality diamonds has resulted in significant price escalations between sizes. For instance, a one-carat diamond can command four to six times more than a half-carat diamond.
Both carat size and quality should be taken into account when selecting a diamond. Below are some points to consider when choosing which carat weight is right for you:
The origin of the word -carat- lies in the Mediterranean region, where carob trees have flourished since ancient times. The seeds of the carob tree were once used as units of measurement against which diamonds were weighed. One carob seed is roughly equivalent to one modern carat, the word we use today to describe the weight of diamonds.
In the Far East, diamonds were historically weighed against grains of rice, resulting in the coining of the term 'grainer'. Today, gemologists still quantify the weight of diamonds in grainers. A four-grainer diamond is equal to one carat.
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