Whenever you go to purchase jewellery, you’ve probably noticed a carat or karat weight. This is listed on both the diamond as well as the metal itself.
Here at Commins & Co Jewellers, we sell a range of beautiful jewellery across various weights and purity levels. To help you understand your requirements for new jewellery, as well as previous purchases we’ve put together the following guide to help.
Here is everything you need to know about carat weights. This will help you with your next purchase or to evaluate the worth of your current pieces.
What is a carat?
When it comes to jewellery, there are some universally used terms. These help distinguish the purity and value of each piece, including the stones that may feature within it. The two most common terms are Carat and Karat. Due to their similar spellings identical pronunciation, are easy to confuse. However, both refer to different aspects of your jewellery.
Derived from the word ‘carob’ referring to carob beans which were used in ancient times as a metric system. Carat measures the weight of precious stones (such as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires etc) or pearls. A carat weighs 200mg, which is just ⅕ of a gram. So for a diamond to be classed as 5 carats, the stone would need to weigh 1 gram. Diamonds (carats) are the hardest mineral that can be found deep in the earth. Whereas gold (karats) is a much softer mineral found closer to the surface.
Our exquisite Unusual Sapphire & Diamond Halo Ring is 2.70 carats. This is when the weights of the diamonds and sapphires are added together. We always display the individual carat weight of the main stone (in this case sapphire) separately. As a result, you can best understand your purchase. The higher the carat weight of the precious stones used within your jewellery, the more valuable it is likely to be. However, this is depending on the stones used and current market value.
How diamonds (carats) are graded
Diamonds are minerals that are mined out of the ground from different locations across the world. They are found deep in the earth and are exposed to extreme heat and pressure. This process gives them a unique appearance. As a result, diamonds and other precious stones have varying quality. Also, they can have many different sizes or shapes. Known as “the four C’s”, colour, clarity, cut and carat weight are the categories gemologists use to grade each stone. These are individually assessed before it is put into rings, pendants and earrings.
Every lab will use a slightly different measuring scale to measure the colour of a precious stone. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) rates stones on a scale D – Z. So colour D which is a colourless diamond, through to Z which is a light yellow colour.
The GIA states that “Every diamond is unique. None is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification, though some come close. Known as Flawless diamonds, these are exceptionally rare. Most jewellers have never even seen one.”
They rate diamonds on a sliding scale, which in order of most to least is as follows: Flawless (FL), Internally Flawless (IF), Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS), Very Slightly Included (VSI), Slightly Included (SI) and Included (I).
Numbers may follow some categories, such as VS1. This would indicate a ‘Very Slightly Included’ diamond that has inclusions which are difficult to see under magnification. A VS2 falls in the same category. However, the ‘2” indicates inclusions are very easy to see under 10x magnification.
The higher up the scale, the least amount of blemishes are detected under magnification. Lower down the scale, blemishes may be visible on the stone even with the naked eye.
Not to be confused with the overall size, the way your diamond is cut can dramatically alter its sparkle and brilliance. The GIA scale is as follows: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor. The factors which affect where the diamond rates include its overall brightness, scintillation (the amount of sparkle it produces), and finally the polish which on the lower end of the scale would show up lots of blemishes.
The physical weight of the diamond, which is measured on a scale of 100 points. For example, an 80 point diamond would be 0.80 carats. However this is not definitive. The GIA states that: “Two diamonds of equal weight can have very different values depending on the other members of the Four C’s: clarity, colour and cut.”
What is a karat?
A Karat is an indication marker for the purity metal jewellery, most notably gold. It is measured on a sliding scale of 1 to 24, with 24 being the purest form of gold. As a metal, gold is luxurious but also quite soft. As a result, the purer forms of gold are unsuitable for jewellery. Think of gold leaf for example, which is made from 22 karat yellow gold. Its softness makes it ideal for brushing over surfaces or even crushing over food in fine cuisine. However, this would be far too delicate to use in jewellery.
In many cases, gold is mixed with an alloy to make it dense enough to use in jewellery. After all, imagine wearing a ring or adjusting the clasp on a pure but feeble piece of gold. It wouldn’t take much to bend it out of shape or even break it because the form is too pure, which is why it needs reinforcing with other materials.
Gold jewellery is most commonly found at 14K or 18K, as this gives the perfect balance between a beautiful piece of jewellery, but also durability.
Gold that is below a 10 on the scale is typically not considered as gold. When it comes to white gold, yellow gold and rose gold, each of these finishes are achieved through mixing different amounts of alloy with the original gold material.
I’m looking for an engagement ring. What karat weight should I buy?
We sell a beautiful range of engagement rings here at Commins & Co. Our most popular rings are sold as 18K, as this gives a beautiful finish for the metalis also the highest level on the 1 to 24 carat scale that still provides durability.
A majestic example of an 18K engagement ring that’s available in white gold, yellow gold, rose gold or platinum would be our Round Cut Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring. This features a 0.80 carat diamond, retailing at €4,500.
Another ring for your consideration that is also available in multiple metals, is the Round Cut Halo Diamond Engagement Ring. It features a stunning 0.70ct round brilliant cut diamond. The diamond is G in colour, Si in clarity and GIA certified, and retails for €2,450
With over 500 rings in stock and access to 250,000 certified diamonds, we can ensure your engagement ring or any other piece of jewellery you wish to buy with us is perfect for the occasion.
Need More Help?
Here at Commins and Co Jewellers, we know that buying jewellery is a special and considered purchase. If you are unsure what carat or karat grading would be most suitable for your next piece, why not pop into our Dublin store for further advice?
Alternatively, you can call us on +353 (0)1 4422472, where our friendly and knowledgeable team are waiting to help. We also offer a no obligation ring designing service, allowing you to bring your ideas to life. We look forward to assisting you with your future jewellery purchase, that will be handmade by our expert term here in Dublin, Ireland.