Ever wondered how different diamond size will reflect on the overall appearance of a diamond? Whether it was a round, oval, heart or any other shape?
Or wanted to know how 1 carat diamond looks like on a hand? Is it considered too small or just perfect?
Generally, diamond size is determined by its weight, which is called carat (or as some people mistakenly type it karat).
You may also think that 2 carat diamond size on hand will be double the size of 1 carat, which isn’t necessarily true as we will see.
Luckily enough, a lot of online stores have provided some sort of visualization tools to reflect how different shapes & carat sizes appear on hand.
These images for example (which are taken from James Allen preview mode) are for 4 different diamonds, in 4 different shapes, but they have one thing in common: All these diamonds are 1 carat.
In our post here, we will go over what’s known as “Diamond Carat Chart”, it will be a guide that walks you through everything you need to understand the carat (size) of a diamond, how it looks on hands, and to which extent carat affects diamonds appearance, let’s begin.
What is Diamond Carat?
The term carat is actually derived from a Greek word for “fruit of the carob tree”. What does a diamond have to do with a carob tree of all things?
According to Wikipedia, the seeds of the carob tree were used as a reference for official standards for weight measurements in ancient times, the interesting part is that all seeds were almost always exactly the same size and length, and from there, it was formalized in 1907 and the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures to be used in diamonds.
When you shop online for diamonds on stores like Whiteflash or James Allen, with their advanced imaging technologies, you will think that 1 carat is so huge that it’s not enough to make a great-looking diamond!
While the truth is way further than that! You’ve already seen in the 4 images above how 1 carat diamond looks on average hand.
You don’t need to go high carat to get an excellent diamond, and this is what our post about!
Diamond Carat is NOT Gold Karat! And not Even Close!
While this is not much common, but we’ve seen enough confusion from readers to mention it here.
Gold purity is measured by karat (or in UK it’s Carat, and that’s probably the reason of confusion), it reflects how gold is there, since not all gold jewelry are 100% made of gold.
So for example, when they say this gold ring is 24 Karat, it means that 24 out of 24 parts of this ring is made of gold (which is 100%), while in 18 karat, it’s 18⁄24 which is 75% pure gold.
Carat in diamonds has nothing to do with “purity” of a diamond, it’s just a weight/size measurement, and nothing more.
2 carat diamond is just larger than 1 carat diamond, not necessarily better! Here is an awful 2 carat diamond listed for less than $10k, while this stunning 1 carat diamond is listed for $8300, and if you ask me (or actually anyone), I will tell you to get the 1 carat diamond!
Maybe you wondered why that 1 carat diamond is very high (because we saw that average 1 carat price is between $4.5k to $6k), that’s simply because it’s True Hearts™, and if you want, read everything you need to know about True Hearts!
What is Diamond Carat Chart?
We all know that diamonds come in different shapes & sizes, a lot of people mix between shapes & cuts for example, and others think that carat is the same as size!
Why we’re mentioning shapes in the context of carat chart?
Because simply every diamond shape will affect how the diamond looks, even with the same carat.
So for example, a 1 carat princess-shaped diamond will look different (in size) from an oval-shaped diamond! Do you know that many shapes look larger “in size” than round shapes? Still, round is the most demanded shape ever, why?
Simply because the size is not the main factor in determining diamond beauty, and actually it’s the last C among the 4Cs you should look for!
Diamond beauty is mainly affected by how much light does that diamond reflect, and in terms of shape, no other shape can beat the round in reflecting light!
What’s the Relation Between Carat and Size?
Assume you have 1 pound of wood, and 1 pound of iron, they are the same weight, right? But different sizes!
Carat counts as the pound here in our example, while the size is how big (or small) the thing is! The same applies to diamonds!
Diamond Carat Chart is a system of measuring the weight of a diamond particle, how it looks, and how large or small is it! The chart is one of the factors considered when choosing a diamond piece because it’s one of the main characteristics of diamonds (4Cs).
In this article we will go over different diamonds carat and see how they look like in real life, our main focus will be on the round diamond because it’s the most popular diamond shape.
Fancy shaped diamonds cost less compared to the round diamond, fancy shaped diamonds appear larger than their actual size.
You can check The Fancy Colored Diamond collection in one of our favorite online stores BlueNile.
1 Carat Diamond Size & Price Chart
Since 1 carat is the most recognizable carat, and people count on it as a reference for any other carat (while this is not totally true as we will see below), we will start our article by defining the actual size of 1 carat diamond on hands.
A 1 carat round diamond with an excellent cut will have the following dimensions:
Diameter: 6.4 – 6.5 mm
Crown: 33.2 mm2
How do these dimensions look like in real life? Here is an exact 1 carat round diamond size, scaled 1:1:
You might sometimes think:
1 carat is only 0.2 of a gram, so it’s most probably a very small diamond and won’t be noticed! The reality is that 1 carat is really a cool-sized diamond, as you see in the image below, it’s easily visible, and if you get it with an excellent (ideal) cut, you will guarantee a great sparkle and captures everyone’s attention!
And here is how it looks on hand:
As for the price of a 1 carat round diamond, it will vary a lot depending on other factors: The remaining Cs of the 4Cs (Cut, Clarity, Color), polish, symmetry, certificate, fluorescence, and all other factors that sum up to the diamond total price.
But to give you a better understanding of how it works, let’s assume we have a diamond with the minimum recommended Cs:
Diamond Cut: Excellent
Diamond Color: H
Diamond Clarity: SI1
Doing this search on JamesAllen will give us a range of diamonds between around $4k to $5.6k depending on other factors, but you can’t always generalize this, so it’s not necessary a 2 carat diamond with these characteristics will cost around $10k.
That’s because when you get larger diamonds, it’s recommended to get a bit higher in other factors, for example, clarity (inclusions actually) might be more visible in 2 carat diamond than 1 carat, because it’s has a larger surface, which might make it easier to detect an inclusion.
We’ve done the same search on James Allen, and found that the same characteristics for 2 carat diamond will give diamonds options that start from $14k!
If you want to understand how pricing for carat works, we suggest reading our article about carat pricing for 1 & 2 carat diamonds.
How Diamond Carat (Weight) Affect Size?
When you saw the 1 carat round dimensions up here, you may have thought: If I do the math correctly, I should multiply these numbers by number of carat I want, so a 2-carat diamond will have 2 x dimensions of 1 carat diamond.
While we all wish this is true, but it’s totally not!
Diamond is not 2D, size relies on the crown, table, pavilion, and others.
When we have a 1 carat diamond with 6.5 mm diameter, most of the carat (weight) of the diamond is hidden under the table! Or in what they call it Diamond Depth.
Diamond depth takes a lot of the diamond weight (Read: How to Measure Diamond Depth?), and to have a better understanding, we’ve created this Diamond Carat & Size Chart for you, here are the approximate dimensions and real size images for 1, 2 & 3 carat diamonds:
6.4 - 6.5
8.0 - 8.2
9.2 - 9.4
For an actual Diamond Size Chart with dimensions, you can download this file (Courtesy of Lumera Diamonds) that shows all diamonds shapes dimensions, for carat from 0.25 up to 4 carat, with a scale 1 to 1!
You can easily print the file on A4 to have an “almost” exact size for each diamond.
Why Diamond Cut Affect Size?
Because as simple as we’ve discussed up here, diamond weight is distributed among the whole diamond, from its crown to its culet, look at this image for example that shows how the different cuts for a round diamond have different sizes:
Notice that these 3 diamonds are of the SAME CARAT! Look how different the size of each one looks.
You can easily see that the shallow one has the largest crown surface, and this is true! But please, don’t EVER think to get such a cut because it’s bigger, why?
Because simply this cut is very poor, it doesn’t reflect light well, and although it’s larger than other cuts of same carat, it will NOT sparkle as you want!
Feel free to read our Cut Chart Article that will show in detail how each cut grade reflects light.
A lot of diamonds sellers will try to sell you the idea that carat is the most important thing you should look for, while it’s not, always pay the full attention to the CUT since it’s the most important factor out of 4Cs
We always recommend that you get excellent diamond cut for this reason.
Diamond Carat Actual Size on Hand
This is a very important thing to consider when choosing a carat, how it will look like on her hands? Valid question.
The image we saw above is a real image without scaling for a 1 carat round diamond on average hand size, and it gives you an idea about how diamond actual size looks like.
Tip: the setting can make the diamond appear larger, the halo setting is the most popular one on this.
James Allen have created this interactive tool that will let you know the actual sizes of different carat, but that tool wasn’t enough to show the real size (as it looks on hand), so they came with better images & scale like the images we’ve seen above.
Round & Princess 0.5 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
Round is known to be the most popular shape of all time, Princess comes second, so for this section we will be listing real images for the actual size of these two shapes on hand, side by side.
Round & Princess 1 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
1 carat is the most common weight, and people consider it as a “benchmark” for diamond size, here is how it looks on hand:
Round & Princess 1.5 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
1.5 carat is also a great choice for a lot of people, it stands out from the crowd easily, and here are two images for the actual size of 1.5 carat diamonds on hand:
Round & Princess 2 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
Going a bit “large”? Be careful with higher carat, not all hands are equal in size, some diamonds might appear a bit large on “tiny” hands, so if you’re getting such a high carat, here is how it looks on “average” hand:
Buying Tip: Our Recommendation Based on Diamond Size Chart
When you search for your diamond, whether you prefer in the local stores, or you agree with us on buying diamonds online from some the reputable names like JamesAllen or the premium diamonds selections website Whiteflash, we recommend that you first focus on the CUT.
Read: Why We Recommend Whiteflash for quality diamonds shopping in our Whiteflash detailed review.
Always make the best of your budget to get an excellent cut, then start putting the rest on Clarity, Color & Carat.
If you’re unsure about which carat range to choose from, it’s good to know that most people go with something a little under 1 carat for budgetary reasons, because “roughly speaking” each 1 carat will cost around $4k – $6k.
We always recommend that you don’t get a diamond for the known carat levels, what do we mean by that?
If you want a diamond with 1 carat, make your search for diamonds that are between 0.9 & 0.95 carat, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between such carat because their diameter is almost identical to the naked eye!
Same applies to 1.5 carat as well, go a little below, and you’ll find a better price per carat, these carat (0.9 – 0.99 & 1.4 – 1.45) demand is way lower than the known grades (1 & 1.5 respectively), and vendors make good use of people’s needs to them. Avoid it!