If you’re here, you’re probably thinking about proposing to your favorite person in the world! And with so many options out there, we are aware that the search for the perfect ring can be really frustrating! Which’s why we founded “…” in the first place!
To find that ideal engagement ring, we thought you should know a few basics first! Let’s call it “Diamond ring shopping 101”!
From a diamond size, to weight, to cut, to appearance, we’ll be covering all of this here. stay tuned…
We know you probably have many questions already! Like: Is a 1 carat diamond ring considered small, too small, or just perfect? Is the size always proportionate to weight? How does a 1 carat appear on the hand? Do I need to go high carat to get an excellent diamond?…etc.
Well, luckily, many online stores have provided some sort of visualization tool to reflect how different shapes & carat sizes appear on hand. So, no need to worry about that!
And for the diamond size, it is usually determined by its weight, which is called carat (or as some people mistakenly type it karat). And by the way, a “2 carat” ring doesn’t necessary mean that it’s double the size of a “1 carat”.
As you can see from the photos below (taken from James Allen preview mode); 4 different types and shapes of diamond rings; all of 1 carat weight!
What is Diamond Carat?
The term carat (which some people mistakenly spell it karat) is actually derived from the Greek word for “fruit of the carob tree”. What does this have to do with diamonds?
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 on the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures to be used as the official weighting system for diamonds.
On the contrary of what you might think When shopping for diamonds on Whiteflash or James Allen, with their advanced imaging technologies that 1 carat isn’t so huge/not enough to make a great-looking diamond! The truth is way further than that!
You’ve already seen in the 4 images above how 1 carat diamond looks on an average sized 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! Not Even Close!
While this is not a common misconception, we have seen the confusion from some of our readers on multiple occasions; which’s why we’re setting some facts straight..
Gold purity is measured by karat (or in the UK it’s Carat, and that’s probably the reason for the confusion), it reflects the concentration of gold in the item; since not all gold jewelry is 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 simply a measuring unit for the weight/size of a diamond.
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!
Probably you’re wondering why that 1 carat diamond’s price is higher than the average 1 carats (since the average 1 carat price is between $4.5k to $6k)! It’s simply because it’s a True Hearts™ cut. We encourage you to read all about it here: Everything you need to know about True Hearts!
And as every product has its own catalogue/manual to choose from, diamonds are no different! We’ll examine together the “Diamond Carat Chart”; which will be your guide to understanding the carat (size) of a diamond, how it looks on hands, and to which extent carats affect diamond appearance. Let’s dive in:
What is Diamond Carat Chart?
Diamond Carat Chart is a system of measuring the weight of a diamond particle, how it looks, and how large or small it is! The chart is one of the factors considered when choosing a diamond piece because it’s one of the main characteristics of diamonds (4Cs).
Now that we have established that diamonds come in different shapes & sizes, a lot of people still mix between shapes & cuts But why are we mentioning shapes when talking about carat chart exactly?
Great question! And the answer is very simple: every diamond shape will affect how the diamond looks (even with similar carat). For instance, let’s take a 1 carat princess-shaped diamond. It’d absolutely look different (in size) from an oval-shaped diamond!
Another fun fact: Do you know that many shapes look larger “in size” than round shapes? Still, round is on most demand, why is that?
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!
A 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?
For the sake of analogy, let’s assume that we have 1 pound of wood, and 1 pound of iron, they both have the same weight but with dissimilar sizes! (The pound is the measuring unit for weight for both the wood and the iron).
Back to our diamonds, same applies here as well. Carat is the measuring unit of weight; which’s irrelative of the size of the diamond.
Despite the variety of diamond shapes out there, we have chosen to focus on the round-shaped diamond; since it’s the most popular of all!
Fancy shaped diamonds appear larger than their actual size, however, they cost less compared to the round diamond. You can check The Fancy Colored Diamond collection in one of our favorite online stores BlueNile.
1 Carat Round Diamond Actual Size on Hand
Because of the 1 carat being the most common carat and people counting on it as a reference for other carats (while this is not entirely true as we will see below), we have decided to shed some light on the 1-carat diamond and its actual size on hand!
A 1 carat round diamond with an excellent cut will have the following dimensions:
Diameter: 6.4 – 6.5 mm
Crown: 33.2 mm2
But how do these dimensions actually look like in real life? Here is an exact 1 carat round diamond size, scaled 1:1:
You’re probably wondering:
If 1 carat is only 0.2 of a gram, it must be a very small and unnoticeable diamond! Well, 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 it has an excellent (ideal) cut, a gorgeous sparkling diamond is guaranteed; capturing everyone’s attention!
Here is how it looks on hand:
How Much a 1 Carat Round Diamond Costs?
To give you a better understanding of how it works, let’s assume that we have a diamond with the minimum recommended Cs:
Diamond Cut: Excellent
Diamond Color: H
Diamond Clarity: SI1
You can also read: Diamond Clarity SI1: Is It Good Enough?
Doing this search on JamesAllen will give us a range of diamonds between around $4k to $5.6k depending on other factors. However, we can’t use this as a reference number; meaning:, it’s not necessary that a 2 carat diamond with similar characteristics to cost around $10k.
The reason is that in order to craft a larger diamond into the perfect ring, it’s recommended to raise the standard on other factors as well. For example, clarity (inclusions actually) might be more visible in 2 carat diamond than 1 carat, because it has a larger surface, which might make it easier to detect an inclusion.
We took the liberty to perform a small test to save you the trouble! After carrying a research on James Allen’s online store, we found that a diamond’s price range with identical characteristics above (but only for 2 carat diamond) will start from $14k!
For further deep understanding on how pricing for carat works, we urge you to read our article about diamond pricing per carat.
How Diamond Carat (Weight) Affect Size?
When you saw the 1 carat round dimensions up here, you might have thought: If I do the math correctly, I should have double the size if I double the carat! Well, as much as we wish it were true, diamond science doesn’t operate like that!
Diamond is not a 2D shape! Many factors come into play when talking about size; including the crown, table, pavilion, and others.
For instance, 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 as they call it: Diamond Depth.
Diamond depth takes a lot of the diamond weight (Read: How to Measure Diamond Depth?). In order 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); which shows all diamond shapes dimensions, for carat from 0.25 up to 4 carats, with a scale of 1:1.
You can easily print the file on A4 to have an “almost” exact size for each diamond.
Why Diamond Cut Affect Size?
This is a result of the diamond weight being distributed among the whole diamond, from its crown to its culet.
You can see that clearly in the below picture (which shows how the different cuts for a round diamond also have different sizes; taking into consideration that these 3 diamonds all of the SAME CARAT):
You can easily spot the diamond with the largest crown (the shallow one). If you’re thinking about getting it, please don’t!
Despite the fact that it looks bigger than other cuts, it sure has a very poor light reflection! An Ideal cut is what actually gives the diamond this sparkle and undeniable beauty!
Feel free to read our Cut Chart Article that will show in detail how each cut grade reflects light.
Most diamond sellers on the other hand will try and sell you the idea that carat is the most important thing you should look for in a diamond. Just keep in mind the 4Cs we mentioned earlier! Also, lookout for the CUT since it’s technically the most important factor out of 4Cs
Quick suggestion: We always recommend that you get excellent diamond cut for this reason.
Diamond Carat Actual Size on Hand
Now that you’re aware of the various factors to be considered when buying that diamond ring, you probably have a good idea of what you want to get your special lady! The final step is to find a ring that fits perfectly, and you’re ready to go!
James Allen has created this interactive tool that will let you know the actual sizes of different carats, but they thought that tool wasn’t enough to show the real size (as it looks on hand), therefore, they came with better images & scale like the images we’ve seen above.
We also thought you’d like to check out real images of the actual sizes of the different types of diamond rings on hand.
And since round shape is known to be the most popular shape of all time, princess cut comes second place, we will be showing the actual sizes for these shapes on hands.
Round & Princess 0.5 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
On an average hand, here is how a 0.05 carat diamond looks like:
Round & Princess 1 Carat Diamond Actual Size on Hand
People consider the 1-carat diamond to be the “benchmark” for diamond sizes. 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 effortlessly! 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
On your hunt to find the perfect gem, whether you prefer the local stores or even better (and way easier) buying diamonds online from some reputable names like JamesAllen or the premium diamonds selections website Whiteflash, we urge you to first focus on the CUT.
Read: Why We Recommend Whiteflash for quality diamonds shopping in our Whiteflash detailed review.
Always allocate the majority of your budget to secure an excellent cut, then start giving attention to Clarity, Color, and Carat.
If you’re uncertain 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” 1 carat will cost around $4k – $6k (this becomes more when you exceed the first carat).
Our last advice would be: Don’t go for the obvious! Meaning? The demand is too high for the “1 carat” and the “1.5 carats”. We’d recommend that you go a bit lower on the carat to get a better price. Here’s an example:
If you want a diamond with 1 carat, go for the diamonds that are between 0.9 & 0.95 carats, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between such carat because their diameter is almost identical to the naked eye!
The same goes for 1.5 carats as well, go a little below, and you’ll find a better price per carat. These carats (0.9 – 0.99 & 1.4 – 1.45) demand is way lower than the known grades (1 & 1.5 respectively), and vendors use that to their advantage!
As for the price of a 1 carat round diamond, it will vary considerably; depending on the 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.
Summary: Diamonds Actual Size on Hands
1 carat is not small, even less than 1 carat, we’ve seen 0.5 carat diamonds that look amazing on the hands of their ladies, ALWAYS focus on the cut before the carat, and don’t shop with the pre-assumption is that you MUST get more than 1 carat so it can be visible.
If you need help picking up a diamond, just fill the form below and we will be glad to offer a free consultancy for you.