How Carat Weight Affects Price

The weight of a diamond is given in carats. One carat is equal to 1/142 of an ounce. Many people think of carat weight as the size of a diamond. However, two diamonds of the same weight can look very different in size. If a diamond is cut deep and narrow, it will look much smaller than another diamond of the same weight that is cut shallow and wide.

Three Major Considerations ::

There are three major considerations when looking at the price of a diamond.

1) Price “per carat” goes up as the weight goes up.

Each of the following weights (starting with 0.46 carats) have entirely separate price charts, and increase dramatically at each break. Prices increase because larger stones are much more rare than smaller ones. Therefore, two smaller diamonds will not cost as much as one diamond that weighs the same as both together. For instance, two 1.00-carat diamonds as listed below would cost $15,400, while one stone weighing 2.00 carat would cost $30,000.

Prices given below are for a Round Brilliant shape, good make, G color, VS2 clarity, from the Rapaport Diamond Report for March 2008. We give just one quality as an example to make this point clearly. Other qualities will vary dramatically in price. Also, these prices are not meant to represent actual selling prices.

Example prices for Round / G / VS2:

0.46 – 0.49 Price per carat: $2,400 (back in 2000 it was $2,800)
0.50 – 0.69 Price per carat: $3,300 (back in 2000 it was $3,600)
0.70 – 0.89 Price per carat: $4,400 (back in 2000 it was $4,700)
0.90 – 0.99 Price per carat: $5,700 (back in 2000 it was $5,700)
1.00 – 1.49 Price per carat: $7,700 (back in 2000 it was $6,600)
1.50 – 1.99 Price per carat: $10,500 (back in 2000 it was $8,400)
2.00 – 2.99 Price per carat: $15,000 (back in 2000 it was $10,200)
3.00 – 3.99 Price per carat: $21,300 (back in 2000 it was $11,600)
4.00 – 4.99 Price per carat: $33,600 (back in 2000 it was $13,000)
5.00 – 5.99 Price per carat: $44,100 (back in 2000 it was $16,700)

Above 6 carats, diamonds are considered specials, and are individually priced.

2) Prices go up at certain weight points.

If you look at the chart above, you will see how the prices go up at certain critical points. This is not just random. Many people prefer having a diamond they can say is 1 carat. But .99 is visibly the same size as a 1.00 carat to any eye. But the price could be quite visibly different.

For instance, if you bought a diamond that weighs .99 carats, it would cost $5,643 (.99 x ($5700 per carat). But if you bought a diamond that weighs 1.00 carats, just .01 more, an increase that is not even visually different most likely, it would cost $7,700.

(Hint: If you want to save money, consider a diamond that is just under the major weight/price breaks. It will look almost exactly as large, but cost less. Example: 0.95 carats instead of 1.00)

3) Popular weights are more expensive and harder to find in specific qualities.

Each week, prices and availability fluctuate for certain sizes and shapes, with the forces of demand and supply. At the time of this writing and for a couple of years now, diamonds have been harder to find in the 1.25 carat range as well as 0.67 and 2.50, to mention only a few.

This scarcity of certain sizes influences prices for those stones because the best possible discounts to dealers are not offered on diamonds that are in limited supply. In other words, a dealer who has stones of these hard-to-find sizes can just sit on them until someone offers to pay his price.

We recommend choosing sizes that are in good supply, to avoid unnecessary premiums. If you must go down in size and budget a little to get a better value, apply the rest to your honeymoon or wedding arrangements and enjoy the savings.


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