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Everything you need to know about the “carat” of the diamond

Tout savoir sur le « carat » du diamant
The “carat” when we talk about a diamond, what does it mean in practice? Today we are giving you the keys to better understanding the language of diamond dealers in order to choose your most beautiful diamond with peace of mind!

The carat, the unit of measurement for the diamond

The carat is the unit of measurement for diamonds and all other precious stones. 1 carat is worth a fifth of a gram, i.e. 1 carat = 0.2 grams . When you want to know how many carats a stone is worth, it simply comes down to asking how much it weighs. Be careful not to confuse it with the other “carat” used in jewelry to determine the purity of gold (18 carat, 14 carat gold, etc.). The same word is used for two very different concepts in jewelry, which can lead to confusion...

But why “carat”?

“Carat” takes its name from a tree, the carob tree, mainly present around the Mediterranean. The small seeds present on this tree have the particularity of being very regular in weight and size (around 0.2 grams per seed).

It is for this reason that the seeds of the carob tree were used as a measuring reference in the diamond and precious stone trade. 1 carat = 1 seed. It was not until 1906 that the carat was integrated into the metric system.

No need to worry! Today technology allows us to obtain much more precise measurements than those obtained at the time by merchants referring to the weight of carob seeds. Diamond dealers now have very high quality electronic scales which allow stones to be measured to the nearest thousandth of a carat.

Is the value of a diamond determined solely by its carat (weight)?

No, other factors are just as important. The value of a diamond is in fact determined by 4 criteria, more commonly called the 4Cs: Carat (weight), Clarity (purity), Color (color), Cut (size) . Two diamonds of the same weight will therefore not necessarily have the same value, since this will also depend on the evaluation of the three other criteria: the purity, color and size of the diamond. This applies to all diamonds, whether they are earth-mined or lab-created. To find out everything about the 4Cs, go here.

Thus, the closer a diamond gets to perfect purity (FL=Flawless), an exceptionally white or even colorless color (D) and an exceptional cut which allows all its sparkles to be revealed, the more precious it will be! Weight is therefore just one variable among others.

To these 4Cs, we can add a 5th : the origin ! The beauty of a diamond also lies in its traceability and innocence. Where does it come from? Under what conditions was it extracted or created? What is its environmental impact?

In our eyes, a traceable diamond designed with respect for people and our planet will have such special value and will make it all the more desirable.

In conclusion, do not rely solely on the carat (weight) of the diamond. Don't forget to take the 5Cs into account before you start buying a diamond.

How long does it take for 1 carat of diamond to form?

Whether created in a laboratory or mined from the earth, the duration of the diamond formation process is the same: approximately 4 to 6 weeks to obtain a carat of diamond.

Indeed, in nature, diamonds are formed 150km underground from pure carbon subjected to extremely high temperatures and pressures. In 4 to 6 weeks, the carbon crystallizes to form a diamond of approximately 1 carat. The duration of the diamond formation process in nature is therefore measured in weeks, and not in millions of years. On the other hand, it is the rise to the surface of the diamond which can take millions, even billions of years, since a volcanic eruption is necessary for this to occur. It is still necessary to dig and discover the deposits to open open-air mines and draw these resources.

Growing a diamond in the laboratory requires patience, rigor and perfection. Much like the natural diamond growing process, it takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks to “grow” a carat of diamond in the laboratory from pure carbon subjected to very high pressures and temperatures. We reproduce in the laboratory what happens underground – pure carbon subjected to the same conditions. Over the same period of time, we obtain a real diamond, physically, chemically and visually identical to those extracted from mines (it is a diamond), with the difference that it does not come from the earth, but from a laboratory high tech thus avoiding any mining extraction.

But that's not all. The raw stone is then cut and polished by human hands to reveal all its splendor! It is only once cut that the diamond reveals all its splendor and its thousand rainbow lights.

What is the environmental impact of a carat of diamond mined from the earth? And that of a carat of diamond created in a laboratory?

The depletion of the earth's resources and the pollution caused by diamond harvesting are causing irreparable damage to the planet.

For 1 carat of diamond extracted (which represents only 0.2 grams), 250 tonnes of earth are extracted, 160 kg of CO2 emitted into the air, 450 liters of water wasted.

The good news is that there is an alternative to mining. The synthetic diamond, created in the laboratory, leaves our earth intact . For 1 carat of diamond created, there is zero extraction: no holes in the earth, no deforestation, no pollution of rivers and groundwater. That's less than a glass of water used. And it’s a carbon footprint at least 8 times smaller than that of mined diamonds. At ODACE, we meticulously select the laboratories with which we work and favor laboratories operating on renewable energy. Furthermore, the sourcing of our diamonds is certified carbon neutral, which means that the energy consumed to produce our diamonds is reduced as much as possible and offset by financing carbon capture projects.

We do not claim to be perfect but we are very proud to do much better and to participate on our scale in building a more sustainable and ethical future through our passion – jewelry . We try to do things well – better – responsibly, while telling beautiful and moving stories which will then be punctuated by the life moments of those who will have the chance to wear our creations.

What is the carat (weight) of the largest diamond in the world?

It was in 1905 in South Africa that the largest rough diamond was discovered – a 3106 carat stone – titled Cullinan, after the owner of the mine where it was discovered! Remember, 1 carat = 0.2 grams. The largest rough diamond discovered so far weighed 621.20 grams. But this diamond no longer exists as is, since it was cut into 9 exceptional stones.

If we focus on cut diamonds, the record is no longer awarded to the Cullinan, but to another stone discovered in the same mine in South Africa, 80 years later – The Golden Jubilee. The rough stone originally weighed 755 carats and was used to cut a cushion diamond of 545.67 carats.

But what about synthetic diamonds, created in the laboratory? We have not yet managed to achieve such spectacular carat sizes! The largest jewelry quality synthetic diamonds approach 10 carats. This reflects the complexity of the diamond creation process in the laboratory and the rarity of this diamond of the future. But science continues to surprise us. Who knows ? Perhaps one day a laboratory diamond from a technological mine will manage to dethrone the famous Cullinan !