If you have ever shopped for jewels, then you are probably familiar with the term carat, but you may not really understand what it means. Carats are the measurement used to indicate the weight of a gemstone. When shopping for jewelry with our custom jewelry designer in Seattle and Bellevue, it is important to remember that size of a gemstone does not necessarily indicate its weight or the number of carats assigned to it.
Stones of a similar size may not have the same weight. This is because different types of stones, and sometimes different stones within the same type, may have different densities. A small stone with a high density may weigh the same as a bigger stone with less mass per volume. For example, rubies have a higher density than diamonds, which means that the gemstone size of a diamond will be bigger than a ruby of the same carat. For this reason, it is important to understand which gems tend to have a higher density before you search for the perfect jewel for you.
Beyond carat, the physical gemstone size is also important to consider when buying a stone. Besides color, size will be one of the first features to catch the eye. Once a particular size stone is chosen, it will then be cut to fit a setting. Gem cuts, such as Emerald Cut or Princess Cut are created by making a standard number of cuts to reach the desired shape.
For mass-produced jewelry, stones are cut to as similar of a size as possible. This allows the creation of similar sized stones to fit standard settings. Although cuts are standard, stones do not always become the exact same size after the cutting procedure. So how do jewelers fit different size stones into a standard setting? The good news is that a skilled jeweler can alter the size of the setting to accommodate a slightly different gemstone size.
If, however, you chose to buy a stone that is larger or proportionally different than the mass-market standard, you may wish to have a custom-made setting. For some unusual fine gems, a custom-made setting may allow the jewel to shine, whereas a standard setting may require altering the raw gem too much, thereby reducing its beauty.
Diamonds are usually sold by carat, while colored stones are sold by size. However, the carat of a colored stone is still considered for pricing purposes. The main reason for the difference between diamonds and other gems is that colored stones may vary in carat, but need to be a standard size to fit the setting. Two stones of the same type, such as a sapphire, may have different carats, but if they are cut to the same size, they could both fit the same type of setting.
This difference in carat occurs when the chemical makeup of a gem varies from the standard density for that gemstone. A 1 carat diamond, however, it will most likely fit the same size setting as any other 1 carat diamond. It is imperative to remember this difference between diamonds and colored gemstones when considering gemstone size.