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The Origin of the Word Carat: A Fascinating Journey into the Past!

The Origin of the Word Carat: A Fascinating Journey into the Past!

Diamonds, with their captivating brilliance and enduring value, have held a place of

fascination for centuries. When shopping for diamond jewelry, understanding the terminology used to describe these precious stones is essential. One of the key terms you'll encounter is "carat", which refers to a diamond's weight. But have you ever wondered about the origin of this word and the fascinating journey it has taken through history?

From Seeds to Diamonds: The Birth of a Word

The origin of "carat" can be traced back to the ancient world, specifically to the carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). These trees produce flat, brown seed pods with remarkably consistent weight. These carob seeds were used by early civilizations as a unit of measurement for precious stones and other small objects.

The Greek word for carob seed, "keration", became "siliqua" in Latin. Over time, the word evolved further into the Italian "carato" and the French "carat". Finally, by the 15th century, the term "carat" had entered the English language, forever linked to the world of gemstones. 

A Weighty Matter: The Evolution of the Carat 

While the carob seed provided the initial reference point, the actual weight of a "carat" has varied throughout history. In ancient times, the weight of a carat could differ slightly depending on the region. However, with the rise of international trade, the need for standardization became apparent.

In 1907, an international agreement established the metric carat as the standard unit of diamond weight. This metric carat is defined as exactly 200 milligrams (0.2 grams). This standardization ensured consistency and transparency in the diamond trade, allowing for accurate comparisons across geographical boundaries.

Beyond Weight: Understanding Carat in Diamond Selection

While carat weight plays a significant role in a diamond's price, it's just one factor to consider when choosing a diamond jewel. Here are some additional tips for making an informed decision: 

  • Cut: The cut of a diamond refers to the way its facets are proportioned and arranged. A well-cut diamond maximizes its brilliance, fire, and scintillation, making it sparkle magnificently. Consider the cut grade, with excellent or ideal cuts being the most sought-after for their superior light performance.

  • Color: Diamonds are graded on a scale ranging from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow). While colorless diamonds are the most valuable, near colorless diamonds (grades D-F) offer excellent brilliance and value. Discussing your preferences with a jeweler can help you find the perfect balance between color and budget. 

  • Clarity: This refers to the presence of any internal or external flaws within the diamond. Internally Flawless (IF) and Very Very Slightly Included (VVS) diamonds are the most flawless, but slightly included diamonds (SI) can still be beautiful and offer significant value. 

  • Polish: The polish refers to the smoothness of a diamond's surface. A well- polished diamond allows for maximum light reflection and brilliance.

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