The Four C’s Continued, Carat and Clarity
Carat, a Unit of Measurement
Carat is a term that indicates the mass of a diamond. This is not to be confused with karat as it applies to gold—in this case, carat is a measurement of weight. One carat is equivalent to a mass of .2 g. This standard of measurement, sometimes referred to as the metric carat, was adopted in 1907 at the Forth General Conference on Weights and Measure. A notable species under the genus carat is referred to by jewelers as the paragon; a flawless stone that weighs in at 100 carats—20 grams! What’s important to understand about carat measurement, is that the higher the carat weight of the diamond, the more unique, and thus more expensive, the gem becomes.
Essentially, clarity is a quality of diamonds that deals with the internal characteristics of diamonds, known as inclusions, and surface defects called blemishes. Essentially, inclusions are foreign material, or structural imperfections such as tiny cracks that can cause a diamond to appear cloudy. Most inclusions are undetectable to the naked eye. Examination at ten times magnification is required in order to assess the presence of inclusions. Inclusions are undesirable because they can affect a diamonds ability to scatter light, and thus, reduce the diamonds brilliance.