Carat Weight vs. Face-Up Size
Analysis of a relationship between carat weight and face-up size
This page outlines the findings of an analysis of a relationship between carat weight and face-up size. I've analyzed data from a database of 698,552 diamonds. The database was checked and cleaned, meaning that the obvious incorrect entries were preliminarly deleted.
I've split this report into two parts: Round cut analysis and Fancy shapes analysis. Since Round cut is by far the most popular shape and makes about 61% of the diamonds in my database (that's 424,849 diamonds), it deserves a separate section.
Round Cut Analysis
The following graph illustrates the relationship between carat weight and average face-up diameter:
As one would expect, the relationship is not linear; diameter increases slower than carat weight. Reference diamond line (dashed red line) is expectedly showing that the average diameter of diamonds on the market lags a bit behind the ideal, indicating the overall tendency of cutters to maximize weight rather than cut quality.
Carat Weight Distribution
The following graph was plotted with 575 data points (distinct carat weights) and shows the quantity of diamonds available for carat weights ranging from 0.1 to 6.1 carats.
As diamond prices jump at certain carat weights (especially at half and full carats), so does the availability of diamonds. It's pretty clear from the graph that diamond cutters aim to achieve these economically sound carat weights, even if it means sacrificing the beauty (cut quality) of the stones. These "magic" carat weights have the highest standard deviation in terms of size, which means that the spread of diamonds at these weights varies the most. For example, a diameter of 1 carat Round can range from 5.59 to 6.8 mm. The ideal would be around 6.5 mm.
0.5 carat diamonds are available in the highest numbers, closely followed by 0.7 and 1.01 carat stones. The latter is quite interesting as it shows how cutters like to play it safe to make sure they don't miss the magic 1 carat mark. Better safe than sorry. For comparison: there are 19,268 1ct and 24,317 1.01ct stones in my database, but only 236 0.99ct stones. The same trend can be observed at all weights where prices jump.
Fancy Shapes Analysis
The only way to compare face-up sizes of fancy shapes is to compare surface areas at the girdle plane. This can be tricky because each stone is unique in terms of outline. To overcome this problem I had to resort to estimations (more detailed explanation of how I do that can be found here). Although we're dealing with estimations, we can still see the overall trends.
The following graph shows the average relationship between carat weight and face-up size for all 11 main diamond shapes:
Which shape faces up the largest? Look at the graph's legend, it's ordered from the largest to the smallest. The first place goes to marquise, followed by trillion, and then pear and oval, which basically overlap. Round is doing very well in the upper half of the bunch, at 5th place. The last place goes to asscher, mainly because of its large corners. If we compare asscher to second to last, princess, which is typically deeper and has in fact smaller length and width, it would still have larger surface area on account of asscher's deeply trimmed corners.
Carat Weight Distribution (Fancy Shapes)
Carat weight distribution of fancy shapes is very similar to that of round diamonds. The spikes indicate price jumps, where the availability is the highest:
This analysis confirmed the overall tendency of the diamond cutting industry to maximize carat weight instead of focusing on the quality of the cut and producing more beautiful, but less heavy stones. It makes sense, since the general public mostly (and wrongly) equates carats with size. In the end, it's all about the money.
As we could see, the difference in face-up size at the same carat weight (for the same shape) can be quite considerable. When buying a diamond it pays to take this into account. It also pays to avoid weights where prices take big jumps. But then we come to the problem of availability.
|Carat weight||Nr. of diamonds||Reference diameter||Average diameter||Median||Standard deviation||Range (min-max)|