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Carat Weight
Carat weight is one of the first considerations when buying a diamond. The price of a diamond increases exponentially with the carat weight, though the actual size does not.

When researching diamonds, be on the lookout for stones that register just under the benchmark carat weights such as 1/2 ct. 3/4 ct., 1 ct., etc. Diamonds that are just outside of the popular weights are often sold for less when compared to diamonds of full weight. For example, a .90 carat diamond will typically cost less on a price-per-carat basis than a full 1.00 carat diamond. To the naked eye, the difference is negligible. A smaller carat weight diamond may have a diameter equal to that of a higher carat weight diamond, being perceived as the same.

The most popular carat weights for diamonds are between one and two carats. If a diamond under .75 carats is a budget necessity, consider a marquise cut or princess cut, which appear larger than other shapes of equal carat weight, due to elongated cut or a broader table.