Diamond "Carat" Origin
The origin of the word -carat- lies in the Mediterranean region, where carob trees have flourished since ancient times. Ancient civilizations planted and ate carob for centuries, but how exactly are they related to diamonds? Traders quickly realized that carob seeds were uniform in size and weight, which made them perfect for measuring the weight of gemstones. A gemstone would be placed on one side of a scale, and the trader would then add carob seeds to the other side until the scale balanced. The higher the number of seeds on the scale, the heavier the gemstone was, and thus the higher it was priced. One carob seed is roughly equivalent to one modern carat, the word we use today to describe the weight of diamonds. In the Far East, diamonds were historically weighed against grains of rice, resulting in the coining of the term 'grainer'. Today, gemologists still quantify the weight of diamonds in grainers. A four-grainer diamond is equal to one carat.