The right scale is crucial for anyone in the jewelry trade, as well as jewelry hobbyists and enthusiasts. Diamonds and other gemstones must be weighed carefully and exactly. Often there are legal standards to which your scale must adhere if you are planning on running a diamond or gemstone business, so checking your local laws (they tend to vary from state to state) is very important before you make your scale purchase.
For example, in many countries where a product is sold by weight, the scale or balance used must be a ‘Legal for Trade’ version (sometimes referred to as an ‘Approved’ version). The regulations vary from country to country, and retailers must ensure they meet local requirements. Legal for Trade scales and balances undergo more rigorous testing than a standard scale or balance. Only scales and balances that successfully pass the tests can be declared as Legal for Trade. Such scales and balances are sealed at the manufacturer’s site to prevent the scale from being opened by unauthorized personnel.
Why Are Diamonds And Gemstones Measured In Carats?
The word “carat” comes from the “carob” seed, the original unit of measure for diamond traders. Today, a carat is equal to exactly 0.2 grams (about the weight of a paper clip). Carat weight is unrelated to the similar sounding karat, which refers to gold’s purity.
How Are Gems Weighed?
Traditionally, the weight of a gemstone is expressed in carats (1 carat = 0.20 grams or 200 milligrams). For gemstones weighing less than 1 carat, their weight is expressed in units that are 100 times smaller, known as points (e.g. 50 points = 0.5 carats).
How Do You Weigh Diamonds?
To calculate the carats of a diamond, simply weigh the stone, and record its weight in grams. Then, divide that number by 0.2 to obtain the carat weight of the diamond. For example, if a diamond weighs 0.1 grams, then dividing this number by 0.2 yields 0.5, meaning that the stone weighs half a carat.
Important diamond and gemstone scale factors to consider:
- Your budget: Gemstone scales are available in a wide range of prices and accuracies. You need to find one that fits both your needs and available funds. Gemstone scales are available from $100 and up.
- Measurement units: To weigh diamonds, you need a gemstone scale that measures in carats. Some other frequently used units are grams (g), ounces (oz), pennyweights (dwt) and grains. You will probably not need a scale that weighs in troy ounce (ozt), which is used when weighing precious metals. Decide which unit you will most often use before you begin looking for scales.
- Portability needs: Does this scale need to come with you, or do you plan on leaving it in the store or office? The size and power source will be important factors if you need your scale to travel; look for small scales that are battery-powered. Flip style digital pocket scales are an affordable portable choice, and can usually still weigh as many as 200 grams accurately to .01 grams, 1000 carats to .1 carat, or 7 ounces to .001 ounces.
- Accuracy: Obviously, the more high quality a gemstone scale is, the more accurate you can expect its readings to be. You will need to balance this need with your budgetary concerns. Accuracy is crucial for any gemstone business, so do not skimp in this area if it can be avoided. Only a single tenth of a carat could be the difference between a $40 piece of rough and a $400 rough jewel.
- Minimum and maximum weight tolerances: How much weight do you need to measure? Are you looking to weigh many gemstones or diamonds as a group, or are you planning on weighing one small stone at a time, or do you need to be able to do both?
Consider purchasing a scale that can weigh up to twice the amount you would usually require; this way your scale will be able to handle any unexpected situations. You want your scale to be able to measure as finely as to .01 carat or .002 grams to ensure you are well within GIA (Gemological Institute Of America) standards.
Almost all gemstone scales are now electronic. Many feature energy-saving automatic power down and a low battery indicator. They can cycle through all the different weight units mentioned above, have automatic calibration, and a backlit LCD display. Look for a tare button which will be able to zero your scale to avoid counting the weight of any container holding your gemstone.
And while you may need to weigh on the go, if you have a table-top gem scale then try to avoid moving it. When a carat scale is frequently used by many different people, it can easily be moved through a frequent pressing of the keys, opening and closing the draft shield doors, and through unintended bumps.
These movements, which happen through everyday normal use, can soon interfere with its weighing performance. Each time a scale is moved, the level should be checked and an adjustment made. If you don’t realize the scale has moved, your weight results may be inaccurate without you knowing.
Highly Precise Customer Service
At Arlyn, we make sure our customer support staff is highly trained and well informed. You’ll be able to get all the information you need in order to choose the diamond and gem scale that is the right fit for you. We also offer customization so if your business needs a scale more specifically designed for you, we’re happy to talk with you and supply you with a custom scale that gives you more of what you need. Use the form online to contact us with any questions or for assistance during your selection process.