The carat of a diamond has to do with the carob tree

What does the carat have to do with the carat as a measure of the weight of the diamond and other precious stones? No, it is not a joke of the bad ones but an anecdote of the good ones. Sometimes we ignore the most obvious facts and information and I want to share with you the origin of the “carat”.

carob tree mallorca seeds karats diamonds
A Carob Tree

Although you may not realize it, the “weights” we use must be linked to a physical reference object, even today. For instance, the kilogram is represented by the international prototype kilogram, which was sanctioned in 1889. The actual weight is a small cylinder made of platinum and iridium and is held by the Bureau International des Poid et Mesures, who grants access to it and the official copies of the weight. The carat corresponds to 1/5 of a gram of weight. Carat comes from the carob tree and is the English name for the carob tree. I am sorry that it is not something more exotic. It turns out that the seeds of the carob tree (which are sheathed like a large flat pea) are very symmetrical and the difference in weight between one and the other is negligible.

carat seeds algarrobo mallorca diamonds
Carob Pod and seeds

Can you imagine the ancient gem and precious stone merchants weighing the diamonds and carob seeds on either side of the scale? Little glamour, much charm and a lot of profit. When the only way to weigh something was with a balance scale, the unknown weight of an object had to be measured by counting the number of unit weights needed to counterbalance it. It was once thought that carob seeds had such uniform weight that they made perfect unit weights.

The carob tree grows in the Mediterranean and has fruit pods that contain multiple seeds. It was a simple task to get your hand on a bunch of carob seeds of the same size, and count on them all to be pretty much the same weight. Oh, while we’re at it, the carob pod is also directly edible and can be used in countless recipes that Mallorca Food Club’s private chefs will be happy to prepare for you.

We have 3 hectares of carot trees in our property. That would made a lot of money if they’re diamonds!