On International Carrot Day, We Explain Carats

Easter falls on a different day every year, but one rabbit-reminder day is always celebrated on April 4 – International Carrot Day! This vegetable, which is actually a taproot related to parsley, dill, fennel, and cumin, has a lot of little-known facts about it: for example, although carrots have been consumed for centuries, did you know orange carrots were first seen in the Netherlands in the 17th century? Carrots were commonly purple, white, or red until then. And, did you know that consuming too many carrots can cause your skin to turn orange? More interesting facts about carrots (do they really improve your eyesight?) can be found here – but prepare to be surprised!

1 carrot diamond ring

One fact that may not surprise you is that carrots, the veggie, have nothing to do with carats, the unit of measurement of gemstones and pearls. It’s commonly believed that the carob seed, thought to be fairly uniform in size, was the basis for the method of measuring the mass of gemstones, and through the years and languages the word became “carat.” Carob seeds were not actually as uniform as believed, but it wasn’t until 1907 that a universal definition of the carat was adopted around the world. Although the carat has been used to measure diamonds since around 1570, jewelers and gemologists recognized it was an inadequate measure of a diamond’s quality, so around the mid-twentieth century the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) developed the 4Cs – Cut, Clarity, Color, Carat – to better convey the unique attributes of each diamond, and the standard was quickly accepted world-wide; however, opinions still vary as to which “C” is most important in diamonds.

Despite the fact that “carrot” is not one of the 4Cs for diamonds, for one Swedish woman it is indeed the most important C. In this remarkable story, a diamond ring that went missing from Lena Paahlsson’s kitchen in 1995 was found 16 years later in her garden – wrapped tightly around a carrot! Mrs. Paahlsson had designed the ring herself with seven small diamonds in a white gold band, but from now on it will be her “One Carrot Diamond!”

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