Diamond Education | Carats

What does a "carat" really mean?

Carat is a standard unit of weight used for diamonds and other gemstones. One carat equals 0.2 gram. Ct is the abbreviation of carat, while ct TW is the abbreviation for carat total weight. TW is usually used for multiple, smaller gemstones. There are more ways to express a carat: in milligrams, grams, or points. A 1-carat diamond equals 100 points. So each point means 0.01 carat, or one hundredth of a carat. Usually points are for the measurement of smaller diamonds.

The diamond’s cut grade also affects how big the diamond looks. When a diamond is cut perfectly, it can reflect a great amount of light and so it can look bigger and more sparkly. Also, a diamond with more weight can look smaller if it is poorly cut. Usually if a diamond’s bottom part is too big, it makes a higher carat stone look smaller. To compare diamonds with different weights, they should be the same quality to see the difference.

If you don’t know what carat diamond you should choose, here are some tips that can help you decide:

  • The size of your fingers can influence the look of the diamond. 
  • The size of the setting also matters when it comes to measurements; not all settings make a diamond look its best. If the setting is too big, the diamond can be ‘lost’ in it.
  • Usually the price of diamonds jump up with half and full carats. So buying a 1.9 carat diamond is much less expensive than a 2 carat one. Besides, the difference between them is almost invisible. 
  • Larger diamonds are always more expensive than smaller diamonds with the same weight. These smaller diamond chips are measured in total carat weight or points, and they are worth less because they are much more common than larger diamonds. 
  • Larger diamonds with good color and no impurities are very rare, so this is the reason why the price rapidly increases from smaller stones to bigger ones.