What is a Diamond Carat- A Complete Guide

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What is a Diamond Carat- A Complete Guide

What is a Diamond Carat- Complete Guide

When shopping for diamond jewelry, we often come across the term "carat." But what does it mean? Is it the size of the diamond or the weight? Let's find out in detail what is a diamond carat and its various aspects.  

What is a Diamond Carat?

In simple terms, a carat is the weight of the diamond. A one-carat diamond weighs 0.20 grams. Carat weight doesn't depend on the size of the diamond; a visibly small diamond may have a high carat weight. Each carat is further divided into 100 'points', allowing gemologists to rate a diamond accurately.  If there’s more than one diamond on a jewelry piece, such as on a diamond cluster ring, the stones are weighed together rather than individually. 

Note: Often, carat is confused with the term ‘karat’ (kt) and is used alternatively at times. However, karat is the measure of gold purity; it indicates the proportion of gold and alloy used in a piece of gold jewelry.  A diamond’s price depends on its carat weight. The bigger the diamond, the higher its price. Hence, jewelers often ask buyers to focus on the carat rather than on the size of the diamond. However, two diamonds with the same carat weight can vary in price and value. Wondering? Let’s know more.  

How Diamond Value and the 4 Cs Are Affected by Carat Weight? 

Carat is the most important aspect of determining a diamond’s value, but not the only one. In other words, the carat weight definitely has a significant impact on the diamond’s cost, but it is not the only determining factor in the price. For example, a diamond that has a high carat weight may not necessarily be priced higher if its clarity isn’t up to the mark or its color is less than great. If the diamond is inappropriately cut, the price will also go down.

determining a diamond’s value

Further, the rarity of a diamond also varies depending on how large it is. As the carat weight increases, the value of the diamond also increases. Although, the increase in value isn’t proportionate to the increase in size.  

This means no two diamonds are equal in value, even if they have the same carat weight. The price of a diamond is determined by the 4C's - carat, color, cut, and clarity.  

Carat Weight Buying Tips:

When buying an engagement ring or any diamond jewelry based on the carat weight, look for popular carat weights, such as 1/2 ct. 3/4 ct., etc. These diamonds fall short of the whole, so you may get one at a slight discount compared to diamonds of a full carat weight. 

Carat Weight Buying Tips
However, they are visually difficult to differentiate. A diamond with a smaller carat weight may have a diameter equal to that of a heavier one,  so it looks the same size when viewed from the top.  

In most cases, couples prefer shape and carat weight over other aspects when buying a diamond engagement ring, regardless of their prices. The most popular carat weights for engagement rings are between one and two carats.  Well, choosing the carat weight is mostly a matter of personal preference. Some may want to stick to their budget and go for smaller carat diamonds, while others may choose something a little bigger. 


 Most buyers are intent on making carat weight their number one factor in choosing diamond jewelry because they believe a heavy carat diamond is more impressive. While there's nothing wrong with wanting a larger carat diamond, it's good to know that bigger isn’t always better. Consider the other factors - color, cut, and clarity when buying diamond jewelry.  

And if you still need expert assistance, get in touch with us at Dolphin Galleries. Our skilled team of jewelry designers is ready to assist you in making the right choice. You can also visit our online store to buy engagement rings based on carat weight, including 2.5 ct, 3-ct, 3ct-emerald rings, and much more. Explore our collection today!  

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a carat?

Carat is the measure of a diamond’s weight. However, it does not measure a diamond’s size.  

How are diamonds weighed?

Diamonds are weighed in metric carats: one carat equals 0.2 grams. Just like a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, 1 carat is subdivided into 100 points.  

What does "tw" mean? 

'Tw' or the total weight is the combined carat weight of multiple diamonds. Just as the carat weight, the total weight of a diamond is of utmost importance when determining the price of a jewelry piece. However, they are different from one another. A 2 tw diamond ring is not actually a ring with a 2-carat weight diamond, but one with multiple diamonds that make up 2 carats in total. 

How many carats should an engagement ring be?

This depends entirely on the buyer's preference. The wearer's style also plays a crucial role in selecting the best carat size for an engagement ring. For instance, if you are looking for a diamond for the center stone of your engagement ring, carat size will not be the only thing on your mind. You will also consider other factors, such as the diamond clarity grade, cut, and color, as all of these contribute to diamond quality. Moreover, you will consider the diamond shape that appeals to you the most.  

While all diamonds are beautiful, if you are looking for a stone that stands out in a solitaire setting, you should consider diamonds of at least one carat.  

What are “Magic Sizes”?

Some carat weights are considered "magic sizes", including one carat, half-carat, and three-quarter carat. Looking closely, you'll see a little difference between a 0.99-carat diamond and a 1-carat diamond. But the price differences between the two can be significant. Because their price 'magically' hikes once they get to the one-carat weight and other distinguished fractions, they are called "magic sizes." 

Steve Schlag

Owner of Dolphin Galleries, Art & Jewelry Expert.

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