Customers get easily confused about this when they’re out shopping for engagement rings.
Is it one carat?
Or is it one carat total weight?
The two are totally different. And if you don’t understand how, or if you don’t know why, you can quickly get ripped off by jewelers and taken advantage of.
People come in to compare prices for bridal sets and rings and say that the one they were looking at down the street is a “one carat“. I ask them if that is one carat in the center of the ring, or one carat total of the entire ring?
“It’s a one carat.”
Of course, they look at me funny and say “I don’t know!”
They have no clue, no idea what it really means, all they know is that the previous jewelry salesperson told them that it’s “one carat“.
Isn’t that enough information?
Let me explain…
Carat weight (as usually marked on the price tag or ticket as “CW” or “CT”) means it’s the weight of 1 single diamond. For example, a one carat diamond (or 1.00 CW, which is also 100 points) means that the diamond listed weighs exactly one full carat weight (or within a couple of points).
A 3/4 CW diamond engagement ring would have one diamond weighing 75 points (or .75 CT).
(Read more about carat and points in my post about understanding diamond weights.
But let’s go deeper…
If the tag is marked as .95 CTW (CTW = carat total weight), then that means that all of the diamonds that are in the ring Total 95 points (just shy of a full carat).
So if that ring has 16 diamonds in it, then all of those 16 diamonds together are added up and equals 95 points.
Keep in mind, CW or CT (carat weight and carat) means 1 single diamond.
CTW means more than 1 diamond
A lot of jewelers also use DW and DTW (diamond weight and diamond total weight). It means the same thing as CT and CTW; 1 single diamond vs multiple diamonds added together.
So think about this, if the wedding set you’re looking at, reads as 1.00 CTW. That center diamond, if not listed, could actually weight any carat weight. It could be 25 points (1/4 carat) or even as small as 10 points. If the salesperson doesn’t break it down and at least tell you what the main center stone weighs, or if it doesn’t say on the tag, then don’t buy it.
All wedding sets and engagement rings should have the center diamond listed separately.
It may not be a good deal.
So just because they say a ring is 1 carat, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal. It may sound good, but you won’t know, because you won’t be able to compare apples to apples without finding out what the center diamond weighs.
The only true way to compare diamonds to diamonds, is to know the exact carat weight of the diamonds you’re comparing, so you can clearly understand price.
Otherwise, you’re just going wild turkey!
And chances are very good that you’ll end up getting a smaller center stone, lower quality, and paying double the price for it.
Watch those CT’s and CTW’s!
Center diamonds in bridal rings should always have the carat weight marked individually.
You should not only know what the Carat Weight of the Center Diamond is, but what the Clarity and Color is as well.
So if the clerk tells you that the ring is a “1 carat“, make sure you know if it’s the carat weight of the center diamond, or the total carat weight of the entire ring.
It’s highly important, because one carat is not always one carat.
This is also why it’s wise to shop with James Allen. You can pick out the center stone (in whatever carat weight you desire), and then have it set into the mounting of your choice. That way you know what the exact carat weights are of everything.
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