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CT versus CTW

This is something that you really have to watch out for when you’re shopping and comparing Diamonds and Quality

The difference between Carats and Carat Total Weights!

The two are totally different things, but if you’re not careful, you could be mislead and think you’re getting a good deal, when in fact, you’re NOT!


Carat, or Carat Weight can be written as CT (Carat), or CW (Carat Weight). The true definition of Carat (CT) is: the Carat Weight of any Diamond. If a Diamond is 50 points, then it’s 1/2 Carat. If the Diamond is 25 points, it’s 1/4 Carat.

When you’re looking at Solitaire (single) Diamonds, comparing Carat Weights is easy.

You can compare any 80 point Diamond at one store, to another 80 point Diamond at another and find out who is giving you the better deal. No problem!

Carat Weights are simple. A One Carat Diamond is a Diamond with 100 points (like 100 Pennies equals One Dollar).

So with Solitaire Engagement Rings, Carats are easy and everybody is on the same page.

Carat Total Weights are NOT so easy!

Carat Total Weights

Carat Total Weight can be written as CTW (Carat Total Weight), CWT (Carat Weight Total) and sometimes even TW (Total Weight) or TDW (Total Diamond Weight).

When you see Carat Total Weight after a number (like .80 CTW), that means that it’s the total combined weight of all the Diamonds in the ring. It’s the Carat Weight of everything.

You won’t find CTW listed on a Solitaire Ring, but you will see it listed if the Ring or Mounting has side Diamonds, or if the Ring is a Wedding Set (both Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring).

CTW means every Diamond in the ring has been added together as one and the total weight is given.

Look at the picture below to see the difference between a 1.00 CT Diamond Ring and a couple of other Rings that have 1.00 CTW.

Diamond CT vs CTW

As you can clearly see, the 1.00 point Diamond Solitaire has One huge Diamond ($10,000), while the other rings (CTW) have smaller stones that accumulate the same weight.

In the examples above, all the Diamonds are VS1, F Color, but the difference in price is extreme! $7,000 difference?

More is Less

The more your Carat Weight is broken up into smaller Diamonds, the cheaper the price will be.

That’s why Invisible Set Diamonds are so popular… They give the image of a bigger Diamond, but without the price! Invisible Set Diamonds are small Diamonds pieced together like a puzzle to look like a bigger Diamond (see picture below).

Illusion heads are the same way, but with illusion heads (which have been around forever and used frequently in Trio Sets) the Diamond in the center IS smaller. And sometimes it gets really small. The head it sits in is large and gives the illusion that the Diamond is much bigger. Big look, cheap price as you can see from the examples and prices below…

Diamond Carat Total Weight

Buying Diamonds like this is great, as long as you know that the Carat Weights are distributed and maybe even a little deceiving. It’s when you don’t know, that you could get taken (misinformed).

I had a girl come into the store not too long ago, to compare Wedding Sets. She said she saw a “One Carat that sold for $2999“. I asked her if that was “One Carat in the center of the ring, or One Carat Total Weight of the entire set?”

She didn’t know!

How can one shop and compare if they don’t know what they’re shopping and comparing?

This stuff is important and the difference in price could be thousands.

I could show you a Diamond Ring with One Carat Total Weight (50 small Diamonds) that sells for only $799

The bottom line is:

You have to be careful when you price Carats and Carat Total Weights!

If you really want to compare Diamonds and Quality, you’ll have to know what the Carat Weights are of everything involved.

Get the Carat Weight of the Center Diamond first. That’s the most important Carat Weight. Then get the Carat Weight of the side stones. Write them down on a business card for reference later like this:

  • .85 Marquise (GIA Certified), VS1, F
  • .50 CTW Side Diamonds, SI1-SI2, G

With this kind of info, you could compare apples to apples and see who gives you a better deal.

But if you just went to a store and said the Carat Weight was 1.35, then I have a feeling you may be missing out on some Great Diamond Savings!

One Jewelry Store could have a 1/4 Carat in the center of the set and 50 points around it. While the competing store could have 1/2 Carat in the center and 25 points around it. That’s a big difference in looks and price! The rings are the exact same Carat Weight, but one will be much less in price.

Which one is the better deal? The one with the larger Diamond holds more value, but it really depends on what you like and how much you want to spend.

No matter what, compare Carats to Carats and Carat Total Weights with like Carat Weights. It’s the only way to be sure.

CT or CTW?

Look at the tag. All this info should be listed. If not, ask! You need to know this!

Because 80 points is 80 points, but one is more valuable than the other.

Carat Weight or Carat Total Weight?

That TOTAL could be misleading!:)

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Recommended Jewelry Supplies:

Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner Jewelry Steam Cleaner
Complete Jewelry Cleaner Kit Diamond Dazzle Stick
Gold Silver Jewelry Polishing Cloths Jewelry Making Supplies Kit
Gold Acid Test Kit Watch Tool Repair Kit
Ring Adjusters EMT Emergency Ring Cutter
10x Jewelers Loupe Jewelers Microscope

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2 Comments on CT VERSUS CTW

  1. Thank you ,
    You explained simple & perfectly!
    And most of the time they only want to pay you for the band not what’s in the settings !
    Thank you again !

  2. You usually get what you pay for but not always!

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