A lot of people write in asking me what the numbers inside their ring mean.
Usually they appear inside the bottom part of the band (also called the shank).
The numbers will actually be stamped, etched or engraved inside the ring and look similar to the one in the photo.
What do the numbers mean?
The numbers mean “carat weight“. It’s the carat weight of the diamond(s) in your ring.
If you have a diamond solitaire and you see .50 stamped inside the ring, that means the diamond is 1/2 carat.
.97 (like the ring in the photo) means that the diamond is 97 points, or just under one full carat (which is 100 points or 1.00 carat).
These numbers should match the carat weight listed on your receipt, certificate or appraisal.
Numbers can be confusing:
I’ve seen carat weight stamps inside a ring that was for the carat weight of the center stone alone… But, I’ve also seen stamps inside the ring that was the total carat weight of the entire ring (meaning you have more than one diamond in your ring).
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what the carat weight stamp is referring to.
After all, jewelers never stamp CW (carat weight) or CTW (carat total weight) inside the ring (at least that I’ve ever seen).
So it can be a quite a guessing game. Jewelers can always get out a mm gauge to double check what the weight is, or remove the stone from the mounting and officially weight it if there are any doubts.
Who stamps the rings?
Some large corporate jewelers stamp carat weights inside the ring, and maybe some designers do as well. I’ve never seen any independent jewelers do this, but that doesn’t mean they don’t.
Why do they stamp the rings?
They stamp the rings for a variety of reasons.
Let’s take a closer look…
When jewelers have to set 10 diamonds into 10 different rings, it can get pretty confusing in the shop keeping them straight.
Stamping the numbers inside the shank keeps the right diamond with the right paperwork and makes identifying the stone and tracking it much easier.
Policies like diamond guarantees…
When a customer brings their diamond ring in for a cleaning and inspection, the salesperson can quickly look at the ring and verifies that the diamond matches the diamond guarantee. It makes checking the ring and diamond a breeze.
It protects the jewelry stores.
When thieves come into the store (posing as regular customers), they try to switch diamond rings with the salespeople. They actually have a replica made with a fake diamond in it (like a CZ) that gets handed back to the salesperson (after they pretend to look at it), and then the real diamond ring gets palmed and dropped into a pocket.
Stamping exact carat weights inside a ring can help prevent this. A salesperson can quickly look inside the shank when they get the ring back and see the carat stamp and know that it’s their ring.
It really is a win-win situation.
Carat weight stamps should not be confused with karat stamps, which also appear inside the ring.
Every ring has a karat stamp in it, like 14k (which is the gold content like the ring in the photo), 18k or even Plat (for platinum).
Not every ring has a carat weight stamp, but they will all have a karat stamp (at least the rings sold in the USA).
Carat weight stamps are actually pretty rare. Only a few certain jewelers do this, so you may never even see one.
Losing your number stamps:
You may have a stamp inside your ring, but when you get your ring sized, that stamp could disappear.
Because the process of sizing a ring, cutting out a section of gold and fusing and filing it back together again, can actually cut that stamp out.
This happens with karat weight stamps as well, but jewelers usually put those back in.
Best way to identify your stone:
The best way to identify your stone isn’t by this carat weight stamp…
It’s by certification! After all, someone could put a different diamond in that ring and that carat weight stamp would be useless. Certification is a different story…
Certification and laser inscription to be exact!
Certification numbers (like a GIA certificate) get etched directly onto the diamond (right on the girdle).
That’s the best way to identify your diamond. You can look at those numbers under a microscope or a 10x jeweler’s loupe and know it’s your stone. It not only is the best way to identify your diamond, but it’s the best way to prevent diamond switching.
Stamp or no stamp… Get your stone certified. Those are the important numbers. :)
Also read my latest post: What are the marks stamped inside rings?