Total Diamond Carat Weight Simplified

Total Diamond Carat Weight Simplified


When buying a multi-stone diamond ring, necklace or bracelet, you will often come across the term “total diamond carat weight”, which refers to the total weight of carats in a piece of jewelry. But what exactly does this mean and how should it influence your buying decisions? Keep reading to find out what this term means in easy to understand terms from our team of experts.

What is Total Diamond Carat Weight?

First off, a “carat” refers to the weight of a diamond or other type of stone and comes from the ancient Greek who used carob beans as weight measurements. Today, carat weight is recognized around the world as the standard in the jewelry industry. Wherever you go in the world in search of a one carat diamond ring, you will be able to find the same weight of stone. Often times people mistakenly confuse the carat weight with the size of the stone when ultimately, the measurement for a diamond or other gemstone is by weight and not visual size. However, there are some general ways a particular carat weight looks like and this explains the confusion. Here is a diamond carat weight chart to help explain this concept:


Total diamond carat weight is only used when there are multiple stones. For instance, if you have a three stone diamond ring, the total diamond carat weight would be the sum of all the diamonds in the ring. If the center stone is one carat and the side stones are .25 carats each, the total diamond carat weight would be 1.50 carats. It gets a little more tricky to tell when there are dozens or even hundreds of tiny micro pave diamonds in a setting, and hopefully the jeweler is reputable and provides the correct carat weight when selling a piece of jewelry.

Issues Surrounding Total Diamond Carat Weight and Several Stones

One needs to be a savvy shopper if considering an engagement ring, for instance, that has a lot of tiny stones involved. First, the ring may boast a 1.25 total diamond carat weight without having a 1.25 carat center stone. Instead, the center stone could be a mere .50 carats (or less) and have the remainder of the carat weight divided up into tiny pinpoint stones making it less dramatic. This is a very inexpensive way for jewelers to make their rings sound as if they are selling incredibly large carat weights when in reality, the center stone is small and the surrounding stones are inexpensive, lower quality diamonds. In other words, this is a great way to use up inexpensive stones and still charge for a high total carat weight. Be very cautious and ensure that you inspect the rings certification to look at the quality of the diamonds or other gemstones “Four C’s” and do not pay more than you should, as this style of ring should be significantly less than solitaires or three stone rings. Another thing to note is that the smaller center stone may look overwhelmed by all of the surrounding stones which could detract from the feature stone.

Here are some examples of multi-stone rings with large carat weights, but small center stones:

How to Get the Most Total Diamond Carat Weight for Your Money

Here are a few tips and tricks of the trade to help you get the most bang for your buck and hopefully save big:

1. Opt for a unique stone like a pear, oval or marquise. The long length will make a relatively smaller center stone look larger because it has more surface area and the shape makes the stone look larger. A square princess stone that is only .50 carats will look smaller than a marquise stone of the same carat weight.

2. Choose your setting strategically. In order to give the most attention to your stone and make it really “pop”, go for a high set 4 prong setting or a tension setting. The more of the diamond you can show off, the better and larger it will look.

3. Utilize multiple stones. You can really make a ring look larger by choosing a setting with side stones or multiple stones surrounding the center stone (i.e. a halo setting). This will bring more attention to your hand and ring and give the illusion of a much larger piece of jewelry. Be sure to take a look at it carefully to ensure the side stones do not take away from the center stone, which should always be the focal point.

Summing it Up: Total Diamond Carat Weight

At the end of the day, everyone needs to understand the concept of total diamond carat weight in order to get the best value for the money and be an informed shopper. Understanding how carat weight influences cost and appearance can help you make the best decision for  your next jewelry purchase—and hopefully save some money in the meantime!


Leave a Comment