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Diamond Weight

How Diamond Weight is Measured

Even if you're not all that knowledgable about diamonds, you probably well know that diamonds weight is measured in carats. But there are two ways that diamond weight is measured:

  • in carat and
  • grains of rice.

Here's some information about the origins of these measures and what they actually mean.

Diamond Weight in Carats

Diamonds are measured in Carat Weight. One carat weighs 200 milligrams. If a diamond is referred to as four grains, this also means that it is a one carat diamond. This refers to diamond weight measured in rice - see the chapter below.

Did you know that the word Carat comes from the word carob? A carob is a bean (legume) that grows on a tree in the Mediterranean region. In times past, if a diamond weighed the same as a carob bean, it was one carob, or one carat.

Ripe carob bean pods
Carob beans were originally used to measure weight of a diamond.
(When ripe and dry, these legumes taste like a cocoa or chocolate.)

Weight of a Diamond in Rice

However, in the far east, where Carob trees do not grow, rice was used to measure the weight of a diamond. If a diamond weighed as much as four grains of rice, it was four grains – or one carat as we know it to be now. The majority of diamond purchases are for diamonds that are 1/3 of a carat.

Grains of rice
In the Far East, abundate in rice, it was rice grains
that were used for measuring diamond weight.

Carat Total Weight

Beware when shopping for diamonds that are already set or mounted. If more than one diamond is used in the piece, the tag on the jewelry will give the CTW or Carat Total Weight – it does not tell you the carat weight of each stone in the piece. You need to ask the jeweler for the total carat weight of the largest diamond in the piece to truly understand what you are buying.

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