Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold

This page may contain affiliate links.

minute/s reading time

February 10

Diamond Stud Earrings Carat Weight Size Reference Chart.

Reference Carat Weight Brian Gavin Diamonds.

Carat vs Karat. The carat weight of a diamond is expressed in carats. The percentage of gold content in a piece of jewelry is expressed in karats.

Thus when we talk about diamonds and jewelry, you will continually be presented by the challenge of discussing Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold.

This can be a bit confusing when you first start shopping for a diamond engagement ring. Knowing the difference between Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold ensures that the clerk at your local jewelry store takes you seriously.

Diamond Carats are abbreviated as ct or cts. Karat Gold is abbreviated based upon the gold content, such as 10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, or 24k pure gold.

Whereas diamond carat weight is expressed in parts per hundred. Karat Gold is expressed in parts per 1000, but it can be easier to think of it in terms of 24 parts.

Expressing Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold:

The carat weight of a diamond represents the weight of the diamond. Diamond carat weight is expressed in points. A one carat diamond weighs 100 points, just like there are 100 pennies in a dollar.

Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold, BGD Signature Blue.

1-carat Brian Gavin Blue Fluorescent Diamond.

We use special scales developed for the diamond industry to weigh diamonds, they express the carat weight of the diamond in points out to the third digit.

For example, this 1.000 carat, H-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond with medium blue fluorescence weighs 1.000 carats. We could say it is a 100 point diamond. However, the fact of the matter is that somebody in the industry would never say that. We would simply say that it is a one carat diamond.

Diamonds weighing less than one carat are usually described in points. For instance, this 0.928 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows diamond, would be described as a ninety-two pointer.

Some people in the diamond industry would round the carat weight up to ninety three points. You could also just say a ninety pointer.

Ways to Say 1-carat:

Halo Diamond Stud Earrings by James Allen.

Halo Diamond Studs by James Allen.

If you are shopping for a one carat diamond, you would simply say that you are shopping for a one carat diamond. However, if you were shopping for a diamond weighing between 0.90 – 0.99 carats, then you would say that you're looking for a ninety pointer.

Alternatively, you could say that you are shopping for a diamond weighing between 0.90 – 0.99 carats. Whereas if you are shopping for a diamond weighing a bit more than a carat. For example, this 1.10 carat, I-color, VS-1 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round hearts and arrows diamond might be described as a carat-ten diamond.

On the other hand, if you're shopping for diamond earrings, then you describe what you're looking for in terms of the combined total weight.

Carrots vs Carats vs Karats:

No article on diamond carat weight or karat gold would be complete without a bunch of carrots. You had to know that I was going here. Right? Carrots are sold individually or in bunches. Carats of Diamonds are sold in Parcels.

Carrots vs Diamond Carats vs Karat Gold.

Carrots vs Diamond Carats vs Karat Gold.

If you’re buying a large parcel of diamonds, it is referred to as buying a business. If we’re talking about diamonds in a crowded restaurant, we’ll refer to them as puppies. Because I don’t want to be followed home and killed in my sleep.

For example, I might say something like "I recommend you buy this puppy from Brian Gavin, it’s a 1.132 G, VS-1” and leave you to fill in the blanks. Consequently, the word "Puppy” is not a term used by the diamond industry.

It's more of an in-house term that we use to describe diamonds while in public. For example, when we're talking about work over lunch.

So don’t walk into a jewelry store and ask to see some puppies because they might not understand. In fact, the clerk will probably just stare at you with that totally blank look of confusion. Oh wait, they’re probably going to do that anyway.

If you think I’m kidding, read about my experience Secret Shopping Tiffany & Co. But I digress, so let's get back to the differences between Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold.

Diamond Carat Weight Expressed In Points.

While people tend to think of diamond carats in terms of whole numbers, we express them in reference to points. It might also be described in terms of the magic marks:

  • Quarter Carat.
  • Third Carat.
  • Half Carat.
  • Three Quarter Carat.
  • One Carat.

Or carat weight might be expressed as 0.25 / 0.33 / 0.50 / 0.75 / eighty points, ninety points, zero point ninety to ninety nine points, etcetera. The Price Per Carat (PPC) of a diamond changes at those magic marks.

Diamond Price Per Carat:

The price per carat (PPC) of this "zero-nine-two-eight carat” 0.928 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond, is less than the PPC for this "one-oh-two-three carat” 1.023 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond.

Rapaport Diamond Report price list, May 2019

Diamond Prices Per Carat.

There is a substantial increase that occurs between the 0.99 – 1.00 carat marks. There are price increases that occur at different ranges of carat weight, such as between 0.49 – 0.50 carats, 0.69 – 0.70 carats, 0.89 – 0.99 carats, 1.49 – 1.50 carats, and so on.

There are also price differences in the PPC caused by diminishing discounts offered at the wholesale level for volume dealers. The discount off the Price Per Carat for this 1.342 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond ($7,421.00 per carat) will be less than that offered for this 1.082 carat, I-color, VS-2 clarity, Brian Gavin Signature round diamond ($6,943.00 per carat).

That's because the larger diamond is further from the 0.99 – 1.00 carat marks and closer to the 1.49 – 1.50 carat marks. Thus the PPC of diamonds tends to be higher for diamonds that weigh more within a specific range of carat weight.

Such as 1.00 – 1.49 carats. Even though the list price stated on wholesale price guides appears to be the same for that range of carat weight, color, and clarity.

How Diamond Cut Quality Influences Price:

The degree of diamond cut quality also affects the price of a diamond by as much as sixty percent. Let’s say that the wholesale list price of a diamond is 10,000 per carat.

Black by Brian Gavin Diamond Prices.

Black by Brian Gavin H&A Diamond.

If the proportions and overall cut quality of the diamond are poor, then the actual price of the diamond might only be 4,000 per carat. While if the proportions and overall cut quality of the diamond are very good, then it might be 10,000 per carat.

Consequently, the majority of diamonds are only very good in overall cut quality. The price per carat of super ideal cut diamonds is usually higher than the Rap list price. That means that hearts and arrows diamonds cost more than standard ideal cut diamonds.

As they should since it can take up to 4X longer to produce the higher degree of optical precision. The upside is that better optical precision produces more virtual facets within the diamond. In turn, that produces more outward bound sparkle that is more vivid and intense.

Karat Gold Breakdown:

24k Pure Gold is comprised of 24 parts pure gold. The gold has not been mixed with any other alloys. The gold content of jewelry will usually be in the form of 10k, 14k, 18k or 22k gold.

In that case, the gold is mixed with other alloys to make it more durable and to change the color. Gold is commonly mixed with other alloys to change it from yellow to white, pink, or green. Consequently, yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold are the most common types of gold used for jewelry.

  • 24k gold is pure gold. It consists of 24 parts pure gold.
  • 18k gold is 75% gold. 18 parts gold, six parts other alloys.
  • 14k gold is 58.3% gold. 14 parts gold, 10 parts other alloys.
  • 10k gold is 41.6% gold. 10 parts gold, 14 parts other alloys.

European Gold Alloy Stamps:

Units of Karat Gold are expressed differently in Europe. Gold is expressed in terms of purity as parts per thousand. Thus jewelry that is manufactured in Europe is likely to feature a gold content stamp in a numerical format:

  • 1000 (parts per 1000) = Pure Gold.
  • .999 = 99.9% Pure Gold.
  • 916 (parts per 1000) = 22% or 22k gold.
  • 750 (parts per 1000) = 75% or 18k gold.
  • 625 (parts per 1000) = 62.5% or 15k gold.
  • 585 (parts per 1000) = 58.5% or 14k gold.
  • 500 (parts per 1000 = 50% 0r 12k gold.
  • 416 (parts per 1000 = 41.6% or 10k gold.
  • 375 (parts per 1000) = 37.5% or 9k gold.
  • 333 (parts per 1000) = 33.3% or 8k gold.

If you happen to run across a piece of white metal jewelry that is stamped 925 that would be silver jewelry with a silver content of 92.5% which is considered to be sterling silver. Platinum jewelry is also expressed in parts per thousand, it PT, PLAT, PT900, or PT950.

Manufacturer Gold Hallmark Stamps:

James Allen Diamond Engagement Ring Reviews.

James Allen Diamond Engagement Ring Reviews.

Jewelry manufacturers are not required to stamp the alloy content of a piece on the item. However if they do stamp the alloy on the jewelry item, then they are required to stamp the item with their hallmark.

A hallmark is the registered mark or identification of the manufacturer. The idea behind this practice is to prevent "under-karating” which is the practice of stamping a ring or jewelry item with a karat stamp indicating a higher gold content than what was actually used to make the piece.

There was an instance of under-karating investigated in 2002 by a joint task force comprised of Nassau County District Attorney’s office and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee.

Six businesses failed the karat test. They were each issued two violations. One for deceptive practices, and one for unconscionable trade practices per sale. Businesses face fines of up to $2,500 for a first violation.

Then it jumps up to $4,000 for a second violation. And up to $5,000 for each additional violation. That means that for a store where investigators purchased eight items that all failed a karat test, the fines could be as high as $76,500.00

The Stamp Inside the Ring:
Brian Gavin Hallmark Stamp Inside Ring.

Brian Gavin Hallmark Stamp Inside Ring.

This photograph of the Classic Truth Solitaire by Brian Gavin shows their hallmark stamped next to the alloy stamp of PT 950.

Thus when you look on the inside of the ring shank, you know that the ring was manufactured by Brian Gavin. In addition, it's also easy to see that the ring is 950 parts platinum per thousand or 95% pure.

Legitimate jewelry manufactures such as Brian Gavin purchase casting shot produced by companies that specialize in formulating specific alloy mixtures for jewelry production. This ensures that the alloy content of each piece of jewelry produced will be exactly as it is supposed to be.

I hope that this explanation that focuses on the differences between Diamond Carat vs Karat Gold was helpful and that you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to take advantage of my free Diamond Concierge Service if you would like help finding a diamond, or if you have any questions pertaining to jewelry.

About the Author

Todd Gray is the CEO of Gray Matter Development, LLC., DBA Nice Ice Diamonds. He is also a trade consultant and diamond buyer with 35+ years of experience specializing in light performance. Todd also ghostwrites educational content for online ventures and is an avid Freediver.