February 15

What Is TW Diamond? | Total Carat Weight Explained in Detail!


Author: David Kopelman

TW and CT TW are arguably the most confusing and often misused terms in the world of a diamond. TW diamond means a diamond's “total weight.” Understanding such abbreviations helps you make informed decisions when shopping for diamond jewelry. Learn more about what is TW diamond and other abbreviations such as TDW, CTW, CT, and CW of a diamond in this guide.

Key Takeaways

  • TW diamond is a short form for a diamond's total weight, referring to the total weight of multiple diamonds in a piece of jewelry. 
  • TW and CT TW are the same. They both stand for the total weight of combined stones in a piece of jewelry. 
  • CT (carat), CW (carat weight), and DW (diamond weight) refer to the weight of a single diamond. 
  • Differentiating between carat weight–CW and total carat weight–TW helps a diamond buyer understand price differences.

Certified jewelers have means of getting TW diamond ratings. A piece of jewelry can have many crystals and gemstones, and you may have to count them all. But a jeweler uses TW to measure the total carat weight

What Is TW Diamond?

TW diamond (as used by jewelers and shoppers) is a shorter version denoting the total carat weight of diamond stones in a piece of jewelry. Online engagement rings and diamond jewelry often read "CT TW," an abbreviation for Carat Total Weight (CT TW.).

To determine the combined weight of all the diamonds in a piece of jewelry, sum up the carat weight of individual diamonds. A three-diamond ring can have a center stone and two side stones. If the large central diamond (center stone) weighs 2 CT and the side stones weigh 1 CT each, you'll have a 3 CT TW ring. If a pair of earrings read 2.18 CT TW, the earring is worth a 2.18 CT TW collective weight of the diamond.

Here are the popular abbreviations denoting the weight of the diamond :

Popular Diamond Weight Abbreviations

  • CT- Carat
  • CTW- Carat Weight
  • TW Diamonds- Diamond Total Weight
  • CTS- Carats
  • TDW- Total Diamond’s Weight
  • CT TW- Carat’s Total Weight

Carat Weight 

A carat is a universally recognized unit for measuring the weight of a diamond. One carat equals ⅕ gram, or 0.20 grams (0.007-ounce avoirdupois). Each carat is further subdivided into 100 points, and a single pound will require about 2265 carats. The diameter of a single metric carat gemstone varies according to its cut grade and can range between 5.60 mm to 6.60 mm.

To measure a diamond's weight, you need a precisely balanced scale to detect bite-sized weights. Calibrated and highly accurate digital scale measures carat weights. They can attain an exact weight of a diamond up to the hundredth decimal. 

diamond jewelry and scales

Diamond Size vs Carat Size 

Carat refers more to a diamond's weight than a diamond's size. Most shoppers could use it interchangeably when referring to these aspects, yet they're different. Two diamond rings could look the same yet weigh differently, which is majorly affected by their cutting style. On the other hand, two rings could differ greatly in appearance yet weigh the same. 

A bigger diamond ring doesn't necessarily mean it weighs more.

It all depends on where the majority of the weight sits. A gemstone will have a larger table if most of its weight sits on top or surface. But if the cutter cuts them with more depth, the stone may weigh more but have a smaller table.  

An increase in carat or diamond weight triggers an equivalent price increase. The larger the carat weight gets, the higher the price difference. That's because it's far rarer to find gigantic diamonds than small stones. 

Logically, the price difference increases with size. Ironically, you can purchase two smaller diamonds at a lower price than a larger one of the same weight. That's why savvy buyers opt for smaller diamonds that are well cut and weights less to limit their budget.

Some carat weights (1 and 1.25) are more known and sought after than others, costing more. At any time, the diamond market relies on supply and demand. Well-known diamond measurements have a ready market; therefore, limited supply. Also, value can fluctuate dramatically.

If you're shopping for a diamond wedding ring in the market, understand CT TW and CTW are crucial for a smooth trade.

For example, an engagement ring may only come with a single diamond. Because it's one diamond, its total carat weight (CTW) is the same as its carat weight. However, you may find ring settings with multiple stones, like a three-stone, side stone, or a halo setting, which can be confusing during CTW estimation. 

a person's hand holding a diamond ring

Carat Weight vs Diamond Prices 

Carat weight is one of the 4Cs and the most significant factor in determining diamond pricing. It offers the most objective ground for estimating the actual value of a diamond. Other factors such as diamond color, diamond clarity, or cut that fall under the 4Cs also play a vital role in its value and appearance. They blend and interact to determine the diamond's sparkle and the diamond's price.

Quantity vs Quality 

Jewelry pieces combine the weight of all diamonds or gemstones of different qualities. Additionally, two identical rings can have the same carat total weight (CTW) but not contain the same number of diamonds. For instance, a wedding ring with two large diamonds can weigh the same as one with a large center stone and numerous smaller melee diamonds

A good example is an Eternity ring and a Solitaire ring. An eternity ring (symbolizing never-ending love for spouses) has identically cut and lined up smaller gemstones. On the other hand, a solitaire engagement ring–symbolizing a commitment to marry—has a single large diamond on a golden band. A 2.00 CTW solitaire ring may cost $19,000, while an eternity ring of similar weight can go for $4,000

Marketers may combine smaller side stones to fill up the CTW of a diamond ring, even though they might be negligible. They can also do so to boost the jewelry’s appeal and appearance. When shopping, inspect the size ratio of big diamonds and smaller ones making up the CTW of the ring. Check how the center diamond and smaller side stones impact the overall weight of your engagement ring. 

diamond rings on the dark background


What Is a TW Diamond Ring?

TW (or total carat weight) in a diamond ring is an abbreviation for the ring’s total carat weight, a combined carat weight of all the small diamonds in the ring.

What’s the Difference Between CTTW and Carat?

The difference between CTTW and carat is that the former is the combined weight of diamonds in a piece of jewelry, while the latter is a unit denoting the weight of a single diamond.

Unlike CT, which often depicts the weight of a center stone, CTTW will mainly show the entire weight of all small diamonds in a piece.

Which Diamond Is the Rarest to Find?

The rarest diamond to find is the red diamond, also known as Fancy red. They're also among the most expensive diamonds worldwide and come in shades like brownish-red and orange-red. 

Are Lab Diamonds “real” Diamonds?

No. Lab-made diamonds are not real, natural diamonds because they don't come directly from the earth. They are carbon copies of real diamonds made in controlled environments.

About the Author:

David Kopelman

In every article I write, I share my experience as a GIA Graduated Gemologist so that you learn everything about diamonds and other precious stones.

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