The size (and thus weight) of a diamond, is an important factor in determining its value.
Diamond weights are most often measured in carats (abbreviation: ct), where 1 carat is 200 milligrams - that is to say 0.2 g or 0.007055 oz. The word "carat" derives from the Italian word "carato", which in turn derives from the Greek "keátion", which refers to the carob seed, the fruit of the carob tree, Ceratonia siliqua. These seeds were used in classical times as unit of mass, in part because many people believed that the seeds had unusual variability in mass (this actually turns out to be incorrect).
Carats have long been used for weighting gold, but since the 1570s have also been used to measure the weights of diamonds. However, because of the unit's origins, historically each country had its own standard carat - it is only since 1907, and the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures, that the internal standard carat of 200 mg was adopted.
As well as carat, other units that are sometimes used in measuring diamonds are grains (historically based on the weight of barley, rice, or other cereal, grains, but today defined as ¼ carat, that is 50mg), and points (one hundredth a carat, namely 2 mg). Thus, for example a diamond that weighed 1&frac; carats, might be be refered to as being 6 grains, or 150 points.
An important thing to be aware of when buying diamond jewelry, is that pieces that contain several diamonds typically will be labelled with their CTW (Carat Total Weight), which is the combined weight of all the diamonds in the piece - so, of course, each individual stone will likely weight considerably less.
Typically diamonds that most people might buy in a jewelry store are just a few carats in weight, and sometimes less than 1 carat, but there are of course much larger diamonds, including many famous diamonds. The largest and most perfect diamonds are known as "paragons" - to qualify as a paragon, the diamond must be over 100 carats in weight and be without flaws or inclusions (another mineral trapped within the diamond during its formation). The largest paragon diamond is in fact named "The Paragon" and weights 137.82 carats.
Here is a conversion weight between carats, milligrams, points, and grains:
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