Variability in the abrasive wear of PCD coatings on cemented WC substrates has been investigated. Six samples of PCD coated carbides were tested in a wear testing rig. The PCD coated element was used to turn an industry standard vitrified bonded corundum grinding wheel. The wear rate was measured as the weight loss of the cutting element per cubic metre of grinding wheel machined during the test. Two grades of cutting elements were observed. One grade had wear rates between 6 and 7.3 g/m³ but of the three poor quality samples, only one valid test was made realising wear rate of ~7,800 g/m³. The microstructures of the samples were studied using SEM, X-ray imaging, neutron diffraction and XRD. SEM images revealed differences in the volume percentage of diamonds in the two grades and the XRD scans highlighted the variable distribution of the diamond phase in the coating. Estimates of the residual stresses in a good and poor quality samples indicated significantly higher compressive stresses in the good quality versus poor quality coating. These results have revealed two extremes in the wear rates of these PCD coated carbides. It is suggested that the difference in diamond content between the two grades is not sufficient to account for the 3 orders-of-magnitude difference in the observed wear rates. However, the presence of intrusive veins of carbide material in the coatings, especially around the curved cutting tip, suggested that the macroscopic defects observed in the x-ray and SEM images were the major cause of the high wear rates in the poor quality sample.