| The Finest Jewelry and Gemstone Center

What is the difference between a karat and a carat?

Diamonds and gold: carat is for diamonds, karat is for gold | Photo: Shutterstock

When buying or selling jewelry, we are often confronted with two very common expressions: karat and carat. Let’s learn what they really mean.

Karats and carats are two different units of measurement. They are widely confused and sometimes mistakenly distinguished as British and American spellings.

A carat is a unit of weight used for measuring gemstones, i.e., diamonds, emeralds, pearls, etc.

One carat equals 200 milligrams (0.2 grams and 0.007055 ounces), and it is also known as a metric carat. The universal standard was adopted in 1907.

Carat is also one of the Four C’s of diamonds. A paragon is a perfect, flawless 100-carat diamond.

The word karat is obviously a variant of the term carat. However, today, it means something entirely different.

Karat is not associated with weight but with fineness. A karat is a unit of purity when referring to gold.

So, when you find the inscription 24-karat on a jewelry store display case, you’ll know it’s pure gold (99.95 percent gold).

Gold jewelry is usually a blend of precious metal and other elements and materials. 18-karat gold is 75 percent gold, 14-karat gold is 58.5 percent gold, and 10-carat gold is 41.7 percent gold.

24-karat gold jewelry is rare because pure gold is extremely soft. It may not necessarily always be the right choice, as it can easily break, bend or scratch.

Adding metal alloys such as copper, nickel, zinc, indium, aluminum, silver, palladium, and rhodium will improve the piece’s durability but, depending on the percentage of use, may decrease the jewelry piece’s value.

The Gold Karat Chart

24 karats = 99.95% gold
23.76 karats = 99% gold
22 karats = 91.6% gold
20 karats = 83.6% gold
19.2 karats = 80% gold
18 karats = 75% gold
15 karats = 62.5% gold
14 karats = 58.3% gold
12 karats = 50% gold
10 karats = 41.7% gold
9 karats = 37.5% gold
8 karats = 33.3% gold


Related Articles