What is a gold carat? Or is it a karat ?
A measure of gold purity.
In jewelry, the term Carat or Karat has a double meaning: a carat is used as a measurement of weight for gemstones with
one carat weighing 1/5 gram.
Carat is also used in countries around the world to indicate the amount of pure gold in
a piece of jewelry.
In the US, however, when the word is used to indicate gold content rather than gemstone weight,
it is spelled with a K hence Karat to avoid confusion.
Jewelry should always be marked to indicate how much pure gold
Understanding the concept of gold carat/karat when applied to gold:
One karat is 1/24 pure, so 24 karat is pure gold. In other words 24 karat would be 100% gold or pure gold.
In 18 karat gold jewelry, there are 18 parts of pure gold and 6 of another metal (18/24 = ¾ = 75% pure gold).
In some cultures, 24 karat gold jewelry is required for certain jewelry pieces but its generally agreed that 24 karat
gold is too soft for jewelry use.
In some parts of the world, 18 karat is preferred because of its brighter yellow
color and it is considered purer and more precious.
In the US, 14 karat or 18 karat gold is preferred because it
is more durable.
In Europe, the percentage of pure is indicated by a number representing how many parts out of a total of 1,000 parts
of pure gold.
One thousand parts is equivalent to 24 karat. 18 karat would represent 750/1,000 = ¾ = 75%.
To be called Gold what is the minimum gold content ?
Many countries have established minimum standards that must be met for items to legally called gold.
In the US to be
classified as gold, the item must be at least 10K; in England and Canada, 9K; in Italy,France and Spain 18K.
Click here to see the table indicating the different gold markings around the world.
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