Understanding Gold: What is a Karat?

A lot of people wonder what a karat of gold means. Gold, in its purest form, is called a karat, and when you hear the word karat, it refers to the purity of the gold you buy. Gold purity is measured by the amount of gold in any piece of jewelry using a 24-part scale or karats.

Seeing a 24-karat gold ring means that the entire ring is pure gold and nothing else. You can also find jewelers that use karat to describe the parts of a gold alloy or parts of pure gold when combined with other metals like platinum and palladium.

Today we will find out precisely what a gold Karat is, how it’s different from a Carat of gold, and how you can make better choices when picking jewelry once you understand gold better.

Let’s get started!

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What is the Difference Between a Karat and a Carat?

Karats and carats are entirely different, and if you’re getting ready to shop for wedding rings, you will need to understand the differences. Understanding the difference between 18-karat and 24-karat gold is also extremely important.  

The weight standard, that is globally recognized, of a gemstone or diamond is called a diamond carat (ct), and one carat weighs .20 grams.

A Karat, as mentioned above, measures the purity of gold based on the 24-part scale. For example, if you have a gold piece of jewelry that is 12-karat gold, you know that only half of the gold jewelry is real gold and the other half is made from base metal.


what is a carat?


What You Need To Know About A Carat

Everyone is price-conscious, so when looking at jewelry, you will notice that higher-carat rings will command a higher price. The price significantly increases as the size of the carat increases. 

Many people believe that the carat's size refers to the diamond's size, but this isn’t true. The carat relates to the diamond’s weight. When measuring a diamond’s size, the standard unit uses the diameter of the stone in millimeters. 

You must determine what is most important to you or your significant other because the carat is only one part of choosing the right diamond. Other factors include the clarity, the cut, and the color of the diamond. These factors ultimately determine your budget and how much you want to spend.

For example, if you are someone who wants a larger carat, you will be inclined to get a diamond with a higher color grade because that color will be more noticeable. You will also want to find a higher clarity grade if you want a bright, clear diamond.

There are thousands of engagement rings to choose from, but it seems that the 1-carat size is the most popular and sought after because you can’t see much difference between diamonds when their carats only vary from 5 to 10 percent in weight.

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what is 24k gold mean?


What You Need To Know About A Karat


People with a good eye and knowledge about gold can usually tell a 24-karat ring when they see it by the bright yellow color of the gold. But at the same time, most jewelry is mixed with other metals to strengthen the piece. As imagined, the more metal mixed with the gold, the lower the karat becomes. 

Pure Gold

As mentioned above, pure gold simply means that the gold is not mixed with any other base metals such as silver or palladium for example. You can also refer to pure gold as 24 Karat Gold.

Gold Mixed with Base Metals 

Pure gold is typically very soft, so most jewelers will purposely mix it with other metals to create a stronger piece of jewelry to make it better suited for everyday wear.

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Higher Karat means a greater percentage of gold

The higher the karat of gold, the more gold is in the piece of jewelry that you’re buying. For example, an 18K gold ring is made from 75% gold, and a 9K gold ring contains about 50 percent of that gold.

Lower Karat Gold Has More Durability

Not only do different karat levels change the color of gold, but they can also impact the durability of gold. As previously mentioned, pure gold is soft. As a result, lower karats are more common. Nonetheless, a piece of jewelry that’s 14-karat gold will be stronger than one that’s 18-karat gold.

As jewelers make different gold pieces with different karats, it can change the color of the piece. Still, more importantly, they mainly add other base metals to improve the durability of the jewelry they are making.

What about White Gold?

White gold is popular everywhere because of its price point and gorgeous look. White gold looks white because it's made from other white metals such as palladium and silver that have been mixed with pure gold. 

The trick to creating white gold is rhodium-plating. This technique allows white gold to shine super bright and creates a “whiter than white” look. 

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Caring for your White Gold Jewelry

Over time, rhodium-plated jewelry will wear down and show its true color. How long it takes for true color to come through depends on how often you wear it. If this happens, you can take it down to a local jeweler, and they can redo the rhodium plating for you.

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So Which Karat Should You Choose?

We hope that this information on gold karats has helped you understand what a karat of gold is, the differences between a karat and a carat, and how they will affect the prices of the gold jewelry you buy.

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