Karat vs Carat: Decoding your Jewelry

Karat vs Carat: Decoding your Jewelry

Shopping for Diamond rings can be a minefield. Carat, karats, millimeters, and grams. Jewelry can come in so many different types of measurements! You’ll want to know your carats from your karats to make sure you’re making the right purchase.

Karat vs. Carat: What’s the difference?

Today we’re going to tackle two of the most common (and often confused) terms. Whether you’re looking for the perfect engagement ring or just adding to your jewelry collection, knowing the difference between carat and karat will come in handy!

When you’re shopping for jewelry you’ll come across a plethora of different measurements. While carat and karat may look and sound similar, they refer to two very different things. What is a carat you ask? Carat is a term for Diamonds or gemstones that describes their weight. You will often see carat abbreviated ct or cttw for total carat weight when referencing multiple stones.

If carats describe diamonds and gemstones, what is a karat? Karat refers to gold and its purity. Pure gold is 24k. 18k and 14k gold also contain gold, but at a lower percentage, 75% and 58% respectively. Now that you know the difference between karat vs carat, let’s learn more.

“Jewelry is like the perfect spice - it always compliments what’s already there.”
- Diane Von Furstenberg -

Everything you Need to Know about Karats and Gold

9k, 14k, 18k, and in all the colors of the rainbow. You’ll frequently come across karat when on the hunt for gold jewelry. But what does it mean? Karat is a universal term used to describe the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24k, but this gold is too soft to make jewelry. Gold is mixed with other metals to create alloys that are stronger, more durable, and more structurally sound for use in jewelry.

The most common types of gold you will find are 18k (75% gold) and 14k (58% gold). All gold jewelry is hallmarked so look out for 14k or 18k stamped on the back of your jewelry. The more gold, the softer the alloy, so most people opt for jewelry in lower karats to increase its durability. If you have an active lifestyle or are rough with your jewelry this may be something to keep in mind.

The combination of metals in gold alloys can also change their color. Pure 24k gold is a warm, rich yellow color, but even within the same gold colors, you can see a difference in hue. As karats decrease, so will the strength of the yellow coloring. 18k gold will have a more vibrant hue than 14k or 9k gold. This same principle also applies to colored golds.

Today, gold can be made in almost any color. Yellow, white, and rose are the most commonly used in gold jewelry, but gold can also come in other exotic shades like green, blue or black. This bouquet of gold tones is made by mixing different metals to create colored alloys. Copper is added to give rose gold its pink color, while white gold is made with a combination of silver, palladium, or rhodium. The more copper in rose gold alloy, the redder the hue of the metal.

Everything you Need to Know about Carats and Diamonds

The term carat originates from gem traders of the past. At a time when the only way to weigh something was with a balance scale, traders believed that carob seeds had such uniform weight that they made perfect unit weights. The carob or locust tree grows in the Mediterranean and has fruit pods that contain multiple seeds weighing 0.20g on average. But what is a carat today?

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number of carats in a diamond.”
- Mae West -

Today, the carat is the globally recognized unit of measurement for diamonds and gemstones. From Amethysts to Opals and everything in between, all gemstones are measured in carats. No matter what corner of the world you travel to, a carat will weigh the same: 0.20g. That means that a 5ct diamond would weigh 1g.

That’s one big stone! But with bigger carat weight comes a bigger price tag. It’s important to remember that a carat is a measure of weight, not size. While larger carat stones may weigh more, make sure to check the millimeter measurement for an accurate stone size.

Now that you know your karats from your carats you’ll be sure to find the right jewelry for you at Moon Magic. Carat or karat, rose or white, gemstones or Diamonds, at Moon Magic, we have authentic gemstone jewelry that’s perfect for you!

Want to learn more about gemstones and how best to take care of your jewelry? Check out our guides to How to Clean Jewelry at Home and Birthstones by Month.