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Carats vs Karats Explained

Jewelry-speak can make someone feel like an outsider if they don’t know the lingo, and when it is your day-to-day world, it is easy to forget that others don’t know what you are talking about! One of the most confusing verbiage is when someone hears both carats and karats because they sound the same but mean two different things! I don’t know who decided that was a good idea, but I’m here to explain.


Carats with a c is a unit of weight measurement. It does not directly mean the size/dimensions of a diamond or gemstone but refers to how much it weighs. A heavier carat will produce a larger size/dimension of a gemstone, but that is not what carat measures. In fact, one carat weighs a fifth of a gram!



Karats with a k is the unit of measurement used to denote how much pure gold is in the metal mix.

· 10kt is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metals, or 41.7% pure gold

· 14kt is 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metals, or 58.5% pure gold

· 18kt is 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metals, or 75% pure gold

· 24kt is pure gold (not very practical for jewelry wearing!)


When all quality and gemstone factors are equal, a 10kt gold ring will be significantly less than an 18kt gold ring. The price is directly related to the amount of pure gold content. The metal color will be different as well. The higher the gold content, the richer and robust the gold color will be!


Both carat and karat are derived from a Greek word that refers to the carob bean which is what ancients used to compare weight of a gemstone and metal to. It was decided to call gemstone weight carat with a c and metal fineness karat with a k making it clear as mud!

Do you have any questions about jewelry? I’d love to help you! Angela Cisneros Jewelry Concierge brings back the joy and confidence of jewelry shopping, so that you can celebrate with ease! My by-appointment approach means:

  • One-on-one appointments (personal attention and no crowds!)

  • Discretion and privacy (surprises remain surprises!)

  • Expert help from a Graduate Gemologist with 25 years of experience (yep, that’s me!)

Book your FREE appointment with me today! www.angelacisneros.com/book-appointment

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