What Do You Mean by Carat When Understanding Gold Quality?

Karat is the ratio of gold to other metals in a gold alloy. Often spelled as "Carat" outside North America, it is the measurement of the purity of gold.

The British first used the word "Karat" in the mid-15th century. It comes from the word "Carat" (in French), further derived from the word "Carato" (in Italian). "Carato" is perhaps formed from the Arabic "qīrāṭ," which originated from the Greek "kerátion" (referring to Carob seeds). Greeks and Romans treated it as a unit of weight, although not to measure gold.

The coin Solidus, minted by the Roman Emperor Constantine I, was used to measure gold and equaled 24 silver siliqua coins in value. The term "siliqua graeca" denoted the measurement originating from the use of carob seeds. Hence, the Roman siliqua equaled 24 Greco-Roman carats. Since then, Karat has been associated with the number 24, where 24 Karats denote the highest purity.

The more the number of Karats of gold in a piece of jewelry, the greater the content of gold and the lower the proportion of other metals. Here's a look at how to determine the quality of gold by the number of Karats when you buy diamond or gemstone jewelry online.


How to Calculate Gold Content in a Product?

Check the number of Karats stamped on the product to calculate its gold content. You may find it written as "xxKt" or "xxK." Here, "xx" is the number of Karats of gold on a scale of 0 to 24, while "Kt" or "K" refers to Karats.

To calculate the percentage of gold in a product, just divide the "xx" by 24 and multiply the result by 100. Accordingly, you get the following percentages of the purity of gold as per the numbers of Karats.

Number of Karats (K) Parts of Gold % Purity of Gold
9K 9/24 37.5
10K 10/24 41.7
12K 12/24 50
14K 14/24 58.3
18K 18/24 75
22K 22/24 91.7
24K 24/24 99.9

How to Decide on the Quality of Gold in a Product?

Pure gold is soft and highly malleable. It tends to bend and change shape very easily. Other metals are therefore added to it to:

  • Increase its strength and durability
  • Enhance its color (especially, in gold jewelry)

Although 24K is the purest form of gold, it is also the least durable. Hence, it is rarely used in jewelry.

When you look for a piece of jewelry with high-quality gold, first decide whether you want high durability or purity. Durability is inversely proportional to the gold content. In the case of ornaments like diamond jewelry in gold, you'd want more durability so the metal is strong enough to hold the weight of the diamond(s). Durable jewelry also remains undamaged with daily use.

On the other hand, highly pure gold is very expensive. Plus, as gold's purity increases, the pieces may appear more yellowish, and the options of shades may become limited. So, just apply the "less is more" formula when buying gold jewelry to ensure that it lasts long and looks great.

Alloys of Gold Used in Jewelry

Yellow gold: This is a combination of pure gold with metals like copper and zinc. The color of this alloy has an outright royal appeal and perfectly complements warm skin tones.

Diamond Pendant with Yellow Gold

White gold: A white metal like nickel, manganese, or palladium is added to pure gold to make this beautiful alloy that exudes sophistication. The white color of this metal looks great on cool skin tones. If the look of platinum impresses you but you're on a budget, white gold is the best choice.

Diamond Ring with White & Rose Gold

Rose gold: Also called pink gold or red gold, this is an alloy of pure gold and copper. This alloy has a lovely blush color that suits both cool and warm skin tones.

Diamond Ring with Rose Gold

To buy diamond or gemstone jewelry in gold, you can explore a plethora of designs online in the above types of gold. You may find something breathtaking like a marvelous rose gold diamond ring for yourself or a stunning white and rose gold promise ring for your beloved. Check out the gorgeous yellow gold diamond pendant or glowing white gold amethyst heart earrings for the perfect gift for a special occasion.

Our gold jewelry is hallmarked to prove the authenticity of each piece. If you buy gold jewelry with diamonds or gemstones online at Jewelili, you also get a certificate of authenticity for the gems. Plus, you get attractive discounts, competitive prices, free shipping, and easy 30-day returns. So, go ahead and explore our exclusive collection of diamond jewelry in gold (and sterling silver) and pick your favorite!