Carats, Karats, and Carrots
Three words in the title—all pronounced the same. So what’s the difference? I’m here to tell you, guys. The three are completely different and…you don’t want to mix them up. Let’s start with the first.
“Carat” is a measure of gemstone weight. A one carat diamond (1ct) weighs one carat. A 2.35ct diamond weighs 2.35 carats. It’s as simple as that. It’s not about the size of the diamond. It’s all about the weight. Two one carat diamonds can have slightly different dimensions but still weigh the same.
Diamonds weighing less than 1ct are often divided into “points.” One hundred “points” equals one carat. Therefore, a 1/4ct diamond (.25ct) would equal 25pts. A .10ct diamond would equal 10pts.
For those of you into trivia, the origin of the word stems from the carob seed, which was used as a unit of weight in ancient times.
“Karat” with a “K” is a measure of the percentage of gold in fine jewelry and has absolutely nothing to do with the weight of anything. For some obscure, non-decimal, reason decades ago, it was decided that 24 karats would represent 100% gold. 14 karat (14k) gold is 14/24ths gold or about 58%. 18k gold is 75% gold (18/24ths).
Thus, your 14k ring consists of 58% gold and 42% other metals. Why? First of all, gold is a relatively soft metal. Alloying it with other metals strengthens it and makes it more durable and suitable for jewelry.
The Color of Karats
Secondly, adding other metals changes the color of the gold. 14k yellow gold and 14k white gold both contain 58% gold. The difference is in the alloys.
Third—and this is my personal opinion—it’s more “cost effective” to add other, less expensive metals to the mix. Nickel, copper, and zinc—all common alloys—are much cheaper than gold.
14k is most common in America. 18k is more common in Europe. Which is better? 18k usually has more of a goldish color to it. Since it has a higher percentage of gold in it, it’s more expensive—and by extension, more valuable. So which is better? You choose.
“What’s up, Doc?”
“Carrots” may not be as old and as hard as those measurable in carats and karats but they’re definitely less expensive, easier to procure, and won’t crack your teeth. Carrots usually come in bunches, are measured in ounces, and get this: they’re edible and good for you!
So there you have the three carrots!
Jeremy Gold is Calla Gold’s husband and administrator of Calla Gold Jewelry.