Karat vs. Carat?
We are going to explore the most common terms and shed some light on what it all means.
What a difference 1 letter makes. Karat and Carat often get mistaken for one another, or even used interchangeably. Both are a scale of measurement, but for totally different applications.
Karat- You have probably heard of 9 Karat, 18 Karat and 24 Karat gold. But what does this exactly mean?
Simply put, Karatage is the term used for the measurement of gold purity in proportion to the other types of metals mixed in during the smelting and jewellery making process. This metal mixture is called an alloy. The other metals can include; silver, palladium, copper, platinum, iron and many more. An alloy mixture can also affect the weight and strength of the gold. In essence, gold is actually a very soft metal compared to titanium, for example. Stronger metals can be added in order to strengthen the gold, increasing its durability and lifespan.
100% pure gold has a ratio of 24:24. This means that 24 parts of gold make up the 24 possible parts of the mixture. As the ratio decreases, the ratio of the other metals increases within the mixture. Karatage is used across all colour types of gold. Yellow, white and rose gold are created by altering the ratio of pure gold to the other metals making up the alloy.
Carat- In contrast, a carat refers to the measurement of precious stones, typically diamonds.
The term carat forms an integral part of stone quality evaluation. 1 carat is the universal weight standard against which all smaller or bigger stones are compared. A stone’s carat value is measured at its finished state, after cutting and polishing. A one carat diamond is equivalent to 200mg or 0.2g. The bigger the stone the higher the carat count, while the smaller the carat, the smaller the stone.
C C C C Explained
Cut- A stone’s cut does not refer to the stone’s finished shape. There are numerous different styles and shapes of stones; princess, cushion, radiant marquise and many others. However, the quality of the cut of a stone takes into account various factors. Such as; how well the facets are cut, producing a much more “sparkly” diamond. Some other factors that affect the quality of cut include the finished stone’s proportion, symmetry, brilliance and polish.
Colour- The colour quality of a stone is actually judged against the lack of colour within the stone’s body and not the colour of the reflections it creates. Colour is graded on a universally recognised scale. The scale is alphabetical starting at D, being colorless, and ranging all the way down to Z, being yellow.
Clarity- Clarity is about either the absence or the degree of blemishes in a stone. The more clear a stone is, the more “sparkly” and better quality rating it has. A stone’s clarity is inspected at a microscopic level in order to truly evaluate its quality. The quality of a stone’s clarity ranges vastly. The highest clarity quality is described as flawless (FL). This means the stone is free from blemishes. This scale ranges down to included (I1, I2, I3). An included grade stone has readily observable blemishes and may affect transparency and brilliance.
Carat- Well, you already know all about carats. The basics to remember are; carat refers to the weight of a finished stone, not to be confused with its physical size.