With gold jewelry, came across the word “KARAT” that describes the quality of the metal. The higher the karat, the more valuable it will be. But what a karat is?

In this article, you’ll learn about karats and their meaning.

What is Karat?

Karat is the unit of measurement of the gold quality. The quality of a gold piece denotes the weight of metal that it encompasses in proportion to the overall weight, including metal alloys and other impurities.

Gold is measured in karats. With gold, a karat is measured per 24 parts of whole. Therefore, pure gold without any metal impurity is considered the highest possible karat, 24 karats (24K) gold. Even while being more valuable, pure gold is hardly used to make jewelry pieces because of its softness, flexibility, and tendency to scrape and scratch. Therefore, it is usually mixed with base metal impurities to make it durable and perfect for jewelry.


Which karat is the best?

Pure gold is most often blended with silver or zinc or copper, or palladium, to create different colors of gold such as white gold, rose gold and a different number of karats. Traditionally, gold jewelry manufacturer uses gold at 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K or 10K.

Below is a chart that explains the conversion figures of gold from percentages and decimals to karats.

Number of KaratsFraction of Gold% of Gold Purity

Higher Karat Mean Higher Quality Gold?

No. As mentioned above, 24K is pure gold, but it does not mean its quality is higher. It indicates that the quantity of gold is more, and therefore its value is higher. But 24K gold is seldomly used by jewelry manufacturers, as pure gold is soft and malleable. Gold that is mixed with more alloys is durable & robust. That is why it is preferable for jewelry making.

In jewelry-making, 18K is the most common karat. The above statement indicates that 18 out of 24 (3/4) parts of the jewelry are pure gold. The rest of the amount i.e., one quarter, is made of alloys, making the jewelry more durable, perfect for everyday wear, and slightly cheaper.


How can you tell if gold is real?

There are different ways to find out if gold is real. Generally, any genuine gold piece will have a hallmark stamped stating the quantity of pure gold it contains. The stamp is usually engraved on the clasp of a neckpiece or bangle, or the ring’s inner band.

There is one easy test that anyone can perform at home to check if gold is real. Gold is a heavy metal, and therefore, it sinks quickly. Drop your gold jewelry in water. If the jewelry piece floats than it is likely to be fake gold.