Difference Between Carats & Karats

So you’re checking out jewelries and you see etched on the ring band or the clasp of the bracelet and necklace, 18k. As you talk to the store assistant, she mentions that the ring you were just checking out is actually a good buy, having a bargain price for such a precious piece at five carats.

You may start to get confused. Karat and Carat, what gives?

What’s the difference between Carats & Karats anyway?


Karat is actually a term used to denote the amount of gold content in a piece of jewelry. Gold being a soft element in its purest form, jewelry manufacturers add hard alloys like zinc, nickel and silver to make the gold a bit tougher, particularly for rings.

Usual karats for gold pieces are ten karats and eighteen karats. A ten-karat jewelry contains just under half of gold which means it has more alloy content, while an eighteen-karat jewelry has at least 75% gold in it.

It goes without saying that a ten-karat gold jewelry is cheaper than an eighteen-karat gold piece, unless there is a significant difference between the carats of the stones included in the jewelry, with the 10k piece having more carats than the 18k jewelry.


Carats on the other hand, refer to the weight of the gemstone in the jewelry. You will often hear this term in reference to the size of a diamond on jewelry pieces, particularly diamond engagement rings.

When buying jewelry pieces with precious stones, the carat oftentimes determines the selling price of the jewelry, more than the karat content of the pieces. If you are looking at a one-carat diamond, your diamond weighs approximately two hundred milligrams.

Now, if you are looking for something bigger, like a five-carat stone, your stone would weigh approximately 1 gram.

Important Note When Buying Jewelry

If you are more concerned about looking for jewelry pieces that has precious stones in them, especially diamonds; size isn’t all that matters. Sometimes, smaller stones actually look more elegant.

What you want to check out is the quality of the stone, more than the carat. Look for a smooth, well-cut gemstone. Also check that it has the right color. Sometimes, fake stones are put in jewelries and a few sellers pass these on as the real thing.

It is therefore important that you know the right color quality of the stones you are buying to help you determine if it is the real deal or not.

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