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Karat vs. Carat - What's the Difference?

Karat vs. Carat - What's the Difference?

In the world of jewellery, the terms "carat" and "karat" can be confusing because they sound the same. And to make things a little more challenging, in some countries around the world, they are used and spelled interchangeably. But it’s important to note that they have different meanings and usage in North America:


Carat is a unit of measurement used to weigh gemstones, such as diamonds. It tells you how much a gemstone weighs. The carat weight is denoted by "ct." For example, you might see a diamond described as 1 carat, 2 carats, etc. The higher the carat weight, the larger and more valuable the gemstone is considered.


Karat, on the other hand, is a measurement of the purity of gold used in jewellery. It tells you how much gold is present in a piece of jewellery. The karat value is represented by the letter "k" or "kt." For instance, ATTIC’s collection is made in 14K gold or 18k gold. The higher the karat, the higher the percentage of pure gold in the item. So, 24k gold is considered pure gold, while lower karat values indicate a higher proportion of other metals mixed with gold.

To remember the difference easily, think of "karat" with a K as referring to the purity of gold, as in “24K”. Meanwhile “carat” with a C relates to the weight of gemstones, and is one of the “4 C’s” of diamonds.