Exploring the World of Karats vs. Carats: What’s the Difference?

Fine jewelry has the power to captivate, inspire, and bring joy. It’s not just a decorative accessory – its beauty is timeless and significance immeasurable; a prized symbol of status, prosperity, and love that people can pass down from generation to generation.

If you too adore exquisite jewelry, understanding what sets karats and carats apart is essential for growing a high-value collection. Together, let’s dive deep into their glamorous world of karats vs. carats to ensure your happiness and satisfaction with each new purchase.

What Is the Difference Between Karat and Carat? 

One is a weight measurement, and the other is a measurement of purity. One is associated with semi-precious gemstones, and the other with precious metals. A higher number of either metric can equal greater quality, but also a steeper cost.

What Does Karat Mean?

In its purest form, gold is 24 karats (24K), meaning all 24 parts of the metal are gold without any impurities. Though renowned for its beautiful, luminous hue and high value, 24K pure gold alone is unsuitable for crafting jewelry in many Western countries. Due to its softness; this precious metal requires reinforcing alloys to increase strength and durability. Regardless, 24K jewelry is incredibly popular throughout Asia, including in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

As for lower-karat gold jewelry, 14 karat (14K) contains 58% gold and 42% alloy mixture (usually copper and silver), while 10 karat (10K) contains 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy mixture. The higher the karat, the higher the gold content.

What Does Carat Mean?

Carat is a unit of measurement used to determine the weight of a diamond and other gemstones. One carat is equal to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams, according to the GIA. Carats are also divided into points, with each point being one-hundredth of a carat (0.01 ct). For instance, if a gemstone weighs 3 carats and 50 points, an expert would express it as 3.50 ct.

Why Should You Know the Difference?

When shopping for jewelry, knowing the difference between carat and karat can help you make an informed decision about which piece best meets your needs. By understanding karats, you can purchase jewelry that contains your ideal amount of gold. On the other hand, learning about carats allows you to gauge how much diamonds and other gemstones weigh and cost.

With both karat and carat knowledge at your disposal, you can shop for jewelry with so much confidence that exploitative sellers would be scared to overcharge you.

How Do You Check the Purity of Gold?

While maker’s marks or hallmarks are good indicators of gold jewelry’s purity, keep in mind that they are easy to replicate or counterfeit.

Buying jewelry from established brands and secondhand marketplaces is always recommended for those looking to guarantee their jewels’ legitimacy and purity. However, if you are considering buying from a lesser-known vendor, ensure they have a money-back guarantee in case the piece does not meet its product description. Upon purchasing, bring the piece to an authenticator to determine whether your gold jewelry meets your karat expectations.

How Many Karats Are Best for Jewelry?

When choosing your ideal karat, always consider the purpose of the piece. If you intend to wear your jewelry on an everyday basis, 14K gold is most suitable due to its strength and affordability. If you are purchasing an heirloom piece exclusively for special occasions, you can never go wrong with 18K, 22K, or even 24K gold (although you already know the risks with pure gold). 18K and 22K jewelry offers you higher purity without sacrificing durability.

Ultimately, karats are a personal choice. Always consider the purpose of each piece to make the best decision, and take some time to understand karats and metal purity to guarantee your jewelry’s longevity.

What Is the Ideal Carat for Diamond Jewelry?

When shopping for diamond jewelry, it’s important to consider both the karat or carat weight. To reiterate, a karat is a unit of purity used to measure precious metals; the higher the karat rating, the greater the degree of purity in gold jewelry. Meanwhile, a carat is a unit of measurement for weighing diamonds and other gemstones.

The karat weight indicates how pure a particular piece of gold jewelry is. A high karat weight is more expensive due to its increased purity, especially since gold rates are on the rise. In the case of a diamond, measuring the carat weight is the most widely used practice for determining its value. As the carat weight increases, so will the size and sale price of a stone.

Overall, there is no one answer to how many carats your diamond should be. It depends on your budget and to what extent you are willing to indulge yourself in extravagance. Decadence has no cost or price for the wealthy, especially when it involves something as luxurious and bewitching as jewelry.


Karat and carat are two terms commonly confused due to their similar spellings. However, karats and carats measure different things:

  • Karat describes the purity of gold or other precious metals
  • Carat measures the weight of diamonds or other gemstones

You can expect to pay more for higher-karat gold items than their lower-karat counterparts. And, in general, the higher the carat weight is, the more expensive a gemstone will be. Now that you understand all there is to know about karats and carats, you can make confident, well-informed decisions when shopping for gold or gems.

Where to Sell 14K, 18K, or 24K Gold Jewelry

Do you own any jewelry with no purpose or sentimental value? Consider selling it. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is always looking to buy gold and diamond jewelry, and we offer rates that rival our competitors. If your heart’s not set on selling, you can also use your gold and diamond assets as collateral for a one-day processing loan in Scottsdale, Arizona. So, if you need money fast, our team can help you earn cash in less than 24 hours. Visit us today or complete this online form for a jewelry appraisal.