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Why is Gold Valuable? What are Gold Karats? What does Gold Karat mean?

All About Gold!

Gold, the precious metal that has mesmerised civilisations for centuries, continues to captivate us with its timeless beauty and allure. But have you ever wondered about the significance of terms like carat and karat, or why jewellers alloy gold? Explore the fascinating world of gold and uncover the secrets behind its different karat values.

The Origin of the Word "Karat"

The term "karat" can be traced back to ancient civilizations, specifically the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Its etymology can be attributed to the Arabic word "qirat," which referred to the weight of the carob seeds used as a standard measure for gold.

What is a Gold Carat?

Carat vs Karat: Understanding the Difference

Before delving into the intricacies of gold, it's important to clarify the distinction between carat and karat. Carat is used as a measurement for gold purity as well as gemstone weight. In Australia and the UK "carat" is used for both, while the US tend to use "karat" to distinguish it.

Regardless of which term you use, when used in relation to gold it refers to gold purity not the weight of the gold.

Why are there different Karats?

Pure gold, known as 24-karat gold, generally is too soft for practical use in jewelry. To enhance its durability and create different shades and colours, jewellers often alloy gold with other metals. Common alloys include copper, silver, or zinc. The resulting mixture not only strengthens the gold but also provides a variety of hues and finishes.

24-karat is the highest purity of gold and 9-karat is the lowest purity of gold before it legally cannot be called gold.

The Most Common Gold Alloys

The Difference Between 9, 14, 18, and 22 Karat Gold.

22 Karat Gold (91.7% Pure Gold)

Primarily used in high-end jewelry, 22 karat gold boasts a stunning golden hue due to its high gold content of 91.7%. While it exudes opulence, it is slightly less durable than lower-karat gold. 22-karat gold is not particularly popular in Western countries however it is still very common in countries like Sri Lanka and India. Gold is used as a way to invest money and protect it from inflation. 22 karat gold has a very distinct yellow-orange tone which is not often favoured in the West.

18 Karat Gold (75% Pure Gold)

Known for its superior quality and rich color, 18-karat gold contains 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. It is favoured for its luxurious appearance and durability. 18-karat gold is very popular for engagement rings due to its beautiful yellow-gold colour and high durability. 18-karat is often a preference for setting expensive gemstones as it increases the overall value of the jewellery article.

14 Karat Gold (58.3% Pure Gold)

Widely popular in the United States, 14-karat gold consists of 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% other metals. It strikes a balance between durability and purity, making it suitable for a wide range of jewellery designs. 14-karat gold is a great choice for those trying to balance a great golden colour with their budget. While 10-karat gold is cheaper, it often doesn't give the level of warmth people want and love about higher karats of gold. 

9 Karat Gold (37.5% Pure Gold)

9-karat gold contains 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% other metals. It is more durable but has a lighter colour compared to higher-karat gold. 9-karat gold has the lowest gold content which makes it much more affordable and perfect for those wanting solid gold on a smaller budget.  If tossing up between a 9-karat piece and gold-plated jewellery, unlike plated jewellery the gold colour is permanent.

Gold, with its timeless appeal and versatility, continues to hold a special place in our hearts and adornments. Understanding the difference between carat and karat, as well as the reasons behind jewelers alloying gold, allows us to appreciate the craftsmanship and allure of gold jewelry even more. Whether it's a delicate 9 karat gold piece or an exquisite 22 karat gold creation, each karat value brings its unique charm to the world of gold. So, go ahead and indulge in the mesmerizing world of gold, where beauty meets durability, and elegance meets craftsmanship.