​Carat vs. Karat: What’s the Difference?

Sep 16th 2021

​Carat vs. Karat: What’s the Difference?

You started searching for the perfect piece of jewelry for your special someone, and your head is spinning. Rubies vs. sapphires. White gold vs. rose gold. There’s so much to keep track of! But the most confusing thing might be distinguishing between carats and karats. No, there’s no typo. These terms have very different meanings, and we’re here to help you understand them!


A common misconception is that the term “carat” refers to the size of a diamond. But “carat” actually indicates the weight of a diamond or gemstone. A trick to help you remember: The letter “c” is next to “d” in the alphabet! You’ll typically see carats identified by “ct” written after a stone’s weight. One carat is equivalent to 0.20 grams (or 200 milligrams), but carats are often represented as points, where one represents 100 points. Ex. One carat would be 1.00 ct and a half carat would be 0.50 ct.

*Pro Tip: If you’re looking for an engagement ring, keep in mind that one carat is the most popular stone size. Want something larger? For ultimate sparkle, you should look for gems that have received high clarity and color gradings (aka colorless or near colorless diamonds).


This type of “karat” is the standard measurement for identifying the weight and purity of gold. You’ll often find a “k” written after a piece of gold’s weight (ex. 14K gold). Twenty-four karat gold is pure gold, but you won’t see this in jewelry. That’s because pure gold is actually soft and wouldn’t be able to withstand daily wear and tear. Therefore, other metals, such as copper and zinc, are mixed with pure gold to increase its durability.

As more metals are added to gold, the karat number decreases. For example, 12-karat gold contains 50% pure gold and 50% other metals. You might even notice a color difference, depending on your choice of gold weight. Since natural gold has a rich, yellow color, jewelry that features more pure gold will have a stronger yellow tone.

*Pro Tip: Engagement and wedding rings typically feature 14-karat (58% pure gold) or 18-karat gold (75% pure gold), as these are durable options for everyday wear.


Have a question? We can help!

Gage Diamonds is Chicago's premier jewelry showroom and online retailer of engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry. We offer a variety of pieces in 10-karat, 14-karat and 18-karat gold.

We’re committed to helping you find the ring of your dreams. For inspiration, browse our selection of engagement rings or set up an appointment with a member of our trusted staff at our in-person showroom.

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