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What is a karat?

It is a measurement of the fineness or a piece of gold.  We have all learned that the higher the karat a gold piece is, the more expensive it is. But why?

Basically, the karat represents the weight of the fine metal the gold piece contains in proportion to the total weight of the piece. Gold jewelry is mixed with other alloy metals, giving it strength, color, etc. These other alloy metals are usually elements like copper, zinc, or palladium. These also are what make gold into rose gold or white gold, for instance.

Karats are measured in 24 parts. (24 being the highest - pure gold, no alloys or other impurities) So, 14 karat gold would be 14/24 - 14 parts pure gold out of 24 parts.

So, for instance, an 18k gold ring would have 18 parts pure gold, out of 24 parts (18/24). So it would be 3/4 parts, pure gold, or 75%. This is why oftentimes an 18k gold ring will be stamped with the numbers "750." 

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