What is Gold Carat?
Also spelled as Karat in the United States, Carat is used to measure the purity and fineness of gold. Gold will be considered completely pure if it is 24 karats. Pure 24 karat gold is quite soft; hence it’s mixed with either silver or copper to make jewellery. Gold with greater a greater carat value is considered to be purer. A single carat refers to 1/24 or almost 4.1% of its whole. For instance, if any jewellery consists of 8 parts of silver or copper and 16 parts gold, it is 16-carat gold jewellery. This arrangement of showing the overall extent of gold began with a middle-age coin called a “mark.” Gold carat prices vary and it’s important to understand the carat or fineness of your gold before you decide to buy or sell.
Let’s further discuss three of the most common gold carat types i.e. 24K, 22K and, 18K gold.
24 K GOLD:
24k gold is the most expensive and purest form of gold, this means that it is made purely from gold and consists of no other metal like silver or copper. It is 99.9% pure and its colour is bright yellow. 24k gold is, however, less dense in contrast to other lower carat gold types. This makes it least ideal for making jewellery but suitable for making gold coins and gold bars and it’s sometimes used in electronics and medical devices.
In 22K gold is made up of 22 parts gold and 2 parts metals like silver, copper, etc. This means that it’s 91.67% gold and the remaining 8.33% is made up of alloys. This makes it quite suitable for making jewellery as the addition of alloys makes its texture hard. However, it is generally used to manufacture plain jewellery as it’s not suitable for making the studded ones.
It is made up of 18 parts gold and 6 parts of metals like copper, silver, and other alloys. This means that It is 75% gold and 25% other metals. They are not very bright in colour and cheaper as compared to 24K and the most suitable option for making studded jewellery.
Fineness and Gold Fineness Markings
Fineness refers to the presence of the base metal, i.e. gold, in comparison to other metals that are added to make the coins and jewellery hard or durable. Fineness can be denoted either by carats or by hallmark stamps. Carat is denoted as, for instance, 18K, 22k, etc. and it is used in the U.S or the U.K. In the European countries decimal hallmark stamps are used to represent fineness. For instance, gold that is 75% pure will be denoted by stamps of 750 and so on. The system of representing fineness was developed by extending the karat system which denoted purity by fractions. For instance:
585 refers to 18 carats of gold
417 refers to 17 carats of gold
This system of denoting purity is called Millesimal fineness. It is generally rounded to three figures especially in the hallmark version of defining purity. For instance, the top three purest forms of gold can be represented as:
- 999.999 (purest)
For current up to date prices for gold karats and purity, you can visit the Gold News website for live pricing and full information on gold investments.