The first thing people think about when they think of diamonds is “how many carats.” However, when you tell someone that a diamond is one carat or two carats, they may realize that they don’t know what that really means. This is okay – a lot of people are in the same boat. Moreover, people have a hard time understanding the difference between carat and karat, having no idea that one is a measure of weight and the other a measure of gold purity. In this article, we’re going to get to the bottom of the word carat.
A carat is a universally adopted measure of weight for diamonds and other gemstones.
In 1907, the ‘carat’ became the globally accepted measurement for weighing diamonds. There was a time when different countries had different ways of measuring gemstones. This became quite confusing after the world started to become more connected, and it was decided that the carat would be used as a universal unit of measurement for all gemstones. A carat is equal to about 0.2 grams, or about that of a paperclip.
The difference between carats and karats.
Many people are confused by the difference between carats and karats. Indeed, carats are the universal unit of measurement for gemstones, but karats refer to the purity of gold. For instance, pure gold is 24 karats, and therefore there is no such thing as 25 karat gold, or any other number greater than 24. The other metals that are alloyed with the gold will determine the color of the gold. The most popular colors are yellow, white, and rose gold. Yellow gold is usually alloyed with silver and nickel. White gold is usually alloyed with nickel and palladium or platinum, and then it is given a rhodium plating, which is a lot like platinum, to give it an extra bright whiteness. And rose gold is alloyed with copper, which gives it that nice pinkish hue.
The word ‘carat’ may come from the word for carob seed.
In the olden days, like the really olden days, people would use stones, seeds, nuts and other things that have a generally even weight across the board to measure the weight of diamonds, gold and more. Etymologists believe that the work carat comes from the word carob. This is because old merchants would use carob seeds to measure the weight and the worth of a diamond. This would be done with a traditional scale that compared the weight of two vessels.
A diamond’s price increases with the number of carats.
Of course, the higher the carat weight, the more money a diamond will be worth. This is the basis of measuring the carats in the first place. In fact, carat weight is part of a diamond’s four C’s – along with cut, clarity, and color. Not only will a diamond be worth more if it weighs more carats, it will also be worth more if it has better clarity and a better cut – not to mention a better color grade.
A carat has nothing to do with actual carrots.
Oh, and one last thing, a carat has nothing to do with actual carrots. Although most of you out there know this, there is a good chance that you still think of carrots when you think of carats. In the end, though, they have nothing to do with each other.