Carat (purity)

From Academic Kids

For other meanings, see Carat.

The carat is a measure of the purity of precious metals and their alloys, such as gold. One carat in this sense is one twenty-fourth purity by weight. Therefore 24-carat gold is pure gold, 12-carat gold is 50% purity, etc. In the United States and Canada, the spelling karat is usually used for the measure of purity, while carat refers to the measure of mass.

The carat system is increasingly being complemented or superseded by the millesimal fineness system in which the purity is denoted by parts per thousand of pure metal in the alloy.

The most common carats used for gold in bullion, jewellery making and goldsmithing are:

  • 24 carat (millesimal fineness 999)
  • 22 carat (millesimal fineness 916)
  • 20 carat (millesimal fineness 833)
  • 18 carat (millesimal fineness 750)
  • 16 carat (millesimal fineness 625)
  • 14 carat (millesimal fineness 585)
  • 10 carat (millesimal fineness 417)
  • 9 carat (millesimal fineness 375)


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