When you are looking to buy a piece of jewelry or have a jewelry design created, one of the terms you will commonly hear is carat. A carat is a measure of weight and one of the ways in which value is determined for a gemstone or pearl. The International Metric Carat, the standard used in the USA, Britain and Europe is 200mg. The term carat refers to the metric carat.
The carat is further divided into 4 grains, which is used to describe natural pearls. One grain is equal to 1/4 carat. Sometimes a grain is referred to as a grain carat of a pearl grain. Wholesale pearls are sometimes bought according to weight, but when you are out looking for pearls to use in earrings, or necklaces, you would be more interested in the diameter of the pearl. Common sizes range from 6mm to 9mm, although you can find them larger.
The carat is also divided into points when measuring diamonds. One point is 100th of a carat. Generally, that is as fine as the measurement of diamonds goes. More often you will find that diamonds are measured in percentages of a carat. The weight of a diamond is important when determining the value of the diamond, but there are other important factors in determining the quality of a diamond. We will cover that in a later post.
The term carat is also used when measuring gold. Gold is divided into 24 parts, 24 being pure gold. So, 14 carat gold is gold that is 14/24 parts gold. In jewelry 14 or 18 carat gold is commonly used. 24 carat gold is considered too soft to be useful in jewelry making. In the USA, 14 carat gold is considered the standard.
The Take Away
The carat is a weight measurement used in jewelry. In conjunction with other features the carat is used to determine value.