Friday, September 20, 2013

carats and carets and carrots and some more Karats.....

Is is a carat or caret?  Or maybe with a k or does it have two R's.  Well, yes, yes and yes.  Here they all are explained:

This is a caret.  Remember them from school? Teachers and editors use them to signal that something ˄ needed.  Caret come from the Latin words caret and carēre.  One R, one E---easy peasie.

These are carrots.  They are generally orange, but can be white, yellow and even purple. People and some animals eat them.  Two R’s and one O ---easy enough.

Then there is carat or is it Karat which can be carat --- Two a's and one r.  What's a person to do???

Let’s start with Karet.  Once upon a time, it is said that the Roman Emperor Constantine I started to mint a new gold coin.  It was called a solidus.  It was 1/72 of a libra or Roman pound of gold.  Now this solidus, which was equal in mass to 24 silique, had a mass of 1/1728 of a libra. Following?  Well, the siliqua was sometimes called a carat.  Many believe carat was the origin of the value in a karat
Karat is simply a unit of purity for gold and its alloys.  24 karats = pure gold.  18-karat is 75% gold, since 18 is 75% of 24.  12-karat is 50% gold and 50% something else. Please keep in mind that this deals with weight, not volume. (Click,here to read our post about gold karats.)   
However, take note that carat and karat are sometimes interchanged when it comes to gold.  Either way, it means the same. 

Lastly, lets discuss carat.

A carat is a unit of mass.  It is equal to 200mg or 0.007055 oz.  It is used to measure gemstones and pearls.  Why 200mg?  Who knows.  The history of why a carat = 200mg is a making of another blog post.
So, if you want a 3 carat sapphire in your ring or if you have a ½ carat diamond, it is simply the mass of the gemstone.

diamond carat chart from

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