Carats, Karats and Carrots

Everyone knows a carrot is an orange vegetable kids won’t eat. But what’s a carat or a karat?

A “carat” is the unit of weight (one-fifth of a gram) for measuring precious gems and pearls. Origin of the carat was probably the seed of the carob tree, used as a standard by Eastern pearl-traders because of their remarkably consistent weight.

A “karat” on the other hand, is a measure of the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24-karat. Eighteen-karat gold is 18 parts gold, 6 parts alloy. Fourteen-karat is 14 parts gold, 10 parts alloy, etc. 24-karat gold is too soft for most jewelry uses.

The cost goes down as the karats decline in number.