WJXR 92.1 FM Homepage WJXR 92.1 FM - The Bargain Channel

How is gold quality measured?

The quality of gold is measured in units called karats, abbreviated "k" or possibly "kt", and usually range from 24k to 10k. 24 karat gold is pure gold, though most jewelry is not made from this since it is too soft. To make the gold more strong, materials are added to it such as copper, nickel, silver, and zinc to create an alloy. After the gold has been mixed with other materials, the amount of gold is reduced, so 18 karat gold contains approximately 75% gold, 14 karat gold is about 58.5% gold, and 10 karat gold has about 41.7% gold in it. Nothing less than 10 karat gold can be legally sold as gold jewelry or called gold in the United States.


Karats Karat mark European marking Percentage of pure gold
Twenty-four karat 24K 999 99.9%
Eighteen karat 18K 750 75.0%
Fourteen karat 14K 585 58.5%
Ten karat 10K 417 41.7%


What is the difference between white and yellow gold?

Yellow gold more closely resembles the actual color of gold and is usually an alloy of silver and copper. White gold looks like platinum and is usually an alloy of nickel, zinc, and copper. Nickel is sometimes substituted for another mineral in white gold, as some people may be allergic to nickel.  Since gold must be alloyed to other materials when making it into jewelry, gold is able to come in various colors as well, such as green, pink, or rose.


Gold Color Common Alloy Materials
Yellow Gold Copper, Silver
White Gold Copper, Nickel, Zinc
Rose / Pink Gold Copper
Green Gold Copper, Silver, Zinc
*Actual alloy elements and percentages of alloy materials may vary between jewelry pieces.


What is sterling silver?

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy material, such as copper, to provide extra strength, since pure silver is generally too soft to make jewelry out of. Any jewelry that is called silver must contain at least 92.5% pure silver.


How is gemstone size measured?

The size of gemstones, including diamonds, are measured in units called carats,  abbreviated "ct". One carat weighs about 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams, and 142 carats weigh about one ounce. The size of gemstones may also be measured in units called points. Often, the larger the size of the stone, the more valuable it is.


A Carat is a Karat is a Carrot?

A Carat, abbreviated "ct", is a unit of measurement for the size of gemstones and is equal to 100 points. A Karat, abbreviated "k" or possibly "kt", is a unit of measurement for gold quality with 24 karats being pure gold and 10 karats being the lowest legal limit for selling an item as gold jewelry in the United States. A Carrot is a vegetable whose orange, conical shaped roots are eaten for their nutritional value and has no relation to jewelry whatsoever.


How large is a point?

A point, abbreviated "pt", is 1/100th of a carat. Therefore, a 100 point size gemstone would be equal to 1 carat, and a 50 point gemstone would be 1/2 carat in size.


How is Total Weight (T.W.) calculated?

The Total Weight is calculated by adding up all the stones in a jewelry piece. For example, a jewelry piece containing one 1 carat stone and two 1/2 carat stones would have a Total Weight of 2 carats.


What do the common gemstone shapes look like?

There are many shapes that a gemstone may take, but some of the most common are round, oval, pear, heart, marquise, radiant, emerald, princess, baguette, and trillion. Here is a drawing of these common shapes which gemstones are cut into:
Common gemstone shapes
NOTE: The drawings shown above may differ greatly from the actual cut or shape of any given jewelry piece.


What are the birthstones?

Note: Birthstone lists may vary from jeweler to jeweler.


Month Color Stone Additional Stones
January Dark Red Garnet  
February Purple Amethyst  
March Pale Blue Aquamarine  
April White / Clear Diamond White Topaz
May Bright Green Emerald Green Tourmaline
June Cream Pearl Moonstone, Alexandrite
July Red Ruby  
August Pale Green Peridot  
September Deep Blue Sapphire  
October Variegated Opal (Pink) Tourmaline
November Yellow Citrine Yellow Topaz
December Sky Blue Blue Topaz Turquoise, Blue Zircon, Tanzanite
*Adapted from the list recommended by the Jewelers of America.


Copyright © 2010-2013 WJXR, Inc. All rights reserved.