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What Does Carat Gold Mean?

Published by MarlowsDiamonds at Aug 10, 2023
What Does Carat Gold Mean?

Choosing gold as the metal for an engagement ring is a timeless and faultless decision. The lustrous glow of gold celebrates a love that will never fade, while its durable qualities symbolise an unbreakable bond. 

When choosing between gold engagement rings, you will need to decide on your preferred gold carat. Carat gold refers to the measure of gold purity within the ring band or jewellery piece. Understanding the meaning of carats will ensure you select a gold that radiates the value and love inherent in your engagement ring. 

In this blog, we look at the meaning of carat gold. We highlight the different types of gold carats and help you choose the best gold for your engagement ring. 

What Is a Carat in Gold?

A carat in gold is a unit of measurement indicating the purity of gold present in an engagement ring or piece of jewellery. The term 'carat' is often abbreviated as 'ct'. 

In the carat system, the total composition of a gold piece is divided into 24 parts. Each part represents a single carat. That means if a ring is described as 18 carats, it means that 18 out of the 24 parts are made of pure gold.

Gold is often mixed with other metals to create an alloy. This is because pure gold is very soft and is easily scratched or dented. To enhance durability and strength, gold is combined with other metals, such as silver or copper.  

Gold, in its pure form, has a distinct yellow hue. Gold is also alloyed to alter the colouring of the gold to appeal to different tastes and design styles. 

To create white gold, pure gold is often alloyed with metals like palladium, silver, nickel, or zinc, which results in a silver-like appearance. For rose gold, a blend of gold with a high proportion of copper creates a lovely pink tone. 

When looking at gold carats, you may come across the term “fineness”. Fineness is another system to denote the purity of gold, measured in parts per thousand. 

For example, 18-carat gold has a fineness of 750. This means that 750 parts out of 1000 are pure gold. This is often expressed as a percentage, such as 18ct gold will be 75%. 

Different Types of Carat Gold

Different types of carat gold will have varying appearances, durability, and value. This gives you a range of options to find the perfect gold engagement ring for your partner’s style and lifestyle. Below we outline the common types of gold carats: 

9ct Gold

9-carat gold (9ct) contains 9 parts gold and 15 parts other metals, or is 37.5% pure gold. 9ct gold is an excellent choice for budget-conscious buyers. Its robust nature makes it an ideal choice for daily wear items such as engagement rings.

14ct Gold

14-carat gold (14ct) contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals. This means it is 58.3% pure gold. 14ct gold provides a balance between cost-effectiveness, durability, and higher gold content.

18ct Gold

18-carat gold (18ct) contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals, meaning it is 75% pure gold. This blend delivers a rich, warm colour with excellent resilience. 18ct gold is a traditional favourite for engagement rings. 

22ct Gold

22-carat gold (22ct) is made up of 22 parts gold and 2 parts other metals. It is 91.6% pure gold. The result is a deeply luxurious colour, but this high gold content makes it softer and more susceptible to scratches.

24ct Gold

24-carat gold (24ct) is pure gold or 99.9% pure gold. The rich yellow hue and substantial weight make it an extremely luxurious choice. Being the softest gold, it's the most prone to wear and tear.

Does a Higher Carat Mean Higher Quality Gold?

A higher carat indicates a higher amount of pure gold, but it doesn't necessarily mean the jewellery piece will be of higher quality. While 24ct gold is the purest form, it may not always be the most suitable, especially for pieces that are worn daily like engagement rings. Often, the durability of lower gold carats, such as 14ct or 18ct, makes it a better choice for engagement rings. 

Carat Gold vs Karat Gold

The terms “carat” gold and “karat” gold both refer to the measure of gold purity. The different spellings are used in different regions.  In the UK and many parts of the world, the term "carat" is used when discussing gold. In the United States, the term "karat" is used. 

What Is the Difference Between Gold Carat and Diamond Carat?

It is important to not confuse gold carats and diamond carats. While a gold carat refers to the purity of gold, a diamond carat refers to the weight of a diamond or gemstone. One diamond carat equals 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. As an example, you can have a 9ct white gold engagement ring with a 2.00-carat diamond. 

How to Choose the Best Carat Gold

Choosing the best gold carat is more than just selecting a beautiful band for your diamond ring. It is about choosing the perfect metal for your engagement ring, a ring that symbolises your everlasting love and bond. Below we share our top tips for selecting the best carat gold: 

Wearer's Lifestyle

Your partner’s lifestyle will significantly influence your choice of carat. If they lead an active lifestyle or work with their hands frequently, the durability of 9ct or 14ct gold might be a wise choice. Balancing the allure of gold purity with practical considerations of daily use ensures your ring will stand the test of time.

Aesthetic Preferences

The purity of gold affects its colour. Higher carats like 18ct or 22ct tend to have a richer yellow hue, while lower carats might appear lighter. If your partner prefers a deep golden shade, higher gold carats could be ideal. You can check their preference by looking at the colouring of their jewellery collection. 


It is important to consider your budget when selecting between gold carats. Higher-carat gold contains more gold, making it more expensive. You will need to balance the desired level of purity, durability, and affordability when making your choice.

Skin Sensitivity

Certain metals, such as copper and nickel, are prone to causing skin irritation in individuals with sensitive skin. If your partner has sensitive skin, higher-carat gold might be a better choice. Lower carats contain more alloy metals, which may increase the risk of allergic reactions. 

Ask a Professional

You can consult a professional jeweller for their carat recommendations. Their professional insights can help you choose the best carat gold for your engagement ring, ensuring it perfectly suits your partner’s needs and style.

Marlow’s Diamonds: Your Guide to the Perfect Gold Engagement Ring

If you are still feeling uncertain about the best carat gold, Marlow’s Diamonds is ready to assist. With our expertise in gold and diamonds, we will guide you in evaluating all the critical factors to ensure you choose a ring that reflects your love story.

Get in touch with a jewellery expert to choose your perfect gold engagement ring.

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