The Caratage (Karatage) System For Gold Jewellery

Our roots go back to 1963 when the Jewellery business was established by Late Sri.P.T.ANTONY. Alapatt Fashion Jewellery in East fort, Trivandrum brings you 100% 916 Hallmarking gold. This is one of the largest jewellery showrooms in South India. Its collection is unmatched in range, elegance of design and purity. Range of jewellery varies from the traditional to trend setting styles. Diamond Arcade is a section exclusively devoted to diamonds with an array of Nakshatra and Azmi diamonds, the leading names in diamond designs.

The Caratage System

Any caratage value lower than 24 is a measure of how much gold there is in the jewellery gold alloy. Thus 18 ct is 18/24ths of 100% gold = 75.0% gold. In fineness terms, this is described as 750 fineness, i.e. 750 parts of gold per thousand parts. The table below gives the various caratages and their equivalent gold content in percent or in fineness terms as recognised by international standards. This is not always exactly the mathematical value! For example, 22 carat is mathematically 22/24ths x 100 = 91.666% but the accepted international standard is 91.60%

Definition of Caratage in gold content for recognised International Standards

24 999 99.9
22 916 91.6 Indian subcontinent
21 875 87.5 Arab countries
19.2 800 80.0 Standard in Portugal
18 750 75.0 Standard caratage
14 585 58.5 583/58.3% in USA
10 417 41.7 Minimum in USA
9 375 37.5 U.K. standard
8 333 33.3 Minimum Germany

Many countries only allow certain caratages of gold jewellery to be sold. For example, in the United Kingdom, one can make and sell 9, 14 ,18 and 22 carat gold jewellery but not 12 carat gold as the latter is not a recognised caratage standard by law. In some countries, jewellery lower than 12 carats (50% gold or 500 fineness) cannot be described as gold.

The advantage of making jewellery in caratages lower than 24 ct, apart from price, is the wide range of colour that can be achieved, from socalled green, pale yellow, yellow, rose/pink to red as well as white, depending on the balance of other alloying metals used. The lower the caratage, the wider range of colour is possible (see Colours of Gold). Additionally, properties such as strength and hardness are improved over pure gold, leading to improved wear and scratch resistance and less liable to distortion and damage.

The caratages of jewellery allowed by law varies from country to country (see below for link to Table of national fineness standards). In the U.K., for example, the following caratages are allowed: 9 (375), 14 (585), 18 (750), 22 (916), and 24 (990 and 999). In many countries, a large range of caratages is legally allowed but only a few are in common use. The dominant caratage also varies as shown in the next table:

Oriental East (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan) 24 carat 'Chuk Kam' (99.0% min)
India & subcontinent 22 carat (91.6%)
Arabic countries in Gulf region 21 carat (87.5%)
Europe - Southern */ Mediterranean 18 carat (75.0%)
Europe - Northern, USA, etc** 8-18 carat (33.3 - 75.0%)