Karat, typically seen as a “K” following a number, shows how much gold is in a piece of jewelry. Jewelry is almost always made with an alloy, meaning a combination of metals, because pure gold is easily scratched, dented or even bent. The number before the K indicate how many parts out of 24 are gold. Gold marked 14K is made of 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals. If you think of it as a ratio, you get 14/24. With a little math (divide 14/24), we find that 14K is 58.5% gold.

In the US, we typically see 10K, 14K and 18K marks. However older jewelry from Europe sometimes has an 8K or 9K mark, and jewelry from the Middle East and Asia is commonly stamped 22K.

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