Gold has been one of the most valuable and coveted metals for centuries. Gold purity is usually measured in Karats. However, most people get confused about how gold is classified and measured since various terms can mean the same thing while used worldwide.
K, k, KT, Kt, kt, CT, ct are the abbreviations with the same meaning. They represent the word Karats, which can be spelled Carats in many places outside of the USA. Karats is the measurement that is usually used to describe gold purity. Generally, pure gold is 24 karats. Though, most gold is made up of a mixture of gold with other metals.
Pure gold is very thin and can be easily bent. So, it is a bad choice for jewelry, which requires more durability. Most gold jewelry is made of a gold mixture with various other metals, called alloy. The color of the gold is determined by the other metals in the alloy.
In the case of a mixture, the karats represent how much out of 24 are pure gold. For instance, 18 karat gold shows that 18/24 of the object is gold.
In Europe, the “fineness” system is used. It describes gold purity with a 3 digit number denoting the ration of gold per 1,000 pieces. Using this system, 18 karat gold is equal to a fineness of 750 (18/24 is equal to 750/1,000). That’s why, you mostly see gold bullions with a “999” or “.999” stamp which means that the gold is 99.9% pure, corresponding to 24K.
Additionally, there are many other common abbreviations you may find on your gold items or jewelry.
KP, kp is Karat Plum. It is the amount of gold in the item is not less than the karats shown.
GP, gp is Gold Plated. It means that the item is made of a different metal with a thin layer of gold attached to its surface.
GF, gf is Gold Filled. This one is similar to gold plated, except that the gold coating is much thicker.
HGE, hge is Heavy Gold Electroplate, also called Vermeil. This means that objects are made out of sterling silver coated with 10 karat gold of at least 2.5 microns in thickness.
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