What’s The Difference Between Carat & Karat? Popular Jewelry Terms Explained!
Alright, I’ll admit it. The jewelry industry has a TON of acronyms, but seriously – carat and karat? They mean two different things in the jewelry industry but are pronounced the same. We’ll explain the difference between these non-veggie words, plus other jewelry terms you may hear when looking for that special engagement ring or custom wedding band. So here they are from A to Z!
An alloy is a mixture of metals and/or another element that, in the jewelry industry, are added to pure gold to make it hardy enough to actually wear. At Scott’s, we cast all of our gold and silver jewelry ourselves. So we have to carefully weigh and measure the alloys and the pure gold nuggets, then we melt them together and pour it into the jewelry mold. It’s like a bakery over here – only we’re making a very sparkly cake!
A basket is a small, wire-shaped form that holds a gemstone. It can have tons of shapes, but usually resembles … a basket!
A bezel is a metal (we use gold, silver or platinum) band with a top edge, that is set over the stone to hold it in place. It’s like a metal “donut” and is very secure.
Ahh, the jewelry term that started it all! A carat with a “C” is a unit of weight for gemstones. It’s the readout on the scale, and, unlike when I get on the scale, the bigger the number, the better!
Another way to secure a gemstone. Channel set is when stones are held in place by a slight rim of metal that runs along the edges.
Computer Aided Design. That’s how we make most of our jewelry here at Scott’s. We use a special engineering type program that lets us design jewelry around your gems or your idea! Then, we can actually make pictures of the piece and send them to you before it’s even been made. It’s very cool!
This one used to be easy, but now we have mined diamonds and lab grown diamonds. Mined diamonds are found in the earth, while lab grown diamonds are made above ground in a lab. Both are the same physically, chemically and optically, and both come in a variety of shapes, grades and colors. Typically, lab grown diamonds cost 30-50% less than mined diamonds.
Emerald vs. Emerald Cut
An emerald is a beryl gemstone that is green. It can be found in many shapes, including an emerald cut (see – I told you jewelry terms were confusing!) Emerald cut is a square or rectangular shape with edges that are faceted, or cut on angles.
Look at a gemstone up close. Do you see all of those cuts? Those are facets. They’re made to shape the stone and to enhance the shine. They act as reflectors and bounce the light around. The more facets in a diamond, the more it sparkles!
Karat with a K – this refers to the total weight of gold alloy in jewelry. 24 karats is pure gold, but because of its softness, pure gold is not suitable for making jewelry that is worn everyday. Usually a mixture of elements (these are alloys) including copper, silver, and zinc are added to pure gold to strengthen it. How much that is added determines the color and karat of gold. In the United States, jewelry is generally made with 10k, 14k and 18k gold.
This is a faux, branded diamond simulate. It does not perform the same way as a mined or lab grown diamond, and it tends to have a bluish tint to it in larger sizes.
Pronounce “pah VAY”, this is a method of setting small diamonds very close together. They look like the gold is paved with diamonds!
Another jewelry term and a way of setting gemstones. Small metal claws, or prongs, are shaped and bent over the stone to hold them in place.
Rhodium is a non-tarnishing white platinum metal that is plated over white gold to make it whiter. Some better quality sterling silver jewelry is also plated with rhodium to keep it from turning black and tarnishing.
Not a prison weapon. The shank is the part of the ring that encircles the finger.
Not *technically a jewelry term, but we use Zoom, and other digital media to provide virtual jewelry consultations with our customers all over the world!