Although the jewelry industry terms “carat” and “karat” are often confused, they refer to two distinct concepts. The former is a unit of mass that encompasses a number of different gemstones while the latter is a unit of proportion that applies strictly to the purity of gold.
The Metric Carat
Carats are a reflection of the international metric system and correspond to the specific weight of 200 milligrams, or one-fifth of a gram. Prior to July 1st, 1913, the unit of measurement used in the United States was actually 205.3 grams. And in 2002, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) decreed that gemstone metric measurements should be listed in milligrams rather than carats. Between 1909 and 1913, the notion of the metric carat was adopted at various different points by Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The Carat Measurement Yardstick
The carat measurement yardstick is one of several benchmarks used to price diamonds, along with a particular sample’s color, clarity and cut. In the summer of 2010, Calgary, Alberta based Kimberlight Brands launched a new record-breaking 111-face diamond cut created by Saskatchewan diamond cutter Mike Botha. under the brand name “Las Vegas cut.” Such a cut, because it can help bring out the full clarity of a stone, can be sometimes as important as the number of carats or milligrams.
The largest diamond ever excavated is the Cullinan Diamond, found on January 26, 1905 in a mine in South Africa. In its rough form it tipped the scales at an astonishing 3,106.75 carats, or 621.35 grams, before being cut down to three and eventually nine smaller stones that are presently a part of the British Crown Jewels.
Sizes of things and the units used to describe them
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