Unit of measurement describing the content of gold in a jewelry item or ornament. Pure gold is extremely flexible and bends easily, and is thus alloyed with more durable metals when used in jewelry to form a tougher, although impure, gold. The karat measurement determines the percentage of gold on a 1 to 24 scale, with 24 karats being pure gold. That means that 14 karat gold is only 14/24 (or 58.33%) gold. Gold with too high a karat measurement is undesirable for jewelry because it is soft and bendable, and gold with a low karat measurement is undesirable because of its lesser value and greater adulteration.
The term karat is often confused with the term carat, which is the weight measurement for gemstones.
The abbreviation of karat is k. or kt.