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Brooch with over 19 carats of cut diamonds
MFA# 2013.1776
Amethyst ring with 18kt gold
MFA# 2006.47


1) A unit of weight for gemstones. One carat is 200 milligrams. Carat was used in the middle ages by alchemists.

2) (usually spelled karat) A unit of measure for the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 karat or 1000 fine. A gold alloy that contains 75% gold is 18 karat or 750 fine.

Synonyms and Related Terms

karat; Karat (Deut.); carat (Fr.); fine

Resources and Citations

  • David C. Scott, Metallography and Microstructure of Ancient and Historic Metals, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1991
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997

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