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Karat is a measurement of the purity of gold. It is represented by the abbreviation "K" or "kt". Karat measures the amount of pure gold in a piece of jewelry relative to other metals that may be present.

Pure gold is considered 24 karats, meaning that 24 out of 24 parts are gold. However, gold is often alloyed with other metals, such as silver or copper, to increase its durability and hardness. The higher the karat, the more pure gold is present in the alloy.

For example, 18 karat gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals, making it 75% pure gold. Similarly, 14 karat gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals, making it 58.3% pure gold.

The karat of a piece of jewelry is usually stamped on the piece itself. In the United States, any jewelry that is labeled as gold must have a karat stamp. It's important to note that higher karat gold is typically more valuable, but it may also be more susceptible to scratches and wear due to its higher purity.

When shopping for gold jewelry, it's important to consider the karat weight in relation to the design and intended use of the piece. A higher karat may be appropriate for a piece that won't be subjected to daily wear and tear, while a lower karat may be more practical for a piece that will be worn frequently.