What is the meaning of the karat mark on gold jewelry?

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Episode Number: 39

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Location Taken: US

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Let's get right to it, today's question is:

What is the meaning of the karat mark on gold jewelry?

The fineness of jewelry gold is stated as the number of parts in twenty-four that are gold. Thus, 24 karat gold is pure gold; 12 karat would be an alloy that is half gold and half copper or other metals.

And now you know. Join us again every weekday for a new CoreFact. For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to usgs.gov/podcasts. We are happily accepting your science questions, so if you're curious about something that we can answer, send us an email at corefacts@usgs.gov or leave a voicemail at 703-648-5600, long distance fees apply.

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