Carat/Karat?

Ever wondered why we refer to 22ct gold for example? Or a 1 carat diamond? Odd how we use the same word for both gemstones and for purity of gold!

Well in the US they differentiate between the two. You see Carat written with a C which refers to gemstone weight and Karat written with a K which refers to gold purity. In English we don’t make that distinction which can cause some confusion! Allow me to clarify…

Ever been into your local health food store and seen Carob coated raisins? The Carob tree – grown in Southern Europe and across the Middle East – produces a seedpod (also known as the Locust bean) which contains beans of a remarkably uniform weight. In ancient times these beans were used as a standard against which small items of high value such as gold, precious stones and spices were all weighed and traded.

Hence the word carat came into being as a derivation of the word Carob. So it is a crop as such, but not the carrots you grown down at the allotment!