Term used to describe the fineness/purity of gold. A karat is one part out of 24 (this comes from ancient coins: At the time of Constantine, 24 kerations were equal to a golden solidus), so 24-Karat gold is completely pure. However, gold is so soft that 24-karat is not all that practical for jewelry, so 14-karat gold (14 parts gold, 10 parts some other metal) is perhaps the most common type used for jewelry.

Occasionally spelled "carat," but a carat is a unit used for the weight of gemstones, so the "k" spelling is much less confusing.

Term also used to describe the quality of a tobacco pipe. The Karat scale runs from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest quality pipe that money can buy. Manufacturers label pipes with their brand name only if they meet a specific quality level. However these manufacturers also own lesser brand names for lower quality pipes. For example, "Pipe Company A" also owns the names "Pipe Company B" and "Pipe Company C". When pipes are manufactured, "Company A" selects from the lot all pipes that are 70K or higher grade. These are sold as "Pipe Company A" pipes. Then, they select all pipes that are 40K-70K quality. These are labeled as "Pipe Company B" pipes. Finally , they select a run of lower quality pipes to sell as "Pipe Company C" pipes. The remainder are sold with no name brand as "bargain" pipes.

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