Last updated: December 12, 2023

Is it Jewellery or Jewelry? Karat or Carat?


The internet is a beautiful thing – never before have we been able to access so much, so fast. A plethora of experts and resources from across the globe is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, right at your fingertips.    

But with this almost infinite accessibility and voices from every corner of the planet, comes some seemingly confusing spelling habits.  

Jewellery or Jewelry? 

So, is it spelled jewellery or jewelry? The answer depends on where you come from. Jewellery is the preferred spelling in British and Australian English. Jewelry is preferred in American English. 

This spelling convention applies to Jeweller (British and Australian), and Jeweler (American English). If you are in the UK or Australia, and are wondering why your spell checker flags the British and Australian spelling as incorrect, it may be because your dictionary settings are set to American (which is often the default). 

Plural of Jewellery 

Jewellery is a mass noun, which means it has no plural form. That is, jewellery can refer to one item, or multiple items. 

Carat or Karat? 

The term Carat comes from the practice of using seeds from the carob tree to weigh gemstones. Carob seeds were called carats, and the smallest gemstones were often the weight of a single carat, making the seed a useful unit of measurement. Therefore, a gemstone weighing one carob seed was deemed to weigh ‘one Carat’.

Karat, on the other hand, refers to the fineness or purity of gold, and came much later when precious metals became commonplace. The term derives from the same origin as Carat – the use of carob seeds to weigh and determine the amount of pure gold in a precious metal.  

While these two words sound the same, are derived from the same history, and are often used interchangeably, they do have varying definitions. 

Karat is a measurement that indicates the amount of gold within an alloy.

Carat has two meanings – it is a unit of weight used to measure the size of a gemstone, or, is a measurement that indicates the amount of gold within an alloy.

So, while Carat can be used in both circumstances, Karat only has one meaning. But we are all only human and mistakes prevail across the internet, from casual blogs and articles, to the New York Times.

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