14K vs. 10K Gold: What’s the Difference?
in Jewelry Blog

14K vs. 10K Gold: What’s the Difference?

Most often when you're either shopping for solid gold cuban chains or gold Jesus pieces you'll find jewelry made of 14k gold and 10k gold. 14k gold jewelry costs more than 10k gold, yet both are made from the same precious metal gold. Why exactly? Let's first start with...

What Is in 14K and 10K Gold?

Pure gold – 24k gold – is a very soft metal and is easily scratched or bent. Therefore, almost all gold jewelry consists of an alloy, or percentage of gold combined with another metal to make the result a more enduring piece of jewelry.

The karat is a measure of purity, so the resulting number you see on a gold ring, for example, tells you about how much gold is in this particular piece of jewelry;

When you see or hear the term 14k, you will know that the percentage of gold contained in the jewelry is 14 divided by 24 (think 58.33% gold). When you hear 10K, you will know the percentage of gold is smaller, or 10 divided by 24 (41.67% gold).

The other metal alloyed with the 14K gold is usually silver, along with some copper, and sometimes small amounts of nickel and zinc. The 10K gold jewelry has over 50 percent other metals consisting of silver, copper, zinc and nickel.

Which of the Two is Less Expensive?

If we compare the price of a simple 14K gold ring versus a 10K one, the 10K will almost always be less expensive, because it contains a smaller percentage of gold and a greater amount of cheaper metals. It may be hard to find a 10K gold band with a diamond setting, though, as most of them are made using 14K gold. It’s a good question to ask the jeweler, though.

It’s possible to find a 10K gold ring with a higher price tag if it has some unusual design or added element, however.

What About Durability?

The 10K is actually a better choice if you are thinking about the number of years the ring will be worn. Let’s be optimistic here and imagine a very long marriage following the engagement. Because of the greater percentage of the non-gold metals, the ring is actually harder, making it more durable and longer lasting.

That said, there are ways that a 14K ring can be made just as durable as a 10K ring. Again, another question for your jeweler.

One caution about the 10K ring: the greater percentage of nickel may cause a rash for some allergy-prone individuals. In very allergic individuals, even the 14K ring may do so. Be sure you have the option to return the ring if this should happen.

Color Differences

Some people have a preference for the 14K jewelry because of the brightness of it. Having more gold in it makes it shine a little more. It’s pretty hard to spot the difference between 14K and 10K, though, and most people don’t know the difference on sight.

It’s Up to You

In the final analysis, you are the one who decides what makes sense to you. After evaluating the pros and cons of the purchase, and making your choice, you will be glad you took the time to learn about some of the differences in gold jewelry.