When shopping for a gold chain or bracelet, you need to consider several factors before making a choice. This article provides you with a summary of those factors.
How Much Actual Gold Is In It?
The chain or bracelet should be clearly marked with the karat designation 10K or 14K. This means it contains 10 parts of gold out of a possible 24 parts, or 14 out of 24. 24K would be pure gold. So the actual amount of gold is stamped right on the piece. Simple enough, right?
There is one other possibility which you may encounter with the stamp. It may have an added “P”, standing for “Plumb”, which means exactly. So if the stamp is 14KP, the piece of jewelry can have no less than 14K in it.
This requires further explanation. You see, in the U.S. gold sellers are allowed to designate karat values of up to .5 karats less than the jewelry actually contains, so your “14K” item may be more like 13.5K. So this little P there assures you of the actual gold content.
Which Is More Expensive?
This should be obvious. The answer is the one with the most gold will be the most expensive, everything else being equal. It is possible that a 10-karat piece of jewelry would have a much better design or be larger, but items of equal weight and design should fit the pattern. The higher the karat number, the more expensive.
Which Would Be More Durable?
This is one of the main reasons people choose 10K over 14K jewelry. Because of its lower gold content, the 10K version is harder and more durable. So if you are buying a bracelet, for example, and it is worn frequently, it will be less susceptible to being nicked or bumped. A pair of stud earrings, on the other hand, wouldn’t be as subject to being scratched or nicked, so you might want to spring for the higher cost in that case.
Which Has Better Color?
This is largely a matter of personal taste, but you can discern a slight difference in the goldish cast of the higher karat pieces. Between 10K and 14K, the difference is minimal. However, the color may also depend on what metals are alloyed with the gold. If copper is used, the color will be brighter. All in all, variations of all kinds may exist in quality jewelry.
Basically, if you can detect it a difference, and that difference matters to you, that would be one reason to choose the higher karat jewelry.
Do You Have an Allergy to Nickel?
Most 10K jewelry has nickel in the alloy, and a substantial number of people are allergic to the metal. It tends to cause a rash, so if you know you are allergic to nickel, you need to find out if the particular piece has this metal in it. The 14K will be a better choice in this case, but you still should check the nickel content of the piece before purchasing it.
Now, go forth and shop like a Ninja, knowing you are well-informed about your choices.