When shopping for gold jewelry, you will encounter a wide range of purity. Authentic pieces should be labeled 10K, 14K, 18K, etc. Which should you choose? Here we provide you with the rationale for 14K and 18K jewelry.
Pure Gold is 24k
This is as good as it gets, but you won’t see 24k gold jewelry offered for sale. It is extremely malleable, or soft, and it will be very easy to scratch and bend, so you wouldn’t buy it even if you could. The gold has to be mixed with another, less malleable metal to achieve the hardness suitable for good jewelry.
You are looking for a piece of jewelry that you can enjoy for many years to come. Enter 14K and 18K jewelry.
14k Gold Characteristics
14K gold is perhaps the most popular choice of all gold alloys. Here’s how to calculate its purity: 14 parts pure gold, 10 parts other metals. Divide 14 by 24 to obtain the percentage of pure gold (58.34%). Thus we see that over half the metal in the piece is pure gold. This percentage allows the jewelry to have a nice gold color and still be durable over the long haul.
18k Gold Characteristics
As the higher number implies, 18K jewelry has a higher gold content than 14K. Again, dividing 18 by 24 gives us a 75% pure gold percentage. The 18K piece should look a little more gold than its 14K counterpart, but be somewhat softer and therefore less durable.
The gold color in either karat value can vary based on the metals alloyed with it, however. So the color choice comes down to personal preference and the overall design of the piece.
What Else Is Important in Buying 14K or 18K?
The price is usually an important consideration. The jewelry with the most gold generally commands a higher price. Therefore, you can decide based on your budget, as well as the overall pleasing qualities of the pieces you are considering.
Durability is important, as well. If you determine that the piece will be worn every day or very frequently, it is better to choose the lower karat, because it will be harder and less subject to dings.
What color do you like? You have a wide variety to choose from when it comes to color because of the different metals in the alloy, but In general, if you like a more golden color, you would choose the higher karat jewelry, especially if it will be worn only occasionally.
Allergy to nickel is important to consider, too. A great many pieces of gold jewelry are alloyed with nickel, which unfortunately causes a rash in susceptible people. If you are allergic to this metal, you definitely want to buy the 18k piece, or even 20k or 22k.
You may also want to shop for nickel-free jewelry.
All in all, it’s best to consider everything before deciding what karat to buy. You will enjoy this jewelry for many years to come, so choose carefully. You now have the necessary tools to make an informed choice.