You are going shopping for a nice piece of jewelry – something you will keep for a long time. You want it to be beautiful, but you don’t want to overpay for it. What should you look for? Here is a little primer on the various karat values of gold.
How Are Karats Determined?
A karat is a measurement of purity. The pure gold has 24k, so we can’t go any higher than that. 18k simply means that 75% of the piece is composed of pure gold. 18 divided by 24 is .75 – hence 75%. 14 karat has 58.34$ and 10 karat has 41.67% gold by the same calculation.
Is 18 Karat the Best?
The short answer is, it depends. It depends on your purpose and your circumstances. That is true for almost all jewelry purchases. If you are allergic to nickel, for instance, you don’t want to purchase a lower karat, which might cause a rash. If you won’t be wearing the piece very often, and it will be safe in your jewelry box for most of its life, it might not be worth the extra money. However, the 18k bauble will be a little more golden in color than the lower karat values.
The reason you may want a lower karat is that if you wear this item every day or very frequently, it will be subject to more wear and tear.
How Can I Be Sure of What Purity I Am Buying?
You should always look for a stamp or tag on the jewelry in the store. Good jewelry will almost always be identified as to the karat value of it. The marking will usually be stated as 18K or 18Kt. You may also see the designation 750, indicating parts per thousand of pure gold. It also helps to know your jeweler or retailer you are shopping with.
What to Expect from Lower Karat Jewelry
10k or 14k jewelry will be more durable, which is a consideration if the piece will be worn daily or is exposed to inadvertent bumps, such as a bracelet.
The lower karats may have a little less yellow coloring, but you won’t be putting them alongside of higher karat jewelry, most likely, so it shouldn’t matter. It becomes a matter of personal preference.
In the long run, you’ll be happier with your choice knowing you considered all the angles before deciding on the piece that you buy.