If you pay a great deal of attention to the accessories you wear and the quality of the product you wish to purchase, it’s only natural that you spend some time choosing and researching the best options available for you to buy. This is especially true when it comes to gold jewelry. Not only will you have to pick the style you fancy the most, but it would be wise to focus on the matter of quality as well. After all, you want your gold jewelry to last you a long time with as little tarnish as possible, right? In that respect, you’d probably want to invest in gold that’s marked with karats (k). The most popular types involve 14k and 18k gold, so keep on reading to learn more about the 14k and 18k gold difference.
What Exactly Do Karats Entail?
Karat is not the same as carat. Karat (k) describes the purity of the gold while carats describe the weight of a diamond. For example, the description of this lovely 14k white gold black diamond ring features the purity of the gold, which is 14k, as well as the diamond weight, which is 2.85 carat.
So, when we talk about gold karat, we’ll be talking about how much gold there is in the piece or the purity of the gold item in question.
That said, the numbers used in front of the k (karat) are there to suggest the gold’s purity. Essentially, the scale goes from 1 to 24, with 24 karat gold being the 100% pure gold. Gold items that are under the 24 karats will also have some other metals thrown in the mix, known as an alloy.
In order to learn how much gold a jewelry item you’re interested in has all you have to do is divide the number stated in front of the k (karat) with the number 24. A rather simple task when you have a calculator on your phone. For instance, this 14k gold necklace has around 58% of gold. How to get that percentage? Divide 14 by 24 and then multiply the result by 100.
Since we’re talking about the difference between 14k and 18k gold, it’s important to mention that 14k gold is approximately 58.3% gold, while 18k gold is approximately 75% gold.
What Is Alloy Then?
As mentioned, only 24k gold is pure gold, with a percentage of 100. Gold that’s labeled under 24k includes a mix of other metals known as an alloy. In order to get a finished product, a jeweler would mix alloy with gold. This means that 14k gold requires more other metals (or alloy) in order to get to the final look compared to the 18k gold, for instance.
The most common metals used for the alloy mix include silver, copper, nickel, and zinc. If you’re looking to buy a jewelry piece made of yellow gold + alloy, you can be sure that the added metals won’t change the color of your chosen piece. Still, if you don’t plan to take off your jewelry pieces all that often, it’s always better to opt for timeless items made of 14k gold such as this butterfly pendant necklace or this beautiful diamond ring.
Different gold shades such as rose gold or white gold will usually involve the mix of different metals to change the said shade. In that respect, rose gold will have more copper, while white gold will have more nickel and/or silver.
Why Not Just Buy Pure Gold?
While we’re discussing the difference between 14k and 18k gold here, you might be wondering why you shouldn’t just buy 24k gold, when it’s known to be pure. Well, the thing about pure 24k gold is that it’s incredibly expensive. What’s more, pure gold is very soft. This means that the money you’d pay for pure gold jewelry items wouldn’t guarantee durability at all.
That said, it’s very rare to spot a jewelry piece where the seller claims it to be 24k. If you feel like the price is too reasonable for such an item, chances are that the seller is lying about the item’s purity in the first place.
What You Need to Know About Allergies
In general, gold is completely hypoallergenic. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about allergies being caused by gold at all. The issue may occur with other metals mixed in the alloy, most commonly nickel. If you’re aware that you or someone you’re buying the jewelry for has a nickel allergy, you can opt for other metal mixes such as palladium or platinum.
14k vs. 18k Gold: What Are the Differences?
So, why is all the focus on 14k and 18k gold? Well, if you’re looking to buy a good quality gold jewelry piece, going with either 14k or 18k would be the best choice since anything under 14k contains more alloy than actual gold. And, as we already said, by going over 18k you’d be paying a hefty price for a piece that’s not really durable or scratches-free.
But how are you supposed to choose between 14k gold and 18k gold? In all honesty, both 14k and 18k jewelry pieces look rather similar. 18k may be slightly deeper and closer to the true yellow gold while 14k gold tends to be slightly brighter. However, appearance-wise, that’s the only difference and most of the time, it’s a rather difficult one to spot.
The obvious difference is the amount of gold used in the making of the jewelry piece, with 14k being 58.3% gold and 18k being 75%. In that sense, the price of the 18k gold will be considerably higher compared to 14k gold items, too.
On the other hand, 14k gold is more durable compared to 18k gold precisely because it contains more alloy. Other metals used in the mix typically make the final product harder and less prone to tarnishing, bending, and scratching. That doesn’t mean that 18k gold is not durable, because it is, but it’s still less durable than 14k gold.
Making the Right Decision
If you’re not dead set on owning an 18k gold jewelry piece, 14k gold will win this battle. Of course, it all comes down to what you want, the style you prefer, the budget you have, and so on. But, in terms of money and durability, you really can’t go wrong with 14k gold. This is precisely why we suggested going for 14k gold if you don’t want to take off your jewelry all that often.
The difference in appearance between 14k and 18k gold is rather small, which can easily make it trivial. It’s up to you to decide whether sacrificing durability and affordability in favor of a slightly better appearance is justifiable. After all, 14k gold cannot be considered “cheap” whatsoever, even if it may be more affordable compared to 18k gold.
If you’re looking to buy top-quality gold jewelry pieces, be it 14k or 18k gold, don’t hesitate to check out our jewelry store in Miami for unique and trendy yet timeless and stylish jewelry pieces. We pride ourselves on delivering the much-needed personal touch and statement piece to one’s own style without making compromises on quality.