What are the different types of gold?
You’ve likely heard of karats (k) when referring to how valuable and pure a certain piece of gold is.
Gold is ranked in a system wherein 24k gold is 100% pure. Gold jewelry is strengthened with alloys or other metal mixtures (like copper, silver, zinc, and nickel) because pure gold is too soft for daily wear. In this scale, 18k contains 75% pure gold and 25% alloy - or 18 out of 24 “parts” gold. 14k gold is around 58% pure gold, or 14 out of 24 parts gold. And 10k gold is around 42% pure gold, or 10 out of 24 parts pure gold.
14k vs 18k
Before you dive in on the advantages and disadvantages of each type of gold, you may want to consider the difference between 14K and 24k gold, and what goes into determining the right gold option for you.
What’s the difference between 18k and 24k gold?
24k gold is pure gold, whereas 18k gold is 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals. Both are valuable and desired, but 24k gold is naturally valuable for its purity. 18k is often used in jewelry as it is durable yet still valuable. Pure gold is not typically used in jewelry that is affected by daily wear (such as rings and bracelets) because it is too soft and prone to scratching. However, there are many jewelry pieces that are less affected by routine use, such as charms, lapel pins, and other small pieces.
Which gold is better? 18k or 24k?
Both 18k gold and 24k gold are valuable and desirable. Of course, 24k gold is 100% gold, so it is naturally more valuable from a monetary perspective. However, 24k gold is less durable for long-term use than 18k gold since it does not contain any extra alloyed metals that help strengthen it. So collectors and investors in gold would find 24k gold more valuable, but someone who is looking for an engagement ring would prefer an 18k piece, as it’s more likely to last a lifetime of daily use.
What Are The Advantages and Disadvantages of 24k Gold
24k gold is vivid and bright yellow in color. Since 24k gold is pure gold, it is valuable for investors and collectors. Gold is a commodity that trades based on supply and demand. While the price of gold can rise and fall in the short term, it has always maintained its value over time.
It isn’t often used in jewelry for everyday use because it is very soft and malleable. It scratches easily and is prone to bending and warping. But, because of its strong value, we often see it in collectible items and custom gifts.
Why Choose 18k Gold vs 14K?
18k gold is made up of 75% gold and 25% alloy. 18k gold is usually the purest form of gold we see used for rings, bracelets, and other wearable jewelry.
However, since 18k gold is so pure, it scratches more easily than gold that is less pure. Also, because of its high quality and wearability, it has a higher price point than other types of gold.
14k gold is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy. 14k gold is the most popular gold for rings and other wearable jewelry in the United States. Rings and other jewelry made using 14k gold are both more durable and more cost-friendly than those made with 18k gold.
Sometimes, 14k gold may trigger skin allergies since it has a higher alloy content than 18k gold. So those allergic to copper, zinc, nickel, silver or iron should take this into consideration when purchasing a 14k gold piece.
Advantages of 10k Gold
10k gold is made up of 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. It is the most impure gold can be while remaining legally “gold” in the US and other countries. But, its high alloy content means that it is also the most durable and affordable form of gold used in jewelry.
Aesthetically, 10k gold is significantly less rich in tone than 14k or 18k gold. And, like other types of gold mixed with alloys, it has a risk of causing skin irritation if the wearer is allergic to certain metals since it is made up of ~58% “other” materials.
Like all things made at the Monterey Company, we take our craft and our materials seriously, providing you with the unmatched quality you and your business deserve.
Gold Filling is created by joining a base metal with real gold through a heat process or a pneumatic pressure process. Gold-filled jewelry is measured by fractional weight.
- 1/10 Gold filled has a total weight of 10% real gold.
- 1/20 Gold filled has a total weight of 5% real gold.
Fun fact: All gold starts pure yellow gold. The alloys in white gold and rose gold give them their distinct colors. How much is the cost of gold today?