Not all gold jewelry is made from the same kind of gold. The varying types, like 14k, 18k, and 24k, differ in the amount of pure gold they contain, giving each its own strength, color, and value.
What Is a Karat?
The karat system is used to measure the purity of gold, not to be confused with carats, which measure the weight of gems.
In its purest form, gold is incredibly soft and malleable. In fact, it’s often too soft to be made into jewelry. To solve this issue, jewelers started mixing pure gold with other metals – forming an alloy — to make it stronger and therefore able to be worn as jewelry. A karat measures the amount of pure gold per 24 parts of the alloy: 14k gold is 14 parts gold per 24 parts of alloy, 18k gold is 18 parts gold per 24 parts, and so on. The higher the karat, the higher the amount of pure gold in the jewelry.
14K and 18K Gold
14k gold is the most commonly used type of gold alloy for jewelry. Made from 58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals, 14k gold has a bright yellow hue and is incredibly durable. It’s the most common gold alloy used in jewelry because it’s strong enough for everyday wear but still has enough gold to make it beautiful and valuable.
18k gold, on the other hand, is 75% gold and 25% other metal. It’s used less in jewelry than 14k because it’s much more expensive but doesn’t offer many benefits beyond value. 18k gold is a bit brighter yellow than 14k. In fact, it’s probably the color you imagine when you think of gold. But, because of its higher gold content, 18k is less durable than other gold alloys, making it susceptible to scratches, scuffs, and even breaks if worn every day. That’s why most jewelers will only use 18k gold in gold necklaces and gold earrings as opposed to gold bracelets or rings.
Is 24 Karat Gold Pure Gold?
24k gold has 24 parts of gold for every 24 parts of the metal, meaning it is pure gold. It’s rare to see 24k gold in the United States or other Western countries, though it is popular in parts of Asia like India and China.
Because it’s pure gold, 24k gold has a very bright, very distinctive yellow color that makes it easy to spot. But this purity also means it is extremely soft and will scratch, bend, or break if worn too often or too roughly. That’s why it’s very uncommon to see 24k gold jewelry, unless it’s a family heirloom or made as art and not to be worn.
Gold Jewelry at F. Silverman Jewelers
F. Silverman Jewelers in Woodcliff Lake has a large collection of stunning yet affordable gold jewelry in many different karat measurements. From 14k to 18k, each piece is expertly designed and gorgeously crafted. Stop by our showroom today to discover the beauty of gold.