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14K Gold vs. 18K Gold Jewelry

Posted By Georganne Hassell On February 20, 2012 @ 12:31 am In Jewelry Guide | No Comments

14k gold vs. 18k goldGold is likely the most popular element on the Periodic table due to its bright, precious status. This metal is the one of the most common used for jewelry. Historically and culturally, it stands above the rest as a tried and true base for crafting beautiful jewelry. Pure gold consists of 24 karats, but in this natural form it’s too soft to make jewelry. The solution is adding alloys (other metals) in order to strengthen the gold.

Common alloys used for gold are silver, copper, zinc and nickel. Adding these alloys is what makes the difference between 14K gold vs. 18K gold. While both are beautiful gold alloys, they do have a few differences buyers need to consider before making their jewelry purchase.

Here’s a quick reference to help you decide which is right for you.

14K Gold

– 58.3% Gold content or 14 of 24 parts gold.
– Stronger because of the higher alloy content
– Better suited for individuals who have an active lifestyle or work with their hands

18K Gold

– 75% Gold content or 18 of 24 parts gold.
– More expensive due to the higher purity.
– Slightly softer gold and darker color due to more gold content.

Here’s a few more details to consider with 14K gold vs. 18K gold. The less pure 14K gold is about 58 percent gold and the rest is composed of other metals, whereas 18K gold is 75 percent gold and only a quarter is alloy metals. This may give 18K yellow gold a little richer yellow color because it is more pure, but most consumers can’t tell the difference. These key differences hold true for yellow gold, white gold and rose gold, with the variations coming from the use of different alloys. So, when choosing your next piece of gold jewelry, consider what karat suits you and your lifestyle best.

Is 18K Suitable for Wedding Bands?

Absolutely. If the band is a quality piece, then the softness of 18k compared to 14k will not make enough of a difference to matter. 18k gold is perfectly suitable for wedding rings and is preferred in many European countries, such as the United Kingdom and France, for example.

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