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What is 14k Gold and 18k Gold ?

When creating jewelry, certain ideas must be considered. The weight of gold is measured according to an ounce system on the ancient Troy standard, which is used as a benchmark for pharmacists and many fields in health vocations today. This standard is not equivalent to the modern day conversion of 16 ounces to one pound, but rather a specific system created in ancient Greece. In addition to the weight of gold, the concentration of gold is also an important factor to consider. The concentration of gold that is used to craft jewelry differentiates according to style, preference, and color choice. When describing gold concentration, the proper measurement is in the Karats.

The term Karat in many English speaking countries is spelled “Carat.” In the United States, the expression “Carat” is the measurement used for weighing gem stones. The term carat was carried on through history and is derived from the carob plant in which the plant’s seeds would be used by ancient civilizations to counterweigh gemstones. Each carob seed weighed approximately 200 milligrams. This method of weight has been used throughout time to be the most prominent form of measurement for gem stone weight. 

14K Gold

Purity of gold is quantified in measurements of one up to twenty-four.  24 karat, shown as 24K, is the purest form of the metal and represents the purity of gold when it is dug out of the ground in nuggets.  Anything less than 24K gold is mixed with alloys to strengthen or color the gold for practical use in jewelry, gold plating, tools and many other forms.  Therefore, when you hear a reference to 14k gold, it simply means 14/24 karat which is 58.5% of gold and 41.5% alloy.  The more alloys that are added to gold, lower the content of gold karat, the stronger the gold metal becomes.  14K is desirable for its durability and strength in everyday jewelry for this very reason.



18K Gold

In much the same respect as 14K gold, 18K gold is a mixture of gold and other alloys to give it the necessary strength to be utilized for fine jewelry.  Therefore when you hear the measurement of 18K gold, it simply means 18/24 karat which is 75% of gold and 25% alloys.  18K gold is softer than the 14K gold used in jewelry, but it is preferred by many as the more precious and valuable of the two for its higher gold content.

What is Gold?

Gold, referred to as the element Au, was one of the first known metals.  The gold standard defines the world's currency system, whereby money represents a value in:
 
24 karat = 100% gold Too soft for jewelry
 
22 karat = 91.7% gold Very soft and not recommended for jewelry
 
18 karat = 75.0% gold Recommended for fine jewelry
 
14 karat = 58.3% gold Recommended for daily wear jewelry
 
12 karat = 50.0% gold Not acceptable for jewelry
 
10 karat = 41.7% gold The legal karat limit considered as real gold in the United States
 
Remember, Gold won't tarnish, rust, or corrode, and though it's very strong it is also the most malleable of all metals.


Purity 
 
Gold in its natural form is found in the environment in 24 karat. This form of gold is far too soft to be used for jewelry without being bent or ruined and for this reason; pure gold is combined with alloys in its mixture to ensure durability and strength. Alloys that are commonly combined with gold to increase strength or give a tint of color are copper, nickel, and zinc. The type of gold karat is signified by the letter “k” or “kt” which expresses how much pure gold is placed into the mixture. A 24k piece of jewelry can also be referred to as 100% pure gold.
 
Gold Colors

 
The color of gold is determined by two factors:
 
• The type of metal alloys mixed with the gold

• The percentage of each metal alloy
 
Yellow Gold
 
When shopping for fine jewelry at Wedding Bands Wholesale, you'll find a beautiful selection of 18k and 14k yellow gold.  18k gold contains more precious metal than 14k gold.  It is composed of 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough to withstand every-day wear.  By comparison, 14k gold is composed of only 58.3% gold, and 41.7% alloys to give it added strength.
 


 

Therefore its yellow gold color is not as rich as the 18k yellow gold.  14k gold is most commonly used in jewelry where strength is most important, like in earring backs and bracelet clasps.  In daily wear jewelry, 14K gold is recommended for durability and long lasting strength.

White Gold
 
Because 18k white gold is 75% gold, and 14k white gold is 58.3% gold, jewelry made from these metals still has a slight yellow color.  To enhance the whiteness, almost all white gold is plated with rhodium.  Rhodium is from the same family as Platinum and is a naturally white, shiny metal which is also extremely hard. 
 

 

Depending on the amount of wear to a piece of jewelry, over time this rhodium plating may wear off, revealing the original gold metal color.  The ring will have the appearance of a blurred yellow and white gold.  Re-plating is a simple process that can be done to restore your jewelry's whiteness if needed, and we recommend white gold rings are re-plated when the first signs of wear begin to show to ensure the beauty and strength of your white gold ring.

Rose Gold 
 
Among the predominant standard colors of gold including yellow and white, rose gold is a beautiful alternative to the norm. Rose gold has a pink or rosy tint and is created by adding copper to the mixture of alloys. Gold adopts the coloration of the dominant alloy in the mixture, in this case copper, and truly adds brilliance. The combination of copper into this blend allow for a vibrant rose gold hue unlike any other.


The gold takes on the color of the dominant alloy it has been mixed with (in this case copper), and this is what gives the gold a beautiful pink color.
 
Care 
 
It is important to keep your jewelry away from harmful chemicals such as cleaning detergents and products containing bleach. When cleaning jewelry, a general solution includes using a soft 100% cotton cloth with diluted detergent free soap and warm water to gently remove imperfections or blemishes. When storing your jewelry, use jeweler’s tissue or a small pouch to keep your prized possessions safe.