Jewelry Education

What are the differences among 10k, 14k, 18k, and other karats of gold?

The number preceding the letter “k” represents the number of parts of gold, out of 24. For example, “10k gold” represents 10 parts of pure gold out of 24 (10/24 or ~41.7%), with the remaining 14 parts being a mix of alloys. “14k gold” represents 14 parts of gold out of 24 (14/24 or ~58.5%) with the remaining 10 parts being a mix of alloys. 24k gold is the closest to what is accepted worldwide as pure gold (99.9% purity).

There are several differences among the different gold contents:

Visual

Gold with a higher content of gold will give off a stronger tint in color.
14k yellow gold will give off a stronger tint of yellow compared to 10k yellow gold,
but won’t be as strong in color as 18k yellow gold.

Feel

Gold of higher karat content will be heavier overall when compared to an identical piece of jewelry with lower karat content.
This is due to the density of pure gold. Gold of higher karat content is also softer and more malleable, so gold such as 18k or 22k will be softer and more delicate than 10k and 14k.

Durability

Golds of lower karat will generally be harder. As the karat goes up, the gold material becomes softer.
For example, 18k gold is softer than 10k gold. 24k gold is considered the softest and the highest valued gold karat.
For the best balance of price, shine and practicality, 10k + 14k is what we utilize.

Price

The higher the level of gold purity, the more expensive it will generally be.
Simply put, higher gold karats will cost more and lower karat golds will cost less.