14-Karat Gold: The Best Type of Gold?
Gold is one of the most popular precious metals for making jewelry. But did you know that you can get different types of gold? For example, you get 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k gold.
This article examines the properties of 14k gold, the most frequently used gold for jewelry in the United States. Let’s see how 14k gold is made and how it compares to other types of gold.
How Is 14K Gold Made?
14-karat gold is made by combining pure gold with other metals like nickel, copper, and zinc. Adding these metals strengthens the alloy, making it more durable than pure gold, which is relatively soft and malleable.
Pure gold is equivalent to 24 karats, so “14k” stands for 14 out of 24 parts gold. To calculate the gold content of a 14k gold item in terms of a percentage, simply divide 14 by 24 and multiply the answer by 100. This gives you a percentage of 58.3.
Note that “karat” and “carat” are often used synonymously, but they are actually two different units of measurement in the jewelry industry. While “karat” is a measure of gold purity, “carat” denotes the weight of a diamond or gemstone.
14k gold is beautiful and durable and is used to make engagement rings, wedding bands, pendants, earrings, and many other fine jewelry pieces.
Which Is Better: 10K, 14K, 18K, or 24K Gold?
You already know that 24k gold stands for pure gold and is used as the measure for determining the gold content of metal alloys. This is also known as the karat system.
While mixing pure gold with other metals has its advantages, be aware that this can also impact the price and appearance of gold jewelry. For this reason, we have included a comparison between 14k gold and the other gold karats in the following section.
14K Gold Vs. 10K Gold
10-karat gold comprises ten parts gold and 14 parts other alloys. In other words, it only consists of 41.6% pure gold. This is considered a low purity level for gold jewelry since the ratio of pure gold to other materials is less than half. As a result, 10k gold can appear lackluster and pale compared to 14k gold, which has the rich yellow color most people associate with gold jewelry.
On the one hand, this means that 10k gold is a more affordable option for people with a tight budget for an engagement ring. On the other hand, 10k gold is more likely to trigger skin irritation in people prone to metal allergies due to its high non-gold metal content. An allergic reaction is less likely to happen with a 14k gold ring, although there is still a slight risk for people who suffer from skin sensitivity problems.
10k gold is also the least pure form of gold that can be legally sold as “gold” in the United States. In fact, some high-end jewelry retailers may not even stock 10k gold pieces due to their low purity level. This is in stark contrast to 14k gold, which is by far the most common type of gold karat used for engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces.
14K Gold Vs. 18K Gold
18-karat gold is the purest type of gold suitable for use in an engagement or wedding ring. It consists of 18 out of 24 gold karats, equating to 75% pure gold. The remaining 25% is made up of other alloys, making it durable enough for everyday wear while minimizing the risk of triggering skin irritation.
However, because the ratio of pure gold to other metals is high, 18k gold is more expensive than 14k gold. In addition, 18k gold is also much softer than 14k gold, making it more prone to scratches and dents.
Thus, 14k gold remains the most popular metal for engagement rings and other jewelry since it offers the best balance between durability and value.
14K Gold Vs. 24K Gold
As mentioned elsewhere, 24k gold is pure gold. Most people assume that all gold jewelry is made from solid gold, but this is a common misconception. As it happens, pure gold is too soft to be used for jewelry. This is especially true for wedding and engagement rings since these pieces frequently come into contact with hard surfaces and objects like keys that can scratch the surface of the precious metal. By comparison, alloyed metals like 14k gold are much more durable and won’t scratch or dent as easily.
Another disadvantage of 24k gold is its price. Pure gold is expensive because it is a relatively rare commodity that will always be in high demand. Like other precious metals, it is also nonrenewable, at least in the sense that the amount of gold we have on earth is the amount that we will always have.
On the flip side, gold can be recycled repeatedly and made into new items over and over again without having its properties altered or its quality diminished. This is true for pure gold and gold alloys such as 10k, 14k, and 18k gold.
Is 14K Yellow Gold The Same As 14K Rose Gold And 14K White Gold?
You now know that all gold jewelry is an alloy of some kind and that this is achieved by mixing pure gold with various other metals, thereby producing stronger, more durable gold. Rose and white gold are no exception, with the strength and color of these metals being determined by the quantity of gold used in the alloy.
14K Yellow Gold Vs. 14K Rose Gold
Rose gold is not a naturally-occurring type of gold (i.e., it cannot be mined or found in nature). Instead, it is created by blending yellow gold with copper and, occasionally, silver. The percentage of pure gold used to produce this particular gold alloy is around 75%, with 22.5% copper and a small quantity of silver making up the other 25%. The copper is what gives the metal its characteristic pink hue, with the amount of copper added affecting the intensity of the color.
As in the case of yellow gold, the amount of pure gold in the alloy is what determines its value. Thus, rose gold can be found in 14k and 18k gold and comes in a variety of shades, with 18k rose gold typically possessing a warmer, more vibrant hue than 14k gold.
14K Yellow Gold Vs. 14K White Gold
Like rose gold, white gold is a gold alloy produced by mixing yellow gold with various precious metals, such as nickel and zinc. Jewelry made from white gold also receives a rhodium coating, which gives the metal its attractive silver sheen.
White gold is slightly stronger than yellow gold thanks to its composition, but it still needs to be maintained to retain its luster. This is because the rhodium plating wears off over time and needs to be reapplied every few years.
Again, the cost of white gold is determined by the amount of gold used in making the alloy rather than its color. Thus, the higher the gold percentage, the higher the price. So, whether you buy white or yellow gold, 18k gold will always be the most expensive.
Is 14K Gold A Good Choice For Jewelry?
There’s a reason why 14k gold is so popular for engagement rings and fine jewelry. Firstly, it offers the wearer more strength and durability than jewelry with higher gold purity levels. This is thanks to the amount of non-gold metals in its composition, making it more suitable for jewelry items you plan to wear daily, such as an engagement ring or bracelet.
Secondly, 14k gold contains more gold than lower-karat items, giving it a more intense gold color than, say, 10k gold.
Thirdly, 14k gold engagement and wedding rings are generally more affordable than pieces made from 18k gold. This, combined with the strength of the metal alloy, means that you get the best value for money when you buy gold jewelry made from 14k gold.
However, there is one downside to purchasing this type of gold: the high proportion of metal alloys that make it stronger may also trigger an allergic reaction in people who suffer from skin sensitivity issues. Unfortunately, there is also no guarantee that 14k gold will result in an allergic reaction until you try on a particular piece, so people with really sensitive skin may need to invest in a higher gold karat – just to be on the safe side.
To summarize, if you are looking for an affordable gold engagement ring without sacrificing quality or appearance, 14k gold is the way to go. However, if your partner is sensitive to nickel or gold-plated jewelry, you may need to consider buying a ring in 18k gold.
Where Can You Buy 14K Gold Jewelry?
You can buy 14k gold jewelry from any local jeweler, including online jewelry stores. However, it is essential to find a reputable supplier if you decide to purchase gold jewelry from an online source.
Here at ICONIC, we recommend James Allen and Blue Nile. These are two reputable online sellers that pride themselves on selling jewelry made from only the highest quality precious metals and gemstones, from diamond engagement rings to wedding rings, earrings, pendants, and more! They also give you the option of designing your own jewelry, so you can create the exact piece that you’re after.
Frequently Asked Questions About 14K Gold
Is 14k gold real gold?
14k gold is called an alloyed gold, meaning it’s been mixed with various metals to make it stronger. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s fake. On the contrary, it still contains over 50% pure gold.
Is 14k gold good quality?
14k gold is good quality and won’t easily tarnish or show wear over time.
Can you wear 14k gold in the shower?
Though 14k gold will not tarnish like gold-plated items, it is recommended to remove your jewelry before showering or performing various other activities like swimming or exercise. This will help to minimize grime build-up and protect your jewelry from the effects of abrasive chemicals and sweat.
What’s worth more: 14k gold or 24k gold?
24k is the purest gold on the market, but it is not suitable for jewelry due to its malleability. It is also costly. 14k gold is much more affordable because it consists of approximately 42% metal alloys, which also makes it more durable.
How much does a 14-karat gold ring cost?
The cost of a 14k gold ring can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, depending on the ring setting and whether it has a gemstone or not.
Is 14k gold a good option for an engagement ring?
The process of finding the right engagement ring can feel overwhelming, especially since the possibilities are endless. If you’re feeling unsure about which type of precious metal to pick, 14k gold is an excellent go-to for its affordability and strength. However, whatever you choose is ultimately up to personal preference since there are many other options out there.
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