All About 24 Karat Gold: Pros, Cons, Price, and Purity

A ‘karat’ is the unit measurement for gold purity. Most gold jewelry consists of gold alloyed with other metals. Lower karats mean less gold; for example, 14-karat gold contains 58.3 per cent gold and 41.7 per cent other metals, such as silver or copper. 24-karat gold is pure gold containing no other metals. The reason why pure gold isn’t used in jewelry making is because it is an extremely soft and malleable material.

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If you would like to find out more about this luxurious precious metal, read on for a comprehensive guide to 24K gold.

A Brief History of Gold

Gold is almost always the material of choice when it comes to fine jewelry, especially for engagement and wedding rings. No other metal carries quite the same amount of prestige. This is no small wonder, given that gold has captivated mankind for millennia.

It was the first metal widely known to our species, having been discovered by many different civilizations in many different locales. All those who found it were impressed by it, and it quickly became a highly sought-after commodity. This is demonstrated by the extraordinary lengths that were made to obtain it, even before the first currency in the form of gold coins appeared around 700 B.C.

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Today, gold is still viewed as a universal symbol of status and wealth among many cultures throughout the world. Its popularity as a precious metal for fine jewelry also shows no signs of slowing down.

What Is 24K Gold?

As mentioned above, gold is available in a range of purity levels. These levels are classed according to the karat system. The karat system measures gold purity out of 24 parts, with 24K gold containing 99.99 per cent pure gold (or 24 out of 24 parts).

14K gold is the most common type of gold used for making jewelry. It contains 14 out of 24 parts pure gold. The other 10 parts are comprised of other metals like nickel, copper, silver, and palladium.

18K gold, as you might have already guessed, consists of 18 out of 24 parts pure gold. Like 14K gold, the other six parts are made up of a mixture of other metals. The least pure gold used for rings, bracelets, and other jewelry in the United States is 10K gold.

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There are also other types of gold besides traditional yellow gold. These include white gold and rose gold. These gold alloys are produced by mixing yellow gold with a variety of metals to alter their appearance. But they are still considered real gold.

As mentioned above, 24K gold is comprised of 24 parts pure gold. This means it does not contain copper, silver, nickel, zinc, or any other metals. It is gold in its purest form.

The extremely high purity level of 24K gold is what sets it apart from the other types of gold used in jewelry. We’ll discuss how it differs in more detail below.

What Does 24 Karat Gold Look Like?

24K gold has a bright yellow-to-orange hue that looks nothing like the gold people are used to seeing in jewelry stores.

Additionally, 24K gold is always the same color. This is unlike 10K, 14K, and 18K gold jewelry, which is available in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. This is because 24K gold contains no alloyed metals.

White gold, on the other hand, is made by alloying pure gold with white-colored metals like silver, palladium, and zinc. White gold jewelry is also covered with a rhodium plating to give it its luster. Rose gold is another gold alloy made by combining yellow gold with copper and silver. The more copper the alloy contains, the more reddish the gold will appear.

Put simply, because gold alloys like white and rose gold are created by reducing the purity of gold, these types of gold aren’t available in 24 karats.

Is 24K Gold Durable?

24K gold is the highest purity level that exists. As such, it generally isn’t used for wedding bands, engagement rings, or other fine jewelry pieces that are worn frequently. This is because gold in its purest form is a very soft material that can bend, warp, and scratch easily. Thus, pure gold is combined with other metals to make it stronger for daily wear. This is why you get 10K, 14K, and 18K gold jewelry.

How Much Does 24K Gold Cost?

Gold purity and price go hand in hand. This means that gold pieces with high purity levels can command premium prices. It also makes 24K gold a good investment. However, keep in mind that the price of gold tends to fluctuate due to a variety of market factors.

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Because 24K gold isn’t typically used for wedding bands, engagement rings, and other jewelry, it’s difficult to directly compare its cost to 14K and 18K gold. Indeed, most online and brick-and-mortar jewelry stores do not have 24K gold as an option for any kind of gold ring.

What is 24K Gold Used For? 

As you already know, 24-karat gold isn’t suitable for wedding bands, engagement rings, wristwatches, and any other jewelry intended for daily wear. It’s simply too soft and easy to scratch.

However, if you’re looking to invest in gold, then 24K gold is the right choice. 24K gold is also appropriate for decorative wedding jewelry, specifically the type used in countries like Thailand, Singapore, China, and Vietnam. So, if you’re looking for jewelry for a wedding party or a traditional wedding gift, you can’t go wrong with a 24K gold piece.

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If you’re looking for the purest gold that’s still suitable for a wedding or engagement ring, we recommend 18K gold. This type of gold has a warm, rich appearance thanks to its high gold content while still being durable enough for you to wear daily. It is also more affordable than 24K gold.

But if you’re more concerned about durability than purity, then a 14K gold ring might be more up your alley. This type of gold is generally considered the best value for money, offering the best balance between durability and purity.

If you’re on a tight budget, a 10K gold ring will also do just fine. But be aware that this type of gold will be paler in color than 14K and 18K gold.

Closing Thoughts

24K gold is the purest type of gold on the market. Unlike 10K, 14K, and 18K gold, which are all made by combining pure gold with other common metals, 24K gold is 99.99 per cent pure gold. This gives it a bright yellow-to-orange hue that instantly distinguishes it from other types of gold.

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Although it is extremely valuable, 24K gold isn’t commonly used for wedding bands, engagement rings, or other fine jewelry. This is because pure gold is a soft and malleable metal that is prone to bending and scratching, making it impractical for everyday wear.

For this reason, most engagement rings are made from 14K gold, which offers the best value for money in terms of durability and purity. But if you’re looking for the purest gold that’s still suitable for daily wear, an 18K gold engagement ring is your best option.

Shopping for gold jewelry? You can find a stunning selection of 14K and 18K gold rings and other pieces at James Allen and Blue Nile.

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