You’ll see lots of abbreviations as you shop for gold jewelry! 14K is one example. Understanding what it means and how it differs from 10k, 12k, 18k, and other options is important.
What is 14k gold jewelry? 14 karat gold is an alloy containing 58.3% yellow gold. The rest is made up of other metals, like Copper and Zinc. These metals make the gold harder and influence color. Higher purity gold is softer than lower purity gold, so 14k is less hard than 10k—but it’s more durable than 18k, 22k, or 24k.
Now that you understand some of the basics, I’ll share some other important information on what 14 karat jewelry is, how it’s used, and why it’s FAR BETTER than 24k gold for jewelry. Before getting to that, I need to give you a little context.
Is 14K Gold Real?
14k IS real gold, but it isn’t PURE gold. As I mentioned a little earlier, pure gold is a soft metal. It isn’t suitable for jewelry because it would get scratched and worn out too quickly. To solve this problem, other metals are added in specific ratios to increase the hardness (durability) of gold that’s used for things like jewelry.
Not being ENTIRELY gold, doesn’t it make it ‘FAKE’ gold. Again, other metals are added to make the gold mixture more practical for wearing as jewelry daily.
How 14K Gold is Made?
Gold is mined from the earth. All gold starts out as yellow gold. White Gold, Black Gold, and Rose Gold are created through metal mix-ins and/or plating. We’ll talk more about these various gold color options a little later.
Pure gold is referred to as 24 karat gold (24 parts, out of a possible 24, consist of gold). 24 karat gold has NO other metals mixed in. Gold of lesser purity (that DOES have other metals mixed in) has its purity expressed as the number of parts (out of a possible 24) that are made up of gold. 14K gold contains 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metals. That makes it 58.3% pure gold.
Copper is the second largest ingredient in 14k gold. Zinc is another common mix in, but it’s added in much smaller quantities.
Before digging into additional information, I should mention that there’s a difference between ‘karats’ and ‘carats’. Karats is a measure of gold purity, while Carats is a weight-based measurement used for diamonds. The term Karat is often abbreviated as either ‘k’ or ‘kt’.
How is 14K WHITE GOLD Made?
White gold is NOT a natural product. All gold starts out yellow. Various metals (like Silver and Nickel) can be added to a gold alloy to not only make it more durable, but also to lighten the color.
While the shade of white gold may be lighter than classic yellow gold, it’s still a far cry from actually being ‘white’. The color and finish that you’re used to seeing on white gold jewelry actually comes from Rhodium. Rhodium is a metal from the Platinum family (you can probably see the family resemblance).
Rhodium isn’t mixed into White Gold, it’s plated on top. The plating means that the finish is temporary. Plating eventually wears through and needs to be reapplied. Because of this, White Gold IS NOT a low maintenance ring to own.
White Gold is made in a wide variety of purities. You can get 14 karat White Gold, but you can also get in 10k, 12k, 18k etc. What you CAN’T get is 24k White Gold—it doesn’t exist! The reason that you can’t get 24 karat white gold, is that white gold always has to have other metals mixed in, so by definition, it CAN’T be pure gold (or 24k).
How is 14K ROSE GOLD Made?
Rose Gold has a unique coloring that ranges from ‘pinkish’ to ‘reddish.’ The coloring is created by adding Copper to yellow gold in various ratios. If you increase the Copper percentage of the alloy, you’ll get a metal mixture that has a more red, Copper-like, appearance.
If you dial the Copper and add more gold, you may end up with a beautiful strawberry blonde gold that has a pretty pink tint to it. As with White Gold, you can get 14 karat Rose Gold, along with a variety of other purity levels, but 24k Rose Gold doesn’t exist. Rose Gold has to be an alloy, but 24k gold is pure gold without anything mixed in—which is why you’ll never see 24k Rose Gold offered (legitimately).
If you’d like to learn more about this popular metal, read the article that I recently published covering Rose Gold in great detail.
Which Center Stones Work Well with 14K Jewelry?
14 kt gold can work well for any kind of center stone. You may choose yellow, white, or rose gold to pair with various gem colors, but you should be able to find a great match that complements the stone well. White Diamond, Moissanite, Sapphire, Morganite, and Cubic Zirconia can all look beautiful set against 14-karat gold!
4 Reasons Why 14K Gold is Better Than 24K for Jewelry
24k gold is the purest form of gold, but even affluent people often choose 14k gold over 24k for their jewelry. In this section, we’ll talk about some of the reasons why.
Here are FOUR very common reasons:
1. 14k Gold is Harder Than 24k Gold
We’ve already touched on this, but it’s a big factor! Some jewelry is more than just a fashion accessory—it has real sentimental value. For example, A jewelry fashion trend among celebrities right now, is wearing a Necklace, chain, or bracelet that has initials on it. Those initials often represent someone special to them (a partner or child for example).
24k gold is soft and scratches easily. 14k is MUCH harder! When you want the beautiful look of quality gold, but also want durability, 14k becomes a wonderful option. Even people with enough money for 24k, often choose 14k because of its added durability!
2. 14k Gold Offers a Better Blend of Safety and Durability
Because 24k gold doesn’t have metals mixed in, it’s the safest type of gold for sensitive skin, but again, it’s too soft for many jewelry applications. Because of that, people with sensitivity to some metals often turn to either 14k or 18k. While both of those options DO have other metals mixed in, they aren’t a high enough percentage to cause reactions for many people.
The added advantage of choosing 14k over 18k, is that it’s more durable. Again, who doesn’t want as much durability as possible for jewelry with high sentimental value?
Be aware, that White Gold is something that people with sensitive skin often try to avoid regardless of the karat value. White Gold often has some amount of Nickel added. Nickel is the metal that most commonly gives people skin reactions. If you have metal allergies, you may want to stick with either yellow gold or rose gold.
3. White Gold and Rose Gold AREN’T Available in 24k
Jewelry shoppers are forced to consider something other than 24k gold if they ever want White Gold or Rose Gold. Rose Gold is HOT right now…just look at how rose gold iPhones have been flying off the shelf in recent years—selling like hotcakes to both men and women!
Because White gold and Rose gold aren’t available in 24k, either 14k or 18k become the most common (high-quality) options available. Here again, 14k delivers better durability—and durability is often top-of-mind when considering a new piece of jewelry with high sentimental value.
4. 14 karat Gold is Less Expensive Than 24k
Money is a central focus for some, and an afterthought for others. Both groups have compelling reasons to choose 14k gold jewelry over 24k gold jewelry. The financial savings for choosing 14k for gold jewelry comes in TWO forms.
- A lower initial purchase price.
- Lower lifetime costs for repair and replacement
Pure gold is great for gold bricks that sit in a safe, but not for jewelry that’s worn daily. In the course of normal activities, it would come in direct contact with hundreds of everyday objects that could easily scratch it.
The Cons of 14k Jewelry
I’ve shared some of the advantages of 14k Gold (the pros), but what are the disadvantages (the cons) of choosing this option? Remember that song from the late ‘80’s ‘Every Rose Has its Thorn’? What are the ‘thorns’ of 14k gold? Here are a couple of ‘thorns’ that critics sometimes bring up.
Used 14K Jewelry Has a Lower Resale Value
On the surface, this looks like a drawback of 14k gold, but is it really? You pay less for 14k than you would pay for 24k jewelry, so it only makes sense that they would also resell as used jewelry for a lower price as well. After all, because 14k is less pure, there’s less actual gold in it, so it’s melt value (the actual value of the gold that you can get out of it) would also be lower.
Since you paid less for the 14k when it was new, I don’t see this as a true drawback or flaw. How many people think it’s smart to pay too much tax throughout the year…just so you can get a tax refund at some point in the future? It’s much better to pay less in tax now and NOT get a refund later, right?
This issue is similar! Paying more for 24k gold, just so you can have a higher resale value in the future, doesn’t sound very smart if you ask me!
14k Jewelry isn’t as Hard as 10k
It’s true that 10k is more durable than 14k, however, less than 50% of 10k is comprised of gold. Because the ratio of alloy mix-ins is so high, it can often cause skin irritation for people with sensitivity. 14k is the hardest, and least expensive, type of gold that’s generally safe for wearers with skin sensitivity.
How to Test 14K Gold and Recognize Fake Gold
First and foremost, I recommend shopping with credible and trusted retailers. It’s safest to avoid auction sites and other sites where you can buy from unknown ‘mom and pop’ retailers. They often import their inventory without testing the shipment. They rely on claims from the manufacturer about the product they’re shipping to you. These retailers can intentionally, or unintentionally, mislead you about the jewelry that you buy from them.
We’ll talk about how to test your jewelry in a moment, to confirm the purity of your gold. Testing doesn’t take the place of normal ‘due diligence’ though, like checking the reputation of the retailer, reading reviews from past buyers, and looking for the seller’s return policy. After reviewing all that, testing your metal can provide further confirmation. The processes you’ll want to follow are outlined below.
Start by touching the side of your 14k gold ring or 14k gold chain, for example, with a powerful magnet (like a Neodymium magnet). If the ring is gold, there shouldn’t be an attraction. If the ring sticks to the magnet, it likely has a base metal under the surface layer of gold. If that wasn’t disclosed, you should return the product and get a refund immediately.
Next, you can test the gold with a drop of 14k acid. This is a testing acid that won’t have any effect on 14k gold, but it will bubble and change colors (typically turning green or black) if there’s a lower grade gold (or a fake gold) on the surface.
14k gold jewelry is beautiful, durable, and more affordable than many other gold options. If you care for your 14 karat gold jewelly, it should last for a lifetime! Because of its relative hardness, the ability to be used for both Rose Gold and White Gold, and it’s more affordable nature, 14k is the BEST choice for many jewelry pieces.
What Is Rose Gold? The Ultimate Guide for This Amazing Metal
What is Gold Vermeil? The Ultimate Guide!
(Video) Vinegar Test | How To Test Gold Jewelry At Home (Real or Fake)
14k gold is quite strong compared to 18k gold or 24k gold. It's much more resilient to scratches, though it can still be damaged if you're not careful. A rich, gold-like appearance.Is 14K gold better than 24k? ›
Pure gold is notated as 24K – this is the highest karat level for gold meaning it is 100% pure gold. 18K gold is 75% purity level, 14K is 58.3% purity level, and 10K is 41.7% purity level. As you can see, the higher the karat number, the more pure gold comprises the metal.Why is 24k gold not used in jewelry? ›
Pure gold or 24-carat gold is not used for making jewellery or ornaments. this is because pure gold is very soft and can't be used for making ornaments. so, some amount of other metal (cooperation or silver) is added to make gold a bit harder.Why is 14K better? ›
The karatage refers to the percentage of pure gold in the alloy: 18k gold contains 75% gold, 14k gold contains 58.3% gold. Because 14k gold contains a higher percentage of alloyed metals it provides more durability and resistance to wear and tear.What karat gold is best for everyday use? ›
14K (58% gold and 42% alloyed metals)
It's ideal for everyday use and is the most popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands. If you have an active lifestyle (sports, regular exercise, manual labor, etc.), 14K jewelry would be the best option for you.
Gold Fill & Gold Vermeil
We recommend taking off gold fill and vermeil jewelry before showering, washing hands or swimming for the longest lasting finish of your piece.
If your gold jewelry is 24k, it's 100% pure—the most valuable. 18k gold jewelry is 75% gold, and 14k gold jewelry is 58.3%. If you're thinking of buying gold jewelry primarily as an investment, then you'll want to choose 24k because that can yield the most return on your investment.Can you wear 24k gold jewelry everyday? ›
Since gold is relatively malleable, 24k gold is rarely used for jewelry that you might wear every day, like a wedding or engagement ring, since it's likely it would become misshapen. Adding an alloy like copper, iron, silver, zinc, or nickel makes it more affordable and much more durable and suitable for daily wear.What is the best quality gold? ›
The highest karat of gold is 24K gold. 24 karat gold is 100% pure and doesn't contain any other metals, making it the purest gold available. This means that it has zero impurities and is usually softer than lower karats—10K and 14K. There are many different karat levels of gold.What karat gold is best for chains? ›
The most common mixtures of gold are 14K, 18K, and 22K. However, 14K and 18K are the most ideal for jewellery. It is important to know what karat gold your jewellery is because this will help you determine its value and durability.
14 Karat Gold: Valuable, Classy, and Timeless
This gold is a higher-quality blend of gold and other metals and alloys; but it is still affordable for purchasing. Similar to 10k, a 14k gold piece is durable and won't easily tarnish. According to jewelry tradition, 14k gold is the choice for timeless elegance.
14K Gold Provides Better Durability and Safety
Since 24K gold does not have any other metals mixed in, it is the safest type of gold for people with sensitive skin. However, it is too soft for some jewelry applications. This is why people who have metal sensitivity will choose 18K or 14K gold options.
All types of alloyed gold, including solid 14k gold, will eventually tarnish. However, because 14k gold contains a higher percentage of pure gold than other types of alloyed gold jewelry, like 10k or 12k, it will take significantly longer to discolor. The higher the gold purity, the less likely it is to tarnish.What karat gold lasts the longest? ›
Lower caratages contain less gold; 18 carat gold contains 75 per cent gold and 25 per cent other metals, often copper or silver. The minimum caratage for an item to be called gold varies by country. In the US, 10 carat is the legal minimum accepted standard of gold caratage, 14 carat being the most popular.Is platinum better than gold? ›
The gold quality is determined by the amount of pure gold in the piece. While white gold may seem like a cheaper option for the same look, it is actually a less strong metal than platinum. Platinum will scratch easier as it is a movable metal, but Platinum is stronger against breakage.Which country has best gold quality? ›
The country with the purest gold in the world is Switzerland, a country known for paying attention to quality. Below, the precious metals experts from First National Bullion and Coin, the best place to buy gold in Scottsdale, explain why this particular country has an affinity for pure gold.Does salt water damage 14K gold? ›
Does salt water damage gold jewelry? Yes, salt water damages gold, as well as all white jewelry such as silver and white gold. The reason for this is that salt water erodes the gold layer of the jewel, which weakens it.How long does 14K gold last? ›
How long does 14K Solid Gold last? With care, 14k solid gold can last forever. Gold is one of the most long-lasting materials available for fine jewelry. Even if you have an active lifestyle, solid gold can withstand most elements and still retain the warmth and colour that we all know and love.Does water ruin 14K gold? ›
Whether it is a gold necklace, bracelet, ring, or earrings, if they are 10K, 14K, 18K, or 22K, gold will not get affected by water.What's the shiniest gold? ›
1. 24 Karat Gold. 24k gold is the purest karatage, measuring 99.9% pure yellow gold. This metal is the shiniest, yellowest, and most expensive of all the different types of gold.
While 24K gold is extremely valuable, it isn't widely used for engagement rings. Because gold is such a soft metal, 24K gold bends and scratches easily, making it an impractical metal for a ring that you or your fiancé-to-be will wear daily.Is it better to buy gold coins or gold bars? ›
Gold coins are known to have more sentimental value than gold bars both historically and culturally. Simply put, gold coins can be more ideal for you than gold bars if you want to invest in something with a more historical and cultural value. Again, gold coins have more collectible value than gold bars.What karat gold is the most expensive? ›
24k gold is all parts gold without traces of other metals. Because of this, it has a uniquely rich, bright yellow hue. This pureness and rare color makes 24k gold highly desirable, the most expensive, and most often used in fine jewelry.What can damage 24k gold? ›
Most gold that jewelry is made from is alloyed with other metals to make it tougher because pure 24 karat gold is far too soft on its own. Bleach and chlorine (pools, hot tubs, etc) can break down these other alloys and over time cause issues such as cracks and weakened solder joints.Can you wear 24k gold in water? ›
Waterproof: Yes. Do not need to take off before shower or swimming. Care tips: It will not oxidize or discolor. But since gold is a very soft metal that scratches easily, give it a wipe with a jewelry cloth once and awhile to keep it fresh.Which gold jewelry is best to buy? ›
Which gold is best for jewellery in India? 14 Karat gold is the best quality for daily use and offers more resistance than 18K and 20K gold.What are the 3 types of gold? ›
14K, 18K, and 24K Gold.Which type of gold bar is the best quality? ›
Investment grade gold is pure solid gold with the highest purity of 99.99%. This is what is also known as gold bullion and comes in the form of gold bars or gold coins.Which gold chain is the strongest? ›
Solid gold chains are the most expensive option, but they are also the strongest and most durable. Hollow chains are less expensive, but there is a potential problem with them: These chains are easy to break or dent, and if that happens, they are difficult to repair.Is it OK to sleep with a gold chain on? ›
It can be hard to decide if you don't know the pros and cons. You may be wondering if there is a downside to sleeping with your jewelry on, or if it's wiser to remove it before going to sleep. Our answer: It depends. Most jewelers, including us, recommend that you take your jewelry off when you sleep.
The only real downside of 14K gold is its potential to trigger skin irritation. Because 14K gold has a higher alloy content than 18K gold, it can occasionally result in itchy, uncomfortable skin if you have a copper, silver, nickel, zinc, or iron allergy.Why is 14K gold cheap? ›
Since 14K contains less gold than 18K, it's also more affordable. But many other things affect the price of the jewelry. For example, if you are buying an engagement ring and you choose a bigger round diamond with a 14K gold band, expect to pay more for it than an 18K version with a smaller stone.Why is 14K gold more expensive? ›
14K gold contains 58.5% gold and 41.5% alloy and is usually the most popular choice for wedding rings and engagement rings. Since it contains more gold, 14K is more expensive. In terms of the color, 10K gold looks slightly more pale than 14K gold.Can gold say 14K and be fake? ›
If the piece is stamped, as in 585 (the European stamp for 14k), in most cases, the gold is real and the karat content is accurate. In some instances, the gold is real but the karat content is not accurately stamped. This is termed “under-karating” and violates both state and federal law.What does P mean on jewelry? ›
Parure.Why is 14K gold so yellow? ›
Yellow gold is described as such because of its yellow colour which is a result of it being alloyed with silver and copper.Why does my 14k gold turn black? ›
Elements such as sulphur and chlorine react with the other metals in the gold jewelry, causing it to corrode and turn black, thus blackening the skin underneath.Does 14k gold lose its shine? ›
Based on the ratio of gold to other metals, you get different purities of gold such as 22k, 18k, and 14k. Gold is an inert metal and doesn't tarnish on its own.How often should you clean 14k gold? ›
We recommend having your jewelry professionally cleaned every six-months and checked for loose prongs and damage annually.How can you tell if a 14k gold chain is real? ›
Look for Stamps or Hallmarks in Your Gold Jewelry
Most real gold is stamped with a hallmark that indicates its purity, aka its karat. The karat is the unit used to measure the purity of gold. The higher the karat, the purer the gold. The most common karats you'll see are 10k, 14k, 18k, 22K, and 24k.
18k gold jewelry is purer than 14k gold. It has a higher percentage of gold in its composition, which means it's more valuable, more durable, and usually considered the better option when it comes to choosing a material for your jewelry.Why is Indian gold so yellow? ›
In the United States, gold is often alloyed with metals such as silver, copper, and zinc to strengthen it and make it more durable. These alloys can give the gold a more white or pale yellow appearance. However, in India, gold is often alloyed with copper and silver, which can give the gold a more yellow appearance.What is more valuable than gold? ›
1. RHODIUM: TOP MOST VALUABLE METAL. Rhodium is the most valuable metal and exists within the platinum group of metals. It is used in jewelry for a final finish on white gold jewelry. It occurs in the very same ore in which gold and silver exist – only, in smaller quantities.Do diamonds look better in white or yellow gold? ›
Because diamonds that fall into this range of the diamond color scale are mostly colorless, experts usually recommend a white gold or platinum setting if you would like your diamond to look as white as possible. You can choose a yellow or rose gold setting for a G to J color diamond.Why is white gold more expensive? ›
Price & Value
So for example, 18K white gold and 18K yellow gold will contain the same percentage of gold. However, white gold jewellery can be slightly more expensive than yellow gold jewellery, because of the manufacturing process it undergoes while being mixed and coated.
With more than 8,000 metric tons, the U.S. gold reserve has almost as much as the next three biggest gold reserves combined. The next three countries with the most gold in reserve are Germany, Italy, and France, which have 3,355 metric tons, 2,452 metric tons, and 2,437 metric tons of gold respectively.What country is the cheapest to buy gold jewelry? ›
Based on gold prices at the end of 2020, Hong Kong may be the cheapest country to buy gold from, going by listed face value prices. According to sovereignman.com, it's possible to easily purchase gold in Hong Kong at a lower premium than what's common in other countries.What is the next purest gold in the world? ›
|Gold Karats||Gold Purity %||Millesimal Fineness|
Since gold is relatively malleable, 24k gold is rarely used for jewelry that you might wear every day, like a wedding or engagement ring, since it's likely it would become misshapen. Adding an alloy like copper, iron, silver, zinc, or nickel makes it more affordable and much more durable and suitable for daily wear.Is 14K gold good for everyday wear? ›
Because of its higher percentage of alloyed metals, 14k gold offers more resistance to wear and tear. Thus, it is ideal for everyday use and is the most popular choice for engagement rings and simple wedding bands.
While both are suitable for jewelry you wear occasionally, 14k jewelry is definitely better for everyday wear, such as in a wedding band or engagement ring. In fact, when exploring engagement rings in 14K vs. 18K gold, about 90% of rings in the U.S. are made with 14K gold.Which gold is best to buy? ›
However, 24k gold will be the best option for investment because it is 99.9% pure gold. Even though 24k gold is not durable and scratches easily, it carries a bigger inherent value than 22k gold (only 91.67% gold).What is the best quality gold in the world? ›
The highest karat of gold is 24K gold. 24 karat gold is 100% pure and doesn't contain any other metals, making it the purest gold available.Which gold is more expensive? ›
|10k||Affordable; Durable||May cause allergies; Least pure|
|14k||Timeless; High quality||Maintenance required|
|18k||Very pure (75% gold); Affordable||May be dull in color|
|24k||Purest gold (100% gold)||Expensive; Easily bendable|
With care, 14k solid gold can last forever. Gold is one of the most long-lasting materials available for fine jewelry. Even if you have an active lifestyle, solid gold can withstand most elements and still retain the warmth and colour that we all know and love.How long does 14k gold last before tarnishing? ›
14K gold will last a long, long time. The silver and copper in the alloy strengthen the metal's structural integrity which means it's unlikely to lose its shape or scratch. It definitely won't fade, as the amount of gold present will stave off tarnishing for years.Does 14k gold jewelry hold its value? ›
Provided gold chains have karats of 14k or higher, they tend to become more valuable. This is because gold is easily malleable. Several reasons make gold chains worthwhile compared to other precious metals available today.What is the best gold to wear all the time? ›
Solid gold is the best quality of gold there is - it's great to wear everyday, won't fade, and is hypoallergenic. However, since the entire piece of jewelry is made of gold, it is very expensive and unaffordable to many people.What size carat is best for everyday wear? ›
A half-carat round diamond will be noticeable and perfect for both everyday wear and special occasions. Measuring about 5 mm across, a diamond this size will certainly have plenty of sparkle.
18 karat gold comprises 75 percent pure gold and 25 percent other metals like copper, silver, etc. Highly suitable for making studded and diamond jewellery, 18k gold is less expensive than 24K and 22K.
Both white gold and yellow gold are high quality metals for your jewelry. However, they do differ significantly in strength. Thanks to its higher content of alloys, white gold jewelry is more resistant to dents, scratches, and damage than yellow gold. For highly active wearers, white gold might be a safer choice.What is the best way to hold gold? ›
Mutual funds and ETFs are generally the easiest and safest ways to invest in gold. Each share of these securities represents a fixed amount of gold, and you can easily buy or sell these funds in your brokerage account or retirement account.