Why is gold so special? What's the difference between 18K and 14K gold? Which one should I buy? When it comes to gold jewelry, these kinds of questions come up all the time. To help you better understand the ins and outs of this timeless metal, read Acredo's FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Gold!
What Makes Gold Special?
Aside from being distinctly beautiful and extremely rare, gold is a unique metal that is treasured for its many fascinating characteristics. Gold is a chemically non-reactive element, yet is highly conductive of heat and electricity. Gold does not rust like other metals, and is so soft and pliable it can be easily manipulated and combined with other alloys which makes it ideal for jewelry making.
What Does The K Stand For?
"K" stands for Karat, and jewelers use it to measure gold purity by percentage. A piece of gold that is 100% pure is 24 karats, which means that one single karat measures exactly 1/24th or approximately 4.1667 percent of that metal's makeup. This helps distinguish what percent of a mixed alloy is made of pure gold.
What Does 14k And 18k Mean?
You can think of 14k and 18k gold as fractions that identify what percentage of a piece is pure gold. Jewelry that is 18k gold (or 18 out of 24 karats) is exactly 75% pure gold, and 25% some other alloy. This makes 14k gold less pure at only 58%, with the remaining mix some combination of silver, copper, nickel or palladium.
The Differences Between 14k And 18k Gold?
The main difference between the two compositions comes down to strength and color. Higher contents of extra alloys increase 14k gold's durability but may also lighten its inherent deep golden color. Therefor, while 14k gold jewelry is more scratch-resistant than 18k gold jewelry, it is not considered as valuable.
Is 14k Or 18k Gold Better?
Both 14k and 18k gold are extremely popular options for fine jewelry, and are worth adding to your collection. When shopping for gold jewelry, you may want to consider factors like skin sensitivity, as 14k gold has a higher content of base metals like nickel which is more likely to cause a reaction compared to the more pure 18k gold. Alternatively, if you live a very active lifestyle, you might prefer more durable jewelry items and therefor choose to go with 14k jewelry pieces.
For more answers to your questions about 14k verses 18k gold jewelry, book an appointment with the fine jewelry experts at Acredo in Denver, Colorado.