Understanding the Differences Between 14K and 18K Gold

When shopping for jewelry, consumers find they have multiple options to choose from with regard to the base metal. Gold typically comes in two grades-14K and 18K. Most engagement rings in America come in 14K gold, although platinum, silver, and 18K gold remain additional options. If gold is the preferred metal, consumers must choose between 14K and 18K. At first glance, they appear very similar, but there are differences a person must be aware of before they make a purchase.

The Differences

Jewelry makers don’t use pure gold to create their pieces. Gold jewelry comes from an alloy created using pure gold with one or more other metals. Pure gold remains too soft for this purpose, as the pieces would scratch, dent, and warp easily. It takes nothing more than brushing the pure gold against another surface for the piece to sustain damage. This becomes less of an issue when the jeweler uses a gold alloy. Furthermore, most men and women don’t realize pure gold has an orange tinge to it. It isn’t the warm shade that most people bring to mind when they think of gold jewelry. The gold alloy provides the gold shade that people desire when looking for 14K gold jewelry or any new jewelry piece.


When measuring the purity of gold, specialists turn to the karat system. This system provides information on the percentage of gold contained in the piece and is explained in terms of how many parts of the piece are solid gold, with the maximum being 24. Gold specialists explain 24 karat gold means all 24 parts are pure gold. In contrast, 18 karat gold contains 18 parts pure gold with the other six parts coming from other metals. The metals used to make up the alloy determine the color of the piece. The item might include nickel, zinc, palladium, copper, or silver. When expressed as a percentage, 18K gold remains 75 percent pure.


Individuals purchasing 14K gold receive a piece that contains 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metal. Again, the other metals determine the color of the gold in the piece. When expressed as a percentage, 14K gold remains 58.3 percent pure. Quite a few individuals find this is enough for them when they are buying jewelry.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of 14K Gold

Consumers find 14K gold to be very affordable. People need to consider this when choosing which metal, they wish for the piece in question. This gold tends to be very durable and will hold up with time. The risk of scratching or bending the piece decreases significantly when the buyer selects 14K gold. Although the gold isn’t as subtle as palladium or platinum, most men and women find it is right for their needs. It offers significant benefits in this area when compared to 18K gold. The color of the gold provides the warm feeling people associate with this metal and looks stunning when worn. Fortunately, thanks to these benefits, people find they have a wide selection of pieces to choose from when they go to buy new jewelry. The versatility of 14K gold ensures this metal remains extremely popular everywhere retailers sell jewelry.


However, there are some drawbacks individuals need to consider when it comes to 14K gold. Certain individuals find they dislike the color of 14K gold when compared to 18K gold. This becomes a matter of personal preference, but it is something individuals should consider when they go to make a purchase. Furthermore, some people find they are allergic to 14K gold because it isn’t as pure as 18K gold. Any person allergic to silver, zinc, iron, copper, or nickel needs to consider this and see if they can wear 14K gold. Nevertheless, if there is a piece you love that only comes in 14K gold, jewelers often have options for treating the gold so it won’t cause this reaction. Don’t hesitate to ask in this situation.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of 18K Gold

Purity remains the number one reason countless individuals prefer 18K gold. The gorgeous appearance of this gold allows users to have the characteristics they love while still receiving the practical benefits of a gold alloy rather than pure gold. Yellow and rose gold look warmer and more vibrant than their 14K counterparts. Furthermore, 18K gold causes fewer allergic reactions than 10K or 14K gold. Although it does contain other metals, the percentage of these other metals when compared to the pure gold is significantly smaller, and this reduces the risk of allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis.


18K gold also comes with drawbacks to be aware of. This softness of this gold allows it to be easily damaged, especially when the person wearing the jewelry leads an active lifestyle. Additionally, the price for 18K gold remains higher than that of 14K gold, which can make it unaffordable for some individuals depending on the piece being purchased. Fortunately, the same pieces can often be found in both 14K and 18K gold, so a person won’t have to choose a different piece simply because they cannot afford it due to it being made in 18K gold.

The Wearer

When comparing 14K to 18K gold, one thing people need to keep in mind is the person who will be wearing the piece. As previously mentioned, 18K gold tends to be too soft for active people. It’s also not suitable for those who work with their hands because of its softness. A person’s budget plays a role in which should be selected as well. Finally, any allergies of the wearer need to be taken into account at this time, as they want to be able to wear this piece without fear of it causing them to react to any type.


Be open to considering different options when the time comes to purchase new jewelry. Men and women often choose a particular metal they like for their jewelry and then never look at other metals when purchasing something new. This leads to them missing out on some great pieces they love and would wear regularly. Don’t make this mistake. With so many items available today, you are sure to find something you love if you keep your mind open.

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