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WHAT IS 10K, 14K AND 18K GOLD?

Authored By DePaula Jewelers 0 Comment(s)
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WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN GOLD IS 10K, 14K AND 18K GOLD MEAN?

When you see 10k, 14k or 18k gold jewelry you are seeing the numbers that describe the purity of the gold alloy.  Alloy, what?  You might be thinking.  Well, Gold that you purchase is rarely pure.  It is an Alloy.  A gold alloy is a mixture of gold and other metals.

WAIT, SO IT ISN'T PURE?

No, gold in jewelry form is rarely pure.  You really only see pure gold when it is in bullion form, so gold coins and bars.  Some areas of the world like gold that is close to pure and that gold might be somewhere between 20k to 22k gold.  You find this type of jewelry in the middle east and around Indian.  They have a rich orange looking gold.  Pure gold is measured as 24k gold.

WHY DON'T THEY MAKE PURE GOLD JEWELRY?

Gold is a very soft metal and it is very expensive.  Creating an alloy makes the gold stronger and less likely to bend.  But having too little gold in the alloy is also a problem.  Too little gold and the jewelry is often too brittle.  I guess you can compare it to baking.  Different cultures like different karats of gold.  The most popular karats in the United State are 10k, 14k, and 18k gold.

WHAT IS A KARAT?

A karat is a unit of measure that tells you the purity of the gold.

FROM A JEWELRY MAKING AND FIXING PERSPECTIVE

Each gold alloy has it's share of problems an benefits.  10k gold is popular because of the low price.  It has less gold so it is cheaper.  Problem with 10k gold is that it tends to crack easier.  20k and 22k gold are very soft and bend easy.  That is why we like to make and fix jewelry in the 14k gold and 18k gold range.

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON KARATS?

  • 24k Gold - 100% Gold
  • 20k Gold - 91.67% Gold
  • 18k Gold - 75% Gold
  • 14k Gold - 56.5% Gold
  • 10k Gold - 41.7% Gold
  • 6k Gold - 25% Gold
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