Michael's Jewelers


What’s the Difference Between 14, 18, and 24 Karat Gold?

Over the years, many cultures have treasured gold for its radiance and natural beauty, making it a popular metal choice for fashion jewelry. Today, pure gold is mixed with other metals to make the material stronger and more durable. The process of alloying is also necessary because pure gold is very bright and extremely expensive. This is where 14, 18, and 24 karat gold comes in.

Here is what to know if you are to choose the best jewelry for your needs.

What’s the Difference Between Carat and Karat?

Carat is a unit of measurement used to describe the purity of an element based on 24 whole parts. Karats, on the other hand, represent the percentage of gold in an alloy. As such, karats are used to measure the purity of gold in jewelry. Any gold jewelry with less than 24 karats has that many parts of gold and the remaining part made up of other metals.

14k Gold

This type of gold is made up of 14 out of 24 parts of gold. It is the most popular material for wearable jewelry in Western countries and an excellent choice when you are unsure about which type of gold to go for. Although 14k gold features rich color, the color is less saturated than 18k gold. Compared to 18k gold, 14k gold is significantly more durable and affordable. 14k gold delivers the perfect mix of durability, quality, and value for money. The downside of this type of gold is that it can occasionally cause skin irritation due to the higher alloy content.

18k Gold

18k gold is referred to as such because 18 of the 24 parts that make up the gold are pure gold. In other words, it comprises 75 percent gold and 25 percent alloyed metals. The rich, yellow appearance of the gold makes it attractive for use in jewelry. This type of gold is the purest and most practical form used for different kinds of wearable jewelry. Because it is almost pure, the risk of the material causing skin irritation is greatly reduced. However, it is expensive and scratches easily.

24k Gold

24k is pure gold that has not been mixed with any other metals. In essence, there are 24 out of 24 parts of gold, making it 100 percent pure. Also, 24k gold is extremely soft, very expensive, and is not often used in engagement rings and various types of wearable jewelry in Western countries. However, cultures in different Eastern markets use 24k gold in gold bars, wedding jewelry, and as a material for collectible items.

When choosing the type of gold that will work for you, you should consider your lifestyle, skin sensitivity, and personal style. At Michael’s Jewelers, we have quality gold jewelry to suit different tastes. Contact us today to learn more.