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10k vs. 14k vs. 18k Gold: Which is Better? | The Complete Guide

Should I Choose 10kt, 14kt or 18kt gold?  

Gold was discovered in ancient times and was one of the first precious metals to be used for making jewellery. It is still the most popular metal for high-end jewellery today. 

Pure gold is a soft metal that is not ideal for everyday jewellery. This is why gold is commonly mixed with other alloys to make it stronger and last longer.  

Gold can be bought in different karats, but how do you know what you are buying? 

Gold has different levels of purity. The higher the karat, the purer the gold. Pure gold is 24 karats, metallic golden yellow in colour and is not found purely in any other colour. 

When gold is mixed with different alloys, the colour of the metal can change. This creates a white gold and rose gold appearance. The karat designation is used to tell the consumer how many parts of gold there are compared with parts of alloys.

That means that 10kt gold is 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals (to make up the total of 24).

The Karat 

Karat is a reference for the amount of gold in a piece of jewellery. Rings have the karat stamped on the inside of the band. 

Here is some more information about karat measurements relating to gold:

  • Karat tells the amount of gold compared to other alloys.
  • Karats are measured on a scale of 0-24. 
  • The most common karats used in Canadian jewellery range from 10-18kt. 
  • The more alloys that are in the mixture, the less pure gold there is (the karat number will be lower).
  • Higher karat numbers indicate that there is more gold. 
  • 24kt gold is the highest karat you can get, which is pure gold.

    24kt is not used for jewellery 

    Jewellery worn daily needs to be durable, which is why pure gold (24kt) is not used. 

    When other metals are added, strength is increased. Adding other metals also changes the hue and tone of the gold, to give it different colours so that each piece of jewellery is a one of a kind.

    10kt Gold 

    The least amount of gold purity found in Canada is 10Kt gold (it needs 14 parts alloy mixed with 10 parts gold).

    10kt gold is more affordable than 14kt or 18kt as it has less gold added. It is also much more durable because of the additives that give it more strength. 

    10kt gold is commonly used in jewellery. However, delicate pieces with expensive diamonds and gemstones will generally have a higher karat of gold. 

    10Kt gold is pale compared to other karats. Higher karat gold will be a bright yellow hue. As mentioned, the colour is affected by the alloys that are mixed with the gold. 

    10kt gold is a good choice for people who are looking for something more affordable. It is durable and will withstand daily wear. It does not scratch as easily making it suitable for people who may be doing manual labour or work in an environment with hard surfaces. 

    14kt Gold 

    14kt gold is 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy, making it a higher gold content than 10Kt. 14kt is the most popular for a lot of jewellery as it is an affordable option and purer than 10kt gold. 

    The durability of 14kt gold is better than that of 18kt gold. This is because it still has enough alloys mixed in to create the strength needed to withstand frequent wear. 14kt gold is also a brilliant colour that will not scratch or tarnish too easily. 

    14kt is a great choice for gold engagement or wedding rings that will be worn all the time. In terms of price, it is still affordable while providing the necessary durability for everyday use.

    18kt Gold 

    Gold with 18 karats is usually the highest content of pure gold that is used for jewellery. It does not have the strength that the lower karat gold has as there are fewer other components.

    The higher gold content makes it more expensive and not as durable. That means it will scratch or bend a lot more easily. 

    All of this does not mean that it is not a good choice for jewellery. It can be used for rings but is also commonly used for gold earrings and gold necklaces. It can be worn daily if it is taken care of and it is stunning! 

    18kt gold is bright yellow due to the higher content of gold. It is 18 parts gold with only 6 parts alloy in it. As of a result of its high gold content, 18kt gold is some of the most expensive jewellery on the market and is 40% more expensive than 14kt gold.

    Quality versus durability 

    Gold is purer if it includes a higher karat, but that does not mean it is the best choice for jewellery.

    It depends on the purpose of the jewellery and how often it will be worn. Higher karat gold is softer and does not withstand the same amount of use as gold with a lower karat. Lower karat jewellery is a great option in terms of everyday use and durability.

    Somewhere in the middle is also a good choice when it comes to jewellery that will get a lot of use.  Remember to consider factors like price, durability and quality when deciding what is best for you.

    The final take 

    There are options out there for everyone. 

    10kt gold is a good option that is affordable and will stand the test of time.  

    If you want jewellery with precious stones set, you will be more likely to find an array of options that are 14kt and 18kt, especially if you are looking for diamonds. 14kt will be more affordable but 18kt will also withstand daily wear if it is cared for. 

    In the end, it all will come down to personal preference and selecting an option that is suitable for your needs. Consider where you will wear the jewellery and how often.

    What attracts your eye and what looks good against your skin? These are a few of the things to consider when you are purchasing jewellery.

    Previous article 10 things to know about Rhodium Plating & Why “Pure” White Gold Doesn’t Exist
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