When we say something is gold, it usually depicts the absolute, the glorious, and the essential. Gold is gold, and from the naked eye, we see it as a symbol of success and luxury. But some golds are only half gold and pure gold doesn’t really exist. This is where 10k, 14k, and 18k yellow gold come in!
With differing gold purity and price points, you should be able to know what you’re paying for. You don’t want to flaunt a 10k gold thinking it’s 24k because a sly jeweler said so.
Another misconception is confusing karat (the purity measurement for gold) and carat (the weight measurement for diamonds). In this post, we’re going to talk about the “k”; it’s different variations, i.e., 10k, 14k, and 18k, and the pros and cons that can potentially save you money!
So, What’s the Difference in Their Gold Purity?
Pure gold has 24 karats. Logically, it consists of 100% gold. You might find the inscription “750”somewhere on an 18k gold ring. This means 18 karat gold only consists of 75% gold. The remaining 25% are different metal alloys that give more hardness to the gold.
Now, the chart on the right is what the relationship of gold and metal alloys looks like for different karat grades. While you can find gold jewelry with any amount of karat, the most common amounts are 10K, 14K, and 18K gold.
Why Don't Pure Gold Rings Exist?
Usually, you won't be able to find 24-karat gold rings. This is simply because pure gold is a soft metal that tends to bend and scratch very easily. This makes pure gold quite impractical for daily wear.
In fact, you would be able to notice scratches and deformations in a 24K gold ring within days of wearing it! This is why several metal alloys are added to gold to make it harder and more durable.
Yellow gold will usually be mixed with metals such as silver, palladium, platinum, and nickel to make it sturdier. Pure gold rings do exist, but they are usually used for ceremonial purposes. They are worn very seldom so that they don't get used up quickly.
While 24K gold is very rare in rings, it can be encountered more often in earrings as they get subjected to a smaller amount of wear and tear. 24K gold has the advantage of an intense yellow color tone, whereas it is tough to distinguish between 10K, 14K, and 18K gold with your bare eyes.
You can imagine the differences in appearance as something like the image on the right.
Now, let's have a closer look at 10K, 14K, and 18K yellow gold, and find out the advantages and disadvantages for every yellow gold metal type.
Pros and Cons of 10K Yellow Gold
The first striking thing about 10K gold is it contains more alloy than gold. It has 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. 10K is considered cheaper than 14K gold, and it’s actually dubbed as discount gold! In fact, top online diamond ring vendors like James Allen don’t even offer 10K gold.
If you notice, most major premium-quality vendors will only sell the following ring metals:
Does that mean you shouldn’t buy a 10K gold? Of course not! 10K undoubtedly offers excellent value for money. Although the difference in durability is not as big as 18K vs. 14K, 10k is noticeably cheaper and more durable than 14K. All in all, 10K gold is a good choice for people looking for the best price!
Pros and Cons of 14K Yellow Gold
Being the most popular choice, nearly 90% of all wedding rings and engagements rings sold in the United States consist of 14K gold. Why is it so popular? 14K contains 58.5% gold and is the perfect compromise as it’s still quite durable and will not easily tarnish.
There’s a huge gap in durability between 14k and 18k as the former will usually take much longer to show visible marks of wear and tear. This is why 14k gold is the best choice for anyone looking for the perfect balance in durability, price, and look.
Pros and Cons of 18K Yellow Gold
18K gold consists of 75% gold, and among commonly sold gold metals, it has the highest amount of gold. You won’t usually find gold rings beyond 18K because they tend to get scratches and deformations way too easily.
18K is typically used for high-end jewelry like diamond engagement rings. Obviously, 18K gold is the most expensive, but it’s also the one that’s least likely to tarnish. It is, however, more prone to being affected by every-day use as it is softer.
18K gold rings are the best choice for anyone who wants to have the most amount of gold in the ring while still possessing enough durability. Needless to say, preferring18K over 14K is mostly a matter of knowing that the 18K gold ring contains more gold and is, therefore, more exquisite.
Where to Buy Gold Wedding Rings or Diamond Rings
With no prior knowledge of gold or diamonds, one would initially opt for a jeweler with the most experience as it’s seemingly the safest. Timeless ancient stones blend just right with brick and mortar stores. Because let’s face it, traditional jewelry shops’ classic approach suggests the impression that they’re the true keepers of the most valuable gems in the world.
This is why most people find it hard to believe that you can buy precious stones and metals from the internet! But believe it or not, this is what the future of shopping is all about.
You can buy gold wedding rings or diamond rings in both physical and digital shops. However, what sets online shopping to a whole new level is you’ll have a wider selection at a cheaper cost as online stores don’t have to pay for inventory and fancy showrooms.
The best place to buy gold wedding rings and diamond rings is James Allen. They offer nearly 500 different ring settings in 14K yellow gold, 18K yellow gold, 14K white gold, 18K white gold, platinum, and rose gold. You can conveniently see each ring from every angle!
As far as diamonds for engagement rings are concerned, James Allen is the only place that will let you view all their diamonds in high definition 360° videos at up to 40x magnification! This feature is particularly useful for inspecting inclusions in diamonds and thus, can save you a lot of money if you are buying SI1 or SI2 clarity diamonds. Go and check out James Allen for yourself!
Choosing the right engagement ring doesn’t end in settling with yellow gold. There are different kinds of gold that are designed for every budget and function.
Now that you know which yellow gold will get you the biggest bang for your buck, you can then make room for the first ring type you set eyes on – before finding out you can go for the gold without spending a fortune.
Should you have any question about ring metals, I will be more than happy to help you out! Just leave a comment down below or better yet, email me! 🙂