Gold jewelry whether 10k, 14k, 18k or 24k is valuable. But what is the difference between 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k gold jewelry wherever and what is really in a karat. Your gold jewelry has a purity level that is determined by the karat. So let's take a closer look at what this means for your jewelry and how you can determine the best karat weight for your needs.
Why Is Gold Jewelry So Popular
It was instinctively attractive for thousands of years. Gold has been a measure of wealth and authority since the beginning of civilization and we are instinctively drawn to it. Historically gold jewelry was a convenient means of both displaying your wealth and carrying your accumulated wealth with you for convenient use in times of need. The symbolic significance of gold can not be underestimated to the human psyche.
What is Gold
Pure gold, or AU on the periodic table, is metallic yellow in color. AU is a very flexible and soft metal in comparison with other elements. There are various other metals that can share the look of pure gold, pyrite for example, traditionally known as fool's gold, but there is no substitute for 14k gold.
Gold Purity and The Karat System
Gold is a very stable metal in that it stands the test of time and is not known to rust, fade, or diminish. Being of the softer metals it is easy to work with and ideal for painting into beautiful jewelry pieces. Being as soft as it is, when working with gold, jewelers will mix additional alloys with gold to strengthen it and increase its durability. The alloys are typically a mixture of nickel, zinc, copper and silver.
The addition of these alloy metal mixes affect the ultimate color of the gold. You may have seen engagement ring sets that use white gold bands, yellow gold, or other gold colors. These are created by adjusting the ratio of the alloys that are mixed with the pure gold.
The purity of your gold is determined by the Karat weight. Karat is a measure of purity that is measured from 1 to 24. So following this line of thinking 1K gold would be the strongest but contain less pure gold, and 24K gold would be pure gold.
What is the Ideal Karat Gold
So when determining a piece of gold jewelry to buy, you must consider the gold's Karat as an indicator of it's durability and purity. A 10K gold ring for example will contain 10 parts per 24 of gold, and will be especially durable for its additional alloy weight but will represent a lower value than a pure gold perspective. Higher 18K jewelry will provide additional jewelry value significance typical of wedding rings or diamond engagement rings because of it's additional value while still maintaining some of the strength benefits required for ring durability.
14K gold bands and rings are the most popular used today as they represent a compromise between color, durability, and value. A 14K gold engagement ring will contain 14 karats alloy mixed in relation to pure gold. 10K gold wedding bands are less popular but will include some cost benefits that bought be considered. Knowing what your gold karat is will help you choose.