18k Gold Guide : Everything You Need To Know
Posted on February 02 2021
18k Gold Guide.
When buying a piece of gold is common to hear the term Karat accompanied by a number, the most popular is 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k. But what does it mean, and how does the karat affect the quality and durability of the piece you are buying? If you want to make an informed decision, I invite you to continue reading.
What is a Gold Karat?
Karat is a unit of measure used to determine the purity of gold. When a piece has a higher karatage number, it means the gold is purer. The higher karatage for gold is 24k, which means it is 100% gold. From there, gold alloys with other metals to make it more resistant or change its color. For example, an 18k piece of gold will have a proportion of 75% pure gold and 25% alloyed metals.
A higher karat means purer gold and a higher price, but not necessarily a better piece of jewelry. Pure gold is soft, and that characteristic makes it a poor choice for jewelry, it will bend and lose shape. A 24k piece will have a bright yellow, almost orange color, and a much higher cost.
Here is the proportion of gold and alloy metals for each karat number and their main characteristics.
24k – 24/24 or 99.99% pure gold.
The highest karat a gold piece can have is easy to bend and not recommended for jewelry. Yet, it is the best investment due to its value.
22k – 22/24 or 91.7% pure gold.
The small amount of mixture with other metals will provide gold strength, but it is still a soft material for jewelry.
18k – 18/24 or 75% pure gold.
A common karatage for fine jewelry, it has a deep tone of a yellow and high price. The most popular choice for engagement and wedding bands in Europe and Asia.
14k – 14/24 or 58.3% pure gold.
The most common karatage for engagement rings and wedding bands in the USA. It is the most resistant alloy, ideal for everyday pieces.
Color of gold.
Pure gold has a deep yellow color, almost orange. You can change the tone by changing the composition of the alloy. That means that the metal you combine gold with will define the color of your jewelry. Here are the most common colors and metals involved.
- Yellow: it is the result of combining pure gold with silver, copper, and zinc. The purest color with hypoallergenic characteristics.
- White: to achieve this popular color, you must combine gold and platinum, or gold, palladium, nickel, and zinc. It is an affordable option.
- Rose: the most resistant and durable combination comes from gold, copper, and silver.
- Green: a less common color, the result of combining gold and silver.
Remember that color does not affect the karatage of your gold jewelry. An 18k ring will always have 75% of pure gold and 25% of alloyed metals. And those metals can change the tone of your gold piece or make it durable while remaining yellow.
Pros of 18k Gold.
18k gold has a large percentage of gold compared to alloyed metals. That means you will have a fine piece with high value. It will be a hypoallergenic piece because only 25% of the metals are likely to cause allergies. If you desire a yellow tone, it will have a strong one.
Cons of 18k Gold.
Due to the large content of pure gold, your piece will need care, and it will scratch or bend. If you are looking for a white or rose-tone, 18k always has a yellow hue, making the rose gold deeper if you are looking for a lighter tone. In that case, a 14k will suit best. 18k has a 75% of pure gold, which makes it more expensive.
18k Gold vs. 24k Gold
18k gold still has a large part of pure gold while being wearable, unlike 24k that is not suitable for everyday jewelry due to its purity. Most 24k pieces come in the form of a coin or a bar what makes them less appealing. But if you are looking to invest, 24k is your best option since the gold price is pretty much stable, and you will own a 100% gold piece.
18k Gold vs. 14k Gold
14k and 18k are the most common choices for pieces like engagement and wedding bands worldwide. Having a 75% of gold in its alloy, 18k is more expensive than a 14k piece. Color-wise, 18k has the distinctive yellow color we all love about gold, while 14k works better for white gold and rose gold, having only a 58.3% of gold.
14k gold is a great choice in terms of durability and price. You will have a lasting and resistant piece of jewelry. On the other hand, 18k gold will be a fine jewelry piece with a higher value. Your decision will depend on the use and lifestyle of the wearer.
Should you buy 18k Gold?
Before buying a beautiful 18k ring or necklace, you should consider the use you will give them. 18k gold is easy to scratch and bend. You should not wear it daily or during activities like exercising or housekeeping.
If you want to buy a special and fine piece of jewelry, 18k is your best option, 75% of pure gold will make it stand out and ideal for special events. You will own a valuable gold piece.
Is 18k Gold suitable for engagement rings?
Engagement rings are pieces worn daily, but also, they should be a unique and special piece of jewelry. 18k can be one or the other; the high percentage of gold makes it a fine piece for a special occasion. But is not ideal for everyday activities.
Before deciding on buying an 18k gold engagement ring, I recommend you think thru about the wearer's lifestyle. For some, their engagement ring is only for special occasions, and they wear only a wedding band daily.
18k is also a great idea for simple designs where the gold part will be highly visible. If you are thinking about an intricate or vintage design, a lower karatage is better. For engagement rings, 14k and 18k are the best options.
Where should you buy 18k Gold?
It is not hard to find 18k pieces of jewelry. Ensure you are buying on a serious business, whether it is a physical store or an online retailer. Online sellers often offer bargain prices. Make sure you compare a couple of places before making the final decision.
To identify an 18k gold piece, look for the stamp with a hallmark that reads 18k, 18kt, 18KP, 0.75, or 750. The stamp will depend on your location and the piece maker. It is usually found in a ring's inner space or the clasp of a bracelet and necklace.
Whenever you buy a fine jewelry piece, ask for their return policy, refund, and buy-back policy. Also, make sure they are charging you for the gold piece only and not the wight of any gemstone. Ask for the soldering metal they are using, and make sure that weight is not included in your piece's price.
There is no better gold, only variations of pureness that adapt to the purpose and use a piece will have. Remember that 24k is the highest purity of gold found in the market, and it is mainly purposed for bars and coins.
18k and 14k are the best options for an engagement ring and wedding band. You can find variations of color depending on the alloyed metals. 14k is the most durable and affordable option. While 18k is better for fine jewelry and those who love an intense yellow tone.
Gold remains the best option for special pieces. Its durability, beauty, and stable value make it a great choice to invest in and amaze. Review its characteristics thoroughly and choose the karatage that best suits your needs.