Should you buy jewelry made of 10k gold? Is jewelry made of 10k gold worth anything? Should you buy the higher karatage gold jewelry instead of jewelry made of 10k gold?
Well, as luck would have it, this article focuses on 10k gold, meaning that if you have been trying to find the best and also the most affordable jewelry, you will, by the end of this article, know if you should buy the 10k rose gold engagement ring or save up for a 14k or an 18k ring.
So, let’s dive right into things!
What is 10K gold?
10K gold can be defined as the most affordable version of gold often used for relatively cheap engagement rings and other types of jewelry. This type of gold is also lauded for being the most durable type of gold, which means that anyone looking for solid gold jewelry on a budget will, almost always, be pointed in the direction of 10k gold.
By now, you know that all the jewelry often peddled around as pure gold is hardly pure gold, and though those glistering earrings might look elegant in gold, they could be gold plated or gold filled. This is often the case with the cheaper varieties of gold jewelry, and when it comes to the more expensive 14k or 18k fine gold jewelry bought from high-end jewelry stores, there is a possibility that the jewelry is made of solid gold and not pure gold. Why? An important thing to keep in mind about jewelry is that pure gold, which is known as 24k gold, is too soft and quite malleable, and it doesn’t make great jewelry. It’s also bright orange, then it’s yellow, and the jewelry crafted out of 24k gold will have scuff marks and scratches within weeks or even days of purchase. As a result, the jewelry world finds 24k gold the most undesirable form of precious metal, especially when it comes down to the creation of high-quality and durable jewelry.
To counter this problem and to create good quality and highly desirable jewelry, jewelers mix pure gold with other metal alloys in different proportions, creating what we know as solid gold. 75% pure gold mixed with 25% metal alloys gives 18k gold, 58.3% pure gold mixed with 41.7% metal alloys, and 41.7% pure gold mixed with 58.3% other metals gives you 10K solid gold. Interestingly, 10K gold is the lowest acceptable grading for solid gold in the US. Note that the descriptors for solid gold – 10k, 14k, or 18k give a description of the karatage or the percentage purity of gold in these types of gold.
Although 10k gold is quite durable and affordable, it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing choice given the less than 50% composition of pure gold. 10k gold, whether white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold, is quite pale, and it doesn’t look like the 14k or 18k variants that boast the most impressive gold color finishes. The other issue with white gold is that the high percentage of metal alloys or impurities added to the pure gold means that there is a higher possibility of the resultant 10k gold having a higher percentage of hypersensitive metals like nickel. In other words, 10k gold is highly likely to trigger irritation or metal sensitivity reactions than 18k or even 14k gold.
If you’re still not sure what 10k gold is, you could say that 10k gold is a gold alloy comprised of 10 parts of pure gold and 14 parts metal alloys. These metal alloys added to gold include metals like nickel, palladium, copper, silver, and/ or zinc. Thanks to the high content of metal alloys and the high level of impurity in comparison to 24k or 18k gold, 10k gold doesn’t warp, bend, and it wouldn’t be dented easily from direct impact or high-pressure conditions. 10k gold also has a higher level of resistance to scratching.
Purity of 10k gold
With 41.7% pure gold and 58.3% metal alloys, 10k gold is regarded as the lowest acceptable gold purity level in the US and many other countries across the world. As a result, it is the lowest-grade gold that can be marketed using the term gold attached to it.
Thanks to the low purity level of 10k gold, this type of gold aren’t often used for high-end jewelry like engagement or wedding rings, and most people opt for 14k or 18k gold for high-end jewelry. Jewelers also recommend the use of 14k gold for engagement rings rather than 10k gold.
That doesn’t mean that 10k gold has no use on the market. On the contrary, there are numerous uses of 10k gold, and besides rings, 10k gold is often used in bracelets, earrings, and other kinds of affordable jewelry.
But before you order this cheaper, more durable version of solid gold, determine if your skin would be able to handle a sensitivity reaction. The higher percentage of metal alloys and the likelihood that there will be nickel in the mix means you could suffer an adverse metal hypersensitivity reaction. This isn’t something you’d want to compromise over cheap jewelry.
Color of 10k gold
Like all other gold types, 10k gold is available in three color options – yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Each of these colors comes to be because of the use of different metal blends, which lend different colors to the resultant gold.
What is 10K white gold?
10K white gold is one of the common versions of white gold. Like 10k gold, 10k white gold is a gold alloy made of 41.7% pure gold, and the rest of it is made of other metals (specifically white and silver metals) like zinc, silver, nickel, and palladium.
A 10K white gold ring, for example, has the following alloy composition – 47.4% silver, 0.9% zinc, and 10% palladium.
These alloys are more than the concentration of pure gold. But even with these metal compositions, white gold is never really white, and the lustrous white finish only comes to be after it’s been rhodium-coated.
This rhodium coating offers a good level of protection to the jewelry; specifically, it protects against corrosion while enhancing its durability.
Pros and Cons of 10K White Gold
Pros of 10k white gold
- Today, white gold is the most popular metal option used for engagement rings, as well as earrings and other types of jewelry.
- It’s significantly cheaper than other white metals like platinum. 10k white gold is the most affordable of all the white metals.
- It boasts a relatively high level of durability. The metal alloys blended in the gold are high-strength and durable metals that lend these properties to the white gold. Zinc, silver, and palladium boast the strength of white gold, making it quite durable and also resistant to scratching.
- It works well with most gemstones and diamonds set on the white gold band. The white color of white gold is light and more neutral, meaning that diamonds, even the low-clarity diamonds, will not appear to have a pink or a yellow color hue. This is a common issue faced when someone buys an engagement ring made of rose gold or yellow gold.
- 10K white gold’s neutral and light appearance makes it an excellent option for individuals with fair or rosy skin tones.
Cons of 10k white gold
- The rhodium plating on 10k white gold will wear off with time, and you’d have to get the ring fixed every few years to be able to maintain that natural color, luster, and the benefits of white gold.
- It’s not the best metal choice for high-end jewelry, including engagement rings, meaning that if you are insisting on a ring made of 10k white gold, it might be hard to come by.
- Some versions of 10k white gold cause skin allergies once the rhodium coating starts to wear off. This is often the case when nickel is added to the metal alloys.
What is 10K Rose Gold?
Like the other types of 10k gold, 10k rose gold is a gold alloy made of 41.7% pure gold, and the remainder of this metal is made of copper and silver.
10k rose gold contains 38.3% copper and 20% silver, and thanks to the high percentage of copper, rose gold (10k) tends to have this warm, almost pinkish-reddish color.
But like yellow gold or white gold, rose gold is rather impure, which means that the color finish on 10k rose gold is a lot dull than what you’d see in 14k rose gold, for example.
Pros and Cons of 10k Rose Gold
- 10k rose gold is slowly becoming one of the most popular gold metal choices for people looking for engagement rings and other kinds of jewelry. This is primarily because of the warmth and the romantic pinkish-red hue of 10k rose gold. But it’s worth noting that the color of the gold could be more impressive or better
- It’s relatively affordable, primarily because of the high copper content, which drives down the price of 10k rose gold – copper is an inexpensive metal, which makes the rose gold cheap as well
- It’s durable thanks to the high content of copper, which makes the rose gold more resistant to scratching, warping, or bending
- Rose gold is quite versatile, and it looks great on olive, dark, and pale skin tones.
- The pinkish-red hue of 10k rose gold is not the most attractive color of rose gold. It’s much lighter and even dull, and most people opt out of using it for engagement rings.
- The high percentage of copper means it’s likely to cause skin allergies or the annoying green discoloration from copper.
What is 10K Yellow Gold?
This is the other common type of gold alloy. It also contains 41.7% of pure gold, in addition to copper (6.3%) and silver (52%) for the metal alloys. What this means is that yellow gold is more of silver than gold.
And like the other versions of 10k gold, 10k yellow gold is not the top choice for anyone looking for yellow gold engagement rings because of the lower purity level of gold and an overall level of dullness.
Pros and Cons of 10K yellow gold
- Yellow gold takes the top spot as the most classic and the most traditional version of gold which is often used for engagement rings, earrings, etc. You may, however, take issue with the fact that 10k yellow gold is a lot lighter than 14k yellow gold or 18k yellow gold.
- It’s a good choice for people going for a more vintage look for their jewelry, thanks to the traditional, more classic look of this jewelry.
- It’s not plated, meaning it doesn’t require re-dipping after some years
- It’s quite affordable, thanks to the low content of gold. This also makes it the cheapest version of yellow gold.
- It looks great for people with a dark skin tone or olive tones
- If the diamond purchased has yellow hues, 10k yellow gold will conceal those yellow hues so, it’s a great choice when buying lower-color-grade diamonds.
- It’s quite durable thanks to the high percentage of metal alloys
- The yellow color of 10k yellow gold is quite muted because of the high percentage of silver. The silver is more than gold, and you will get the same color richness you’d get from the purer or higher karat yellow gold.
- It’s relatively high in impurities, and it may trigger skin allergies. So, if you or your fiancé has copper allergies, 10k gold might not be a good choice, and it might spark an allergic reaction.
- It’s not the best metal option for use in high-end engagement rings.
Is 10k gold worth anything? (How much?)
Because of the less than 50% level of pure gold, the value of 10k gold is nothing like that of 14k or 18k gold. However, it isn’t worthless. Today, 10k gold jewelry is valued at an average of $24 – $26 per gram.
Is 10k Gold Good for Jewelry?
Yes. Although 10k gold isn’t as lustrous and it doesn’t have a nice pop of color, it is durable – it’s regarded as the hardest version of gold, and it’s also affordable. However, only choose 10k gold jewelry if you don’t have sensitive skin and if you don’t mind the dullness of the color.
Should you buy 10K gold Jewelry?
Well, only buy 10k gold if you don’t mind the dullness of the color, and you (or your fiancé) don’t have sensitive skin or suffered metal hypersensitivity reactions in the past. Otherwise, 10k gold jewelry would be a great option for you if you are looking for cheap solid gold jewelry that will last a long time.
10k gold is durable, affordable, and it offers great value for money for people with insensitive skin. The hue of 10k gold isn’t the brightest making it a better choice for earrings and other types of jewelry save for engagement rings. It’s also valuable, and you could sell your 10k gold ring for a little money.
Read more jewelry metal posts here or here!