Gold is known to make beautiful jewelry pieces with an appealing luster that doesn’t tarnish over time. Unfortunately, it’s a very soft metal that needs to be formed with other metals to become more durable. As a result, you’ll find different gold alloys, identified by their karats.
When purchasing gold jewelry, you’ll often find yourself asking which karat to pick. They normally range between 9k-24k gold. The most common karats, however, are 10k-18k gold jewelry. In this post, however, we will focus on discussing and comparing 10k and 14k gold, to determine which one is better.
What is 10k Gold Chain Made of?
10k gold is considered the lowest karat gold in most countries. In countries like Europe or Ireland, however, you could find 9k gold. As for 10 karat gold, this means that there are 10 parts of pure gold in the gold alloy and the remaining 14 parts are made of other metal alloys.
In percentage terms, 10k gold contains approximately 42% of pure gold and 58% of other metal alloys.
The common metals found in the other metal alloys are copper, zinc, platinum, silver, and palladium. Sometimes you could find traces of nickel. Depending on the mixture of metal used, the resulting color of the gold may differ. There are normally three common colors, that is, yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold.
White gold is a mixture of gold with white metals like silver (47.4%), palladium (10%), and zinc (0.9%). Sometimes it could have traces of nickel.
Yellow gold contains a mixture of zinc or silver (52%) and copper (6%) mixed with pure gold.
Rose gold on the other hand contains mostly copper (38-58%) but may contain silver (20%) aside from the pure gold.
The Pros and Cons of 10k Gold Chain.
10k gold as seen has more metal alloys than pure gold. Hence it among the least types of gold in terms of purity. This fact is the reason behind its biggest advantage as well as its disadvantage. The following are its pros and cons:
- It’s cheaper. Because it has lower gold content, it’s not the purest form of gold hence less valuable. That means you can acquire it for a cheaper price than higher karat gold.
- It’s more durable. Gold is a soft metal and so it scratches easily. Because 10k gold has more content of metal alloys as opposed to gold, it is harder and hence, more durable.
- It’s less valuable. Because of its low purity level, 10k gold has a low resell value. That means it would be difficult to get significant money from the gold content it contains if you were to resell it.
- It’s more likely to react with the skin. Due to the higher content of other metal alloys, there are higher chances of getting a skin reaction due to traces of nickel or other reactive metals.
- It has less luster. The low gold content in 10k gold means that it has a duller appearance compared to higher karat gold. The high content of metal alloys also means it tarnishes faster hence losing its appeal sooner.
What is 14k Gold Chain Made of?
14k gold is the most common type of gold used in making gold jewelry, especially engagement rings. 14 karat gold is made up of 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts of various metal alloys.
As a percentage that is approximately 58% pure gold and 42% of other metal alloys. That is the opposite content of 10k gold.
Like 10k gold, however, the common metals used are silver, nickel, zinc, palladium, copper, and platinum.
Similarly, mixing different metals with 14k gold will result in the three common colors. Those are yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold.
Aside from the 58% pure gold, white gold consists of a mixture of white metals like silver (31%), zinc (0.6%), and palladium (10%).
It may also contain negligible traces of nickel and is usually plated with rhodium to keep it from tarnishing. The rose gold contains the same amount of pure gold mixed almost entirely with copper (38%-42%).
Sometimes though it may contain a bit of zinc (4%) to reduce the reddish hue from the copper and give it more of rosy color. As for white gold, the other metal alloys used are copper (4%) and zinc (38%).
The Pros and Cons of 14k Gold Chain.
Like the 10k gold, the fact that 14k gold has a higher gold content is both its biggest advantage and disadvantage. The following are the pros and cons of 14k gold:
- It has the best content balance. This means that out of all the karat gold, 14k gold has the best balance of gold and other metals. Therefore, it has the best balance of durability and purity.
- It’s valuable. Because it contains more gold content than any other metal, it has a higher purity compared to 10k gold. For that reason, it has a better resell value.
- It’s less reactive with the skin. Having a smaller content of other metal alloys means that 14k is less likely to react with your skin. That means it’s more hypoallergenic compared to 10k or lower gold.
- It has a more appealing luster. This is compared to the low karat golds and due to the fact, that it contains more gold content than other metals. That means it’s also less likely to tarnish fast.
- It’s slightly more expensive. Compared to 10k gold or lower, 14k gold is purer hence more valuable. For that reason, it will cost more to buy 14k gold jewelry, as compared to the 10k gold.
- It’s less durable. While it has a perfect balance, 14k gold still contains more gold than metal alloys. Therefore, it’s less durable and more scratchable compared to 10k gold.
Color Difference Between 10k and 14k Gold.
Regardless of whether it’s 10k or 14k gold, the three common colors of gold are yellow, white, and rose.
The ratio of gold to other metal alloys, however, affects the intensity and richness of the color. That is where 10k and 14k gold differ in terms of color.
The more the gold content in the alloy, the richer and more intensive the resulting color. 14k gold not only has more gold content than 10k gold, but it is generally made of more gold than metal alloys. 10k gold on the other hand is made of more metal alloys than gold.
By logic, therefore, 14k gold will have a richer intense color, compared to the dull and pale color of the 10k gold. This is mostly because the other metal alloys tend to tarnish, unlike gold that maintains their color and luster.
10k vs 14k Gold Chain, Who Wins?
Purely based on the characteristics of the gold alloys, however, 14k gold seems to have more advantages.
It has a better appearance, it’s more hypoallergenic and it doesn’t tarnish easily. It also has a better resell value should you choose to sell the chain later on.
While it’s not as durable, it has a better balance of durability and purity. That is unlike the 10k gold that sacrifices purity for durability.
By that logic, 14k gold would appear to be the better chain despite being slightly more costly.
The price, however, is a matter of individual ability and preference. So, in the end, it’s up to you to decide based on preference.
When choosing between 10k and 14k gold, consider their cost and characteristic. Also, consider the use of the jewelry and how often it’ll be used.
Keep in mind that it’s a matter of your budget and whether you want value or durability.