Are you planning to buy 14k gold jewelry, but you’d like to know exactly what you are getting yourself into before you put your money down for this jewelry?
For starters, you will be happy to know that 14k gold is one of the most durable and also the most desirable version of gold alloys. It looks great, and it’s a great investment if you are looking for long-lasting gold jewelry.
But just like everything else, all gold alloys will tarnish, get scratched, and if pressed against hard surfaces, they will bend, over time – all these happen because gold, in its natural form, is too soft, and this property is transferred to the different types of gold, whether 10k, 14k, or 18k gold.
So, what is 14k gold, and how different is it from other versions of gold?
Brief introduction of 14K white gold
14k white gold is a gold alloy that is made of pure gold mixed/ alloyed with white metals or metals with a silvery-white color, for example, palladium and silver.
To create white gold, pure gold (which is a bright yellow to orange) and extremely soft and malleable has to be mixed with other metals that are harder than gold. Doing this creates a version of solid gold that is not only harder, stronger, and more durable but also gold in a lighter color.
In the case of white gold, the white metals used to dilute the intensity of the yellow gold, leaving you with an off-white version of gold. Of course, the intensity of the resultant color depends on the percentage of gold incorporated in the alloy. So, in the case of 14k white gold, pure gold makes up 14 parts of the solid gold, and the remaining 10 parts are made of white metals like silver, palladium, silver, and in other cases, zinc or nickel – this translates to 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% metal alloys.
But the creation of white gold doesn’t stop here, especially because even with the alloying of pure gold with white metals, you’d still find that the resultant color is more yellow than that nice lustrous white that white gold is known for.
The reason for this is that after the alloying, the resultant ‘white gold’ is coated in the lustrous white metal. Rhodium is a precious metal that belongs in the same metal family as platinum. Besides adding color, rhodium plating enhances the durability and the strength of the white gold, leaving you with jewelry boasting the most lustrous white sheen.
The 14k gold making process
The creation of white gold, whether 14k white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold, results from the blending of 58.3% pure gold and 41.7% other metal alloys. ( we make a full gold alloy mixing ratio table, read more here!
To create the different types of 14k gold, different metals are mixed with the 14parts of pure gold, but in different proportions.
More copper mixed with gold and other metals give you 14k gold, more silver, and a small amount of copper leaves you with yellow gold and more silver/ white metals, and no copper plus rhodium plating results in white gold.
The Mohs Scale of 14K gold
14k gold has a hardness level of between 3 and 4 on the Mohs scale, which means that it’s harder than pure gold, which scores 2.5 on the Mohs scale.
Does 14K gold scratch easily? Why?
Despite the higher percentage of metal alloys like copper, silver, palladium, zinc, etc., all metals intended to harden the gold, the hardness of 14k gold is not that high, and it’s incomparable with the hardness of pure copper, platinum, etc.
The softness from the gold means that the 14k gold would still get scratched by other metals that are harder than 14k gold, for example, 10k gold or titanium. 14K gold isn’t 100% resistant to scratching, scuffing, or bending.
However, 14k gold is comparably harder than 18k gold, 22k, or 24k gold, thanks to the alloying process, which introduces a large percentage of harder metals to the 14 parts of pure gold, leaving you with a relatively hard and durable version of gold.
Tips for protecting your 14K jewelry (How to avoid scratching)
- Be mindful of the jewelry whenever you have it on, especially if you have to stack it with other kinds of jewelry, especially the ones made of harder metals
- Remove the jewelry when engaging in high-contact activities like working out or sports
- Don’t expose the jewelry to chlorine, so don’t go swimming with your 14k gold ring. Note that chlorine will weaken the structure of gold, and the ring will eventually break if it’s exposed to chlorine over time
- Remove your jewelry or cover it when cleaning
- Always wear your jewelry last when you’re getting ready, and take off the jewelry off first.
- Take off your 14k jewelry before you hop in the shower and when bathing
- Don’t go swimming in the ocean/ sea with the jewelry
- Don’t expose the jewelry to direct sunlight
- Avoid keeping the ring or bracelet on when in contact with cold water
14K gold scratches, but at a comparably slower rate than the other high-value version of gold, like 18k gold.
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.