18k gold is one of the best versions of gold, and if you are shopping for the best of the finest gold jewelry, you won’t go wrong with 18k gold. Essentially, 18k gold is one of the most valuable gold alloys on the market, and whether you are looking for an engagement ring for you or your fiancé or if you are looking for elegant earrings to gift your love to celebrate your anniversary, you will love 18k gold.
18k gold doesn’t just look great when used to make plain jewelry, but it’s a great fit for your diamond settings, and you’d only have to choose the right diamond cut to match your style. It’s worth noting that although other versions of gold like 14k gold can be used to set diamonds and other gemstones, most jewelers prefer and recommend 18k solid gold for setting the gold jewelry. The only catch is that between 14k and 18k gold (two of the most competitive versions of gold), 18k is more valuable and more expensive than 14k gold, but it’s less durable and more prone to scratching/ scuff marks.
That said, if you are stuck between 14k and 18k engagement rings, keep in mind that your choice is essentially between the bolder 14k gold and the subtler 18k gold.
But this isn’t all you need to know about 18k gold; there is a lot more – and you will be happy to know that you have more than one type of 18k gold to choose from, and the choice won’t be too hard to make because of the different colors of 18k gold, and the fact that some colors look better on some skin tones and others don’t.
Keep reading to learn more about 18k gold!
What is 18k gold?
18 karat (18k) gold can be defined as the gold alloy that is made of 75% pure gold and metal alloys making up 25% of the gold alloy. The reason why this gold alloy is known as 18k gold has to do with the fact that the gold is made of 18 parts pure gold out of the 24 parts that make up pure gold. The 18k gold is, as a result, regarded as the purest form of gold used to make jewelry.
Why use only 18 parts of the 24 parts of pure gold?
Well, at 24 parts, pure gold is 99.99% pure but also too soft and extremely malleable, two features that make the gold unideal for use in jewelry. So, in as much as there is gold jewerly that’s actually crafted out of 24k gold, these types of gold are too soft and not ideal for everyday wear. 24k gold and even the 91.6% 22k gold are prone to scratching, and they will have numerous scuff marks after a very short time. As a result, they are not ideal for use in jewelry making. It’s also not a common jewelry metal option in the western world, though more rampant in India and other Asian countries where the high-value versions of gold are used to create jewelry that is only worn on special occasions. The jewelry made of 24k gold is also ideal for persons looking to use the jewelry as investment tools.
Also, 24k and 22k gold are not used in jewelry because of the color – they are too bright yellow with orange hues and not ideal for jewelry making.
Thanks to the 75% pure gold and 25% metal alloy mix, 18k gold is used to make elegant engagement rings, watches, earrings, and other types/ styles of wearable gold jewelry. Its popularity comes from the fact that 18k gold sports this impressive rich, yellow color that makes the best-looking jewelry. On top of this, the high purity level of gold means that there is a very low risk of the 18k gold jewelry causing skin irritation. So, if you have nickel allergies or sensitive skin, 18k gold will save you from metal hypersensitivity reactions.
Despite all the desirable characteristics of 18k gold, it’s an imperfect metal that gets scratched easily, which means that if you lead an active lifestyle or your work involves constant contact with hard surfaces or where you could bump the jewelry easily, 18k gold might not be the best gold metal option for your jewelry. This could also mean that you have to actively choose to put away your 18k ring if you have to get this fine piece of jewelry.
The other catch is the high price tag, as mentioned above.
With all the necessary information about 18k gold shared above, let’s look at the three types of 18k gold and how they compare.
What is 18k white gold?
18k white gold has a lustrous white color, and it is the result of a blend of 75% pure gold with 25% other metals – specifically, silver, palladium, and in other cases, nickel. This blend is, unfortunately, not as white as white gold is, and the reason for this is that the 18k white gold blend has to be plated with white metal, specifically rhodium. The rhodium plating gives the white gold its lustrous white color and also boosts its durability while preventing corrosion.
Given the need for rhodium plating, it’s safe to note that there really is nothing like pure white gold – the blend of pure gold with the white metals leaves you with an off-white metal, meaning that white gold is just an alloy of gold, the karat number notwithstanding.
Pros and cons of 18K white gold
- White gold is at the moment, the most popular version of gold used for engagement rings – next to white gold is yellow gold
- 18k white gold cost less than alternative metals like platinum
- The white metals added to gold to create gold lend their strength and durability to white gold, making it largely durable than other 18k gold jewelry (yellow gold or rose gold). The silver, palladium, and nickel make it quite durable, while the rhodium plating enhances its scratch resistance.
- The neutral color of 18k white gold means that it easily complements the brilliant white diamonds, and the diamonds won’t take on a yellow hue. This also means that you have to find brilliant white diamonds for the 18k white gold.
- White gold looks great for persons with fair or rosy/ pale skin tones
- It’s expensive
- The presence of nickel in most white gold alloys means there is always a risk of allergic reactions that will manifest as contact dermatitis, especially for individuals who have sensitive skin and struggle with metal hypersensitivity reactions.
- The rhodium plating that strengthens the white gold will wear out over time, and the jewelry would have to be redipped in rhodium for the maintenance of that lustrous white finish and for corrosion/ scratch resistance.
What is 18k Rose Gold?
18K rose gold is simple but elegant and slowly becoming a popular choice for wedding or engagement rings. It is quite tasteful and mostly suitable for persons with warmer skin tones.
18K rose gold is, therefore, this beautiful blend of pure gold (75%) and copper (25%). The name for this alloy was adopted from the rose, red, and pink shades of gold obtained when gold is mixed with copper in different concentrations. The shade of pink or rose gold will, therefore, vary depending on the percentage of copper in the metal alloys – more copper leaves you with deeper pink and red hues.
For the most part, 18k rose gold contains 75% pure gold, 22.25% copper, and only 2.75% silver – this is the case for the subtler champagne rose 18k rose gold. But for the deeper red variety, red gold, the proportions of the gold and copper are 75% and 25%, respectively. For a lighter hue of 18k rose gold, the jewelers will mix 75% pure gold with less copper and a little more than 2.75% silver.
Pros and cons of 18K rose gold
- Rose gold is a very popular and stylish jewelry choice that is loved by men and women thanks to its romantic, warm, pinkish-red hue.
- The 18k gold boasts a high purity level of gold, which means that the 18k rose gold is more valuable than 14k rose gold.
- The relatively inexpensiveness of copper makes 18k rose gold cheaper than 18k yellow gold (a higher percentage of silver is needed to create 18k yellow gold, which increases its price) or 18k white gold (silver and palladium, as well as rhodium, are costly).
- 18K rose gold is durable, harder, and tougher than both yellow gold or white gold because copper is more durable and stronger than the alloys that make these other versions of 18k gold.
- Rose gold beautifully complements most skin tones, including pale skin tones, darker skin, and olive skin tones.
- There is a high risk of allergies for people allergic to copper
- 18k rose gold isn’t used for engagement rings widely
What is 18k Yellow Gold?
The type of 18k gold is 18k yellow gold. It is one of the most popular versions of gold material used for engagement and wedding rings, especially because it allows for easy setting of diamonds and other precious stones.
18k yellow gold is a blend of 75% pure gold mixed with 25% silver – this is often the case, but there is also a large variety of rose gold jewelry that is made of 75% pure gold, which is mixed with equal parts silver and copper – 12.5% each. This often creates deeper yellow 18k yellow gold but is more durable. There is also the 18k yellow gold that results from the use of 15% copper and 10% silver. These variations leave you with 18k yellow gold with not just different color intensities but also durability levels and varying levels of scratch resistance.
Pros and cons of 18K yellow gold
- 18k yellow gold makes gold jewelry that boasts the purest possible; it boasts the best hue of yellow, which is why 18k yellow gold is a great option for people looking for jewelry that look more classic and conventional.
- The high purity level of gold in 18k yellow gold means that the gold color for the jewelry is rich, warm, and also easier to appreciate. The color stands out more, unlike the duller colors in 10k and 14k yellow gold.
- Great color for vintage-style jewelry. This is also why yellow gold is traditionally the go-to color for engagement rings, as well as wedding bands.
- It doesn’t require constant maintenance for color retention; it just needs to be polished from time to time for the gold jewelry to retain its color.
- The lack of rhodium plating and the high content of pure gold makes 18k yellow gold very malleable, therefore easier to manipulate, creating different styles and setting options.
- Yellow gold jewelry will complement the darker and olive skin tones beautifully, meaning it’s a great color option for you or your fiancé if you are olive or dark-skinned.
- The warm yellow/ gold tone matches lower-grade diamonds that might be colored easily, and it hides the yellow in cheaper colored diamonds.
- Polishing and cleaning has to be done regularly for the maintenance of the yellow gold appearance of the jewelry
- It might be more durable than 22k or 24k gold, but it still dents easily and is susceptible to scratching
18k Gold – Purity
18K gold is 75% pure gold. The remaining 25% is made of copper and silver in varying proportions – 12.5% for both alloys, 15% copper and 10% silver, or just 25% silver.
Is 18kgold worth anything? (How Much?)
Wondering what you’d get from your 18k gold jewelry if you were to sell this jewelry? First, 18k gold is valuable – it contains 75% pure gold, and it’s a fairly good investment that will earn you some money if you ever choose to sell the jewelry. Today, 18k gold goes for $41.17 per gram.
Is 18k Gold Good for Jewelry?
18K gold is good for jewelry. The color is a favorite for most people; it’s relatively durable and allows for the most beautiful settings. The risk of allergies of also low for 18k gold and jewelry of this gold alloy is regarded as the best. It can be molded into different shapes, resizing is easy, and there is a style for everyone.
Should you buy 18k gold Jewelry?
Since there is a style of 18k gold jewelry for everyone and the fact that the jewelry would double as a form of investment given the high percentage of pure gold, buying 18k gold jewelry is definitely a good idea. Just make sure that you choose the right color of 18k gold for your skin tone or your fiancé’s.
But remember that it’s not the best kind of jewelry to keep on your finger if you lead an active lifestyle or work on your hands too often.
18K gold contains 75% pure gold, and its use in jewelry means that it’s the purest possible version of gold you could wear. The high percentage of pure gold also makes it a valuable investment. It’s definitely worth more than 14k gold.