There are 4 main types of gold alloys in the jewelry world, and all these pieces are essentially made of solid gold, which is alloyed with each other.
However, it is not enough for you to know about the options; you also need to know which types of gold alloys will best suit your skin and budget while also allowing you to wear that gold jewelry without worrying about the metal getting dinged or worse.
In this article, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about the ideal type of gold that makes the perfect everyday solid gold jewelry.
But first, the basics.
Common gold jewelry we often heard about
The lowest quality type of solid gold that is often used in jewelry is 10k (karat) gold. This type of gold is created with different metals that are alloyed with, specifically, 41.7% pure gold that is alloyed with 58.3% metal alloys, corresponding to 10 parts of pure gold out of the total 24k parts.
What this composition means is that 10k gold is the lowest or the least purest quality of pure solid gold; it is also the least expensive type of solid gold on the market but also the most durable gold alloy that is perfect for everyday wear.
As an impure version of gold, it is also the type of gold deemed the only legally acceptable standard gold in the US and the rest of the world.
10k gold is mainly used to make affordable jewelry options like earrings, but it is hardly used for engagement rings or other kinds of fine jewelry.
With this in mind, most of the high-end jewelry brands do not deal in or offer any 10k gold pieces because of the low content of gold, as well as the fact that the low-karat gold tends to carry many allergens, often, nickel that causes the skin’s irritation.
Copper, silver, iron, and zinc are all alloyed with gold; these metals are not skin-friendly, so we don’t recommend buying 10k gold jewelry.
14K gold is the most common type of gold alloy used in jewelry making in mid and high-tier jewelry companies and stores.
Its quality is above average thanks to the fact that it is made of 58.3% pure gold and only 41.7% metal alloys, corresponding to 14 out of 24 parts of gold that make up the 14k gold.
Thanks to its makeup and the advantages it offers, not to mention its relative affordability, 14k gold is quite common in the US, the UK, and the rest of the western world.
Today, at least 90% of all the wedding and engagement rings on the market are made of 14k gold, and this metal is a go-to choice for most people looking for earrings that offer a perfect balance of quality and value for money.
14K gold also boasts a richness in color and the classic color that gold jewelry is known for, and what you see on rings, earrings, and necklaces, among other kinds of jewelry.
And thanks to the relatively high percentage of metal alloys in 14k gold, this type of solid gold is quite durable and significantly affordable.
For individuals looking for the finest quality gold jewelry, the options that look elegant while remaining practical, 18k gold is the most common option to settle on.
18k gold is made of 75% pure gold that is alloyed with 25% alloys; which means that it gets its name from the fact that 18k gold contains pure gold in 18 out of 24 parts, making it a purer form of gold that is used to make practical, durable, and high-quality jewelry.
Thanks to its elegance and practicality, 18k gold is often used for watches, rings, and earrings, among other varieties of wearable jewelry.
Away from its versatility, 18k gold also stands out because of its rich, bright yellow appearance.
And because it’s almost pure, 18k gold is mainly recommended for individuals with sensitive skin and skin allergies because the metals it is alloyed with are often free of nickel and other metal allergens.
Despite boasting great features, 18k gold is imperfect, and the biggest caveat associated with this gold alloy is the fact that it is not as durable.
It may develop bumps and dents whenever you bump the ring on a hard surface, which would mean that this type of gold will not be ideal if you wear it on your hand when it comes in contact with hard surfaces. There is also the fact that 18k gold is quite expensive.
A less popular type of gold, 22k gold, is used to make durable and high-value diamonds. It is relatively durable, and the bright orange or yellowish color of 22k jewelry is what makes this gold stand out. It is not durable, though, and is ideally worn for decorative reasons.
It’s made of 22 parts pure gold, and the remaining 2 parts are made using metal alloys like zinc, silver, and nickel, among others – meaning that 22k gold is made of 91.67% pure gold. It is soft and elegantly designed, but it’s quite expensive.
24K pure gold
24K gold, also known as pure gold, can be defined as the type of gold in its purest possible forms. This version of gold is quite soft, malleable, and comes in bright orange.
But despite the fact that pure gold is quite lustrous and boasts an elegant finish, this version of gold is not usually used in jewelry making.
24K pure gold is only sold in the form of bars and coins, and when it is carved into jewelry, this type of solid gold jewelry is not meant to be worn, but it is often meant to be kept safe in a jewelry box as an heirloom or some form of investment.
24K gold gets its name because it is made of 24 parts out of 24 parts pure metal. The purity level of gold is measured in Karatage, and karats or the karat system measures or points to the purity level of pure gold.
Karat unit (k) is different from carat unit (c), which represents the unit mass used to determine the weight of the diamonds. Generally, the overall quality of gold is measured based on the 24 parts because that is the total parts in which the pure gold is measured.
In other words, 24k gold is free of all other metal alloys like nickel, silver, copper, and palladium. It is non-alloyed, and it is 99.99% pure gold.
In terms of the color of 24k gold, pure gold can be easily identified by its eye-catching, bright, orange-yellow gold.
And because 24k gold is not alloyed with other metals, there is no 24k rose gold or white gold on the market; it has never been.
What karat is gold best for everyday use?
18K gold is ideal for everyday jewelry because of its high-purity level, the practical design of the jewelry, and its elegant finishes.
It also comes in three different colors – rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold, among other colors like green and black. Though expensive, it is also quite valuable.
Why is 18K gold best for everyday use?
- First, it boasts elegant finishes, which means it looks excellent on whoever wears them.
- It is also quite versatile, and there are different options for everyone, whether you want white gold, yellow gold, or the rose gold 18k jewelry
- 18k gold alloys are also ideal for most people because this version of solid gold is quite durable and lasts a while as the metals strengthen it’s alloyed with, like sterling silver/silver.
- It is quite valuable and worth the money invested in buying this jewelry
Some Quick Tips for buying 18K gold jewelry
Before you buy 18k gold jewelry, here are some important considerations that you must keep in mind:
- Understand what the different purity levels of gold mean and what 18k gold represents, exactly
- Determine its use. If you want to buy elegant jewelry that you can wear occasionally, then 18k jewelry will be ideal for you. However, if you want something more durable, say a ring that you can wear daily, then the 14k and 10k gold options would work for you. 18K gold jewelry is ideal for special events and ceremonies because of its elegance and the metal’s rarity.
- Determine if the metal will be safe on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you should avoid gold alloyed with nickel, and 18k yellow gold is the perfect option for you because it doesn’t have any nickel.
- Solid gold or gold vermeils? You should beware of these differences, bearing in mind that solid gold is much more valuable and expensive than vermeil.
- As long as you get 18k gold, you will choose from three color options, white, yellow, green, and rose gold.
- Also, buy the jewelry from a reputable vendor or jewelry
- Look out for the hallmarks – 18k or 750
- Know the type of base metal used – the common base metal used for 18k gold is sterling silver, denoted by S.Silver/Silver or Sterling Silver.
For the best quality gold jewelry, understanding the karatage details is crucial.
This metal is durable, and 18k gold is the ideal option for anyone looking for elegantly designed gold jewelry that is worth the investment.
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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.