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What’s The Best Karat Of Gold? A Complete Guide

Gold in any form is an investment. It is also one of the most popular metal choices for jewelry. However, there’s more to it than just the beautiful yellow necklace, bracelet, or ring. You also have to consider what karat you’d like it to be — 10k, 14k, 18k, or 24k.

Do these numbers sound familiar? These numbers significantly impact your jewelry’s overall appearance, quality, and feel. Keep reading to learn all about what’s the best karat of gold to suit your needs.

Understanding Gold Purity

Purity

In its purest form, gold is a soft and malleable metal that can easily be marked and scratched. Pure gold is thus not recommended for jewelry.

So, to make it possible for you to wear gold in the form of jewelry, it is usually alloyed with some other metals. Some common metals it is combined with include copper, nickel, palladium, silver, and zinc. The properties of these elements, such as their strength and flexibility, are then incorporated into the gold, providing you with stronger jewelry.

This purity of gold is indicated in the form of karat.

What’s A Karat?

Karat

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A karat is the measure of the fineness and purity of gold. The fineness of gold characterizes the weight of all the fine metals it contains in proportion to the total weight. This includes all the alloyed or mixed metals and all other impurities incorporated in the gold.

How To Measure A Karat Of Gold

Measure

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The gold’s karat is commonly categorized as 24k, 22k, 14k, and 10k.

When we talk about 24-karat gold, it indicates the metal is 100% gold with no other metals. But again, this is impossible to be turned into jewelry, given how delicate and soft pure gold is. So. most of the gold pieces of jewelry are between 10k and 22k gold.

You can also measure the purity of your gold in percentages. So, if you want to convert karats into a percentage, divide the number of karat by 24 and then multiply by 100.

For example, to determine the gold percentage of your 22k ring, divide 22 by 24. You will get the quotient of 0.9166, then multiply this with 100 to get 91.66% — this is the purity of your gold.

Another way to measure the karat of gold is by checking its hallmark or the karat stamp that all jewelers must mark. In this case, if your jewelry has 18k printed on it, it indicates that that piece of jewelry contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal alloyed into it to come up with a sum of 24.

What Are The Different Karats? (10k, 14k, 18k, 24k)

Properties Of 10k Gold

10k

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Considered the lowest gold alloy, 10k gold is made of 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloyed metals. It has a pale yellow hue, which is expected since it has the least amount of gold.

One of the strongest characteristics of 10k gold is its durability and strength, primarily thanks to the other metals incorporated into the mix. It is impressive when handling wear and tear and is almost impossible to damage.

It is also the least expensive, which makes it popular for making affordable jewelry such as earrings.

Properties Of 14k Gold

14k

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Made up of 58% gold and 42% alloyed metals, 14k gold is the ideal type of gold for everyday wear and is recommended for wedding and engagement rings.

This karat of gold can withstand daily wear and tear, thanks to the durable metals that are alloyed into it like copper, nickel, zinc, and sometimes with rhodium plating. So, you can easily wear it while doing manual labor and indulging in regular sports or exercise without worrying that it’ll get damaged.

It is also resistant to rust, corrosion, and tarnish, making it the most durable option among all gold karats. It is also economically affordable without sacrificing the timeless elegance of gold.

Properties Of 18k Gold

18k

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It is made of 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals like copper and silver and is the most traditional mix done in gold, especially when set with a diamond and other gemstones. Jewelry made of 18k gold has a deeper yellow color, reminiscent of a golden sunset, with a unique, elegant, and subtle shine.

Often referred to as yellow gold, 18K yellow gold has a melting point of 1675°F. It is more durable than 24k gold because it is considered harder and less vulnerable to being bent out of shape or scratched.

Properties Of 24k Gold

24k

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This is pure gold, and thus has the highest karat of gold. Many assume that 24k is the best gold in the market, but it is not always the case. With 24k, your jewelry is always at risk of being scratched and bent, so it is pretty impractical to wear daily. However, it does make the perfect jewelry for a red-carpet event.

This is known as 99.9% gold in the market and has a bright yellow color. It is the most pliable among all gold and also the most expensive. It is also a perfect choice for family heirlooms.

Does A Higher Karat Mean Higher Quality Gold?

A higher karat means a higher amount of gold incorporated into the piece of jewelry, but it doesn’t always equate to a higher quality of gold.

A higher karat is more valuable because of its gold content, but this doesn’t automatically mean that it is of better quality.

When it comes to jewelry, 24k is not used at all because it is too soft. So, when it comes to the quality of jewelry, you can get better quality by choosing 14k and 18k gold.

What Do The Stamps Mean?

Stamp

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Stamps are the markings on your gold pieces. For rings, the stamp is often found on the inside of the band, while bracelets and chains have their stamps either on the actual clasp or next to the lock. All vendors selling gold jewelry are mandated by law to have this stamp to indicate the jewelry’s purity.

If you can’t find the stamp on your gold piece, it may be because it wore off with time or due to wear and tear, or that it was already created before the existing law.

Some stamps can be straightforward, indicating 10k, 18k, and so forth, but some jewelry is stamped with three numbers instead of the “K” mark. The three numbers are also indicative of the gold’s purity.
For example, stamp 417 is interpreted as 41.7% gold or 10 karats, while 750 is equivalent to 75% gold content or 18k.

Which Karat Gold Lasts The Longest?

Among all gold karats, 10k gold lasts the longest because it has more alloyed metals than pure gold. Metals like copper, zinc, and silver are all known for their durability, which gets infused into gold when combined.

What’s The Best Karat Of Gold For You?

It depends on your intended purpose. If you want gold jewelry that you can wear all day while you go about your daily activities, then 14k gold is the best choice.

But, if you are attending a special event and want to look and feel extra special (and rich), go for the purest form — the 24k gold.

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