Not everything that glitters is gold.
This statement has never been truer before. To most people, gold is the alpha and omega of glory, splendor, and pomp. It is a symbol of success and power. But, did you know that any gold isn’t just good because it’s gold? It’s true. In fact, pure gold jewelry is arguably non-existent. And, some of the gold you’ve come across out there is probably half gold. In this article, we are going to answer multiple questions including why don’t pure gold rings exist.
You may have encountered the terms “10k, 14k and 18k gold” in your jewelry-shopping endeavors. These terms can be intimidating to most shoppers; this is quite understandable. However, we are here to ensure you make any mistake choosing either of these three options.
Before we proceed, allow us to define the ‘K’ in 10k, 14k, and 18k gold. K stands for Karat. Karat is a standard term that describes gold’s purity content. You should note that gold’s ‘Karat’ is completely different from diamond’s ‘Carat’. When it comes to diamonds, carat is used to depict weight. Now that we’ve drawn this vital distinction, let us now dive into the differences between 10k, 14k, and 18k gold.
Related: Should You Finance Your Wedding Ring?
What Are Differences Between 10k, 14k, and 18k Gold?
10k, 14k, and 18k gold options have numerous unique characteristics that draw them apart. The difference in their gold purity is just one distinction you may use to distinguish between these three gold options. Below are more factors you can use to draw a clear distinction:
The most outstanding difference between these three karat options is the color of each. In a nutshell, gold with higher karat tends to be more yellow because gold in its purest form has a yellow color. This means that 10k will look slightly lighter in color when compared to 14k and 18k gold; while 18k gold will have a richer color than the other two options. 24k is usually brighter than all these lower purity options but its brightness is so intense that it makes jewelry possess an unattractive hue.
Pure gold, which logic says should contain 100% gold, is 24 karats. From 24k, the gold purity decreases as Karats decrease. 18k is 75% pure, 14k is 58.3% pure, and 10k is 41.7% pure. Apart from the percentage of pure gold in any jewelry, the rest includes metal alloys incorporated to lend a degree of durability and wear&tear resilience to the gold.
You should note that although 24k is pure gold, it is also quite soft and malleable. This is why it isn’t ideal in jewelry. It may be prestigious and of high value, but you are likely to get disappointed just as fast due to scratching or deformation.
Generally, the price of gold increases as karats increase. This means that 18k is pricier than 14k or 10k gold options. However, you should note that the difference between 10k and 14k is usually so negligible that most jewelers refrain from using 10k gold.
The durability of yellow gold comes from metal alloys. This means that as the purity of gold increases in jewelry, durability decreases. Therefore, of the three gold options, 10k is logically the most durable, while 18k is more susceptible to wear and tear.
After looking at the differences between 10k, 14k, and 18k gold options, the next big question is where you can buy gold wedding rings or diamond rings.
Where to Buy Gold Wedding Rings or Diamond Rings
We know most people have little experience with gold wedding rings or diamond rings. This is why you may have a problem deciding where to buy gold wedding rings or diamond rings. This is why most people opt for brick-and-mortar shops run by experienced jewelers. They considered this the safest option. Plus, we know the setting of jewelry shops tucked in old buildings in the high-end of most towns kind of lends credibility to the pieces of jewelry they have on sale.
However, as much as the above speculation may be true and classic, it’s also very possible to buy pieces of jewelry and precious stones online today. The internet has so much to offer to any interested party. You don’t necessarily have to find a physical shop to buy your gold wedding ring or diamond ring in this modern era. You can simply opt to shop online. The online market offers you a wider variety of gold wedding rings and diamond rings at a cheaper price.
Below are a few of the best places where you can hope to buy truly unique and authentic gold wedding rings or diamond rings. These are the best options if you fear getting ripped off or receiving low-quality jewelry.
Best Places to Buy Gold Wedding Rings
James Allen is the best online retailer for you to purchase either a gold wedding ring or a diamond ring. One of the things that will make you fall in love with James Allen is they offer a wide variety of ring settings. Their ring settings come in 14k or 18k yellow gold, 14k or 18k white gold, rose gold, and platinum.
And, when it comes to diamond rings, James Allen lets you go through all the diamonds they have on videos that are 360º, high-def. , and possible to magnify 40X.
James Allen also offers you a lifetime warranty, 24/7 support from diamond experts, and smooth returns with a 100% money-back guarantee.
- Read my review – https://www.diamondcuts.com/james-allen-review/
Blue Nile Diamonds
Blue Nile Diamonds enjoys a popularity that closely rivals that of James Allen. They boast vast experience in handling gem stones, and their team of experts is always looking for new ways to make you happy with their services.
They also offer your 24/7 customer service and a return policy of up to 30 days. You also get a lifetime warranty with Blue Nile Diamonds.
- Read my review – https://www.diamondcuts.com/blue-nile-reviews/
If you want a unique engagement ring, Etsy is one of the best options out there. They have a site with an entire section dedicated to engagement and wedding rings. You cannot fail to get a ring that matches your preferences and falls within your budget on Etsy.
One of the reasons why Gemist is immensely popular is they are the first digital platform to let clients custom-design and try their rings before making a purchase. Plus, clients get to do this in the comfort of their own homes.
They are easy to access, their prices are relatively affordable and their customer support services are wonderful.
When it comes to diamonds, Zales has been popular since 1924. This retailer has managed to retain relevance for all this time by availing of astounding varieties of wedding and engagement rings. Their prices are also flexible so most people working with a limited budget also get a chance to shop on Zales.
Catbird blends wonderful designs with unique styling and looks to give you the engagement ring of your dreams. This independent brand makes jewelry that can astound anyone. One of the things that makes Catbird a unique brand is its signature collections. It has 3 signature collections that include Fairy Lights & Snow Queens, Swans, and Classic Brand.
Pros and Cons of 10K Yellow Gold
This is the most affordable of all the other options. And, due to a large part of it being metal alloys, 10k yellow gold is also the most durable. Like we mentioned before, 10k yellow gold has a gold content of 41.7%. The rest usually contains 6.3% copper and 52% silver.
However, 10k yellow gold isn’t preferred by most high-quality jewelers because it tarnishes faster. Below are the pros and cons of 10k yellow gold.
• Most people consider yellow gold the classic and traditional option for engagement & wedding rings; and other jewelry. Its yellow allure lends that classic look to various jewelry.
• Yellow gold gives jewelry that is vintage-inspired a classier look.
• Unlike jewelry made from white gold, those made from yellow gold don’t need a dipping since yellow gold lacks a rhodium coating.
• It is very affordable-. 10k yellow gold is the cheapest of the three due to low purity. This makes it the best option for anyone working with a limited budget.
• It is more durable due to low gold content- Therefore, engagement or wedding rings made out of 10k yellow gold are unlikely to scratch or dent easily.
• Most high-end jewelers don’t have 10k yellow gold wedding rings or other jewelry. Therefore, you won’t find high-quality jewelry with 10k yellow gold content.
• It has a muted and dull yellow color due to low gold content. This makes it less appealing and quite bland as compared to 14k and 18k.
• It can trigger skin allergies in some people due to the presence of impurities. It will irritate your skin, especially if you have a copper allergy.
• More likely to tarnish- 10k yellow gold has a low gold content and a higher alloy content. This makes it more susceptible to tarnishing as compared to 14k and 18k yellow gold options.
Pros and Cons of 14K Yellow Gold
14k is the most popular of the three karat options. Most people prefer it because it offers a perfect blend that balances value and beauty. Plus, the metal alloys present in 14k yellow gold give it more durability. In fact, 14k gold is used to make approximately 90% of all wedding rings in the US.
14K gold has four colors: yellow gold, white gold, black gold, and rose gold. 14k yellow gold is preferred as the most traditional metal to use in jewelry. Compared to 10k yellow gold, 14k gold also has a warmth and beauty that the former lacks.
Some of the metals used in alloying 14k gold include zinc, silver, copper, and nickel. You can easily identify yellow gold through the following hallmarks: 14k, 583, or 587. We have listed the pros and cons of yellow gold below:
• More affordable than 18k or 24k yellow gold- Engagement rings, wedding bands and other jewelry made from 14k gold are infamous with most people because they are more affordable than other higher karat options.
• Sturdier and more durable than pure gold- As we mentioned before, metal alloys are used to make pure gold more studier. Although 14k doesn’t have a higher percentage of alloys than 10k gold, it is still stronger than any of the purer options. 14k also doesn’t tarnish as easily as 10k yellow gold.
• Has a warm yellow color- Yellow gold has a warm yellow color that is more pronounced in 14k gold than in 10k gold.
• Traditional and classic- Most people tend to prefer yellow gold due to its rich yellow color. Since 10k gold has a light color that is more white than yellow, 14k gold attracts most people with its richer allure.
• It’s half gold, half metal alloys- As you already know, 14k gold isn’t pure. And, although it’s this impurity that gives 14k yellow gold sturdier, some people might argue that it isn’t as prestigious as 18k 0r 24k yellow gold.
• Lacks the warm allure of 18k 0r 24k yellow gold- 18k and 24k yellow gold have a rich yellow that makes 14k gold a bit dull in comparison.
• Its value is slightly lower than that of purer alloys of yellow gold- Engagement rings and other jewelry tend to get more expensive as the content of gold increases. As a result, 14k yellow gold is less valuable than 18k or 24k.
We hope that we have given you a clear insight regarding the pros and cons of 14K yellow gold.
Pros and Cons of 18K Yellow Gold
Among all engagement bands, wedding rings and jewelry made of gold, 18k gold jewelry and rings usually have the highest gold content. Remember, we said 24k gold exists but isn’t used in making jewelry; especially wedding or engagement rings.
This is the best option for you if you want prestigious, high-end wedding bands, engagement rings, or other jewelry. This makes it more expensive. Of course, its high gold content also makes 18k gold the least disposed to tarnish but it also makes it softer and less sturdy.
You can recognize 18k gold from a stamp that contains either of the following hallmarks: 18k, 18kt, 18ct, 750, or 0.75. 18k yellow gold is the best option for you if you want prestige without overtly compromising durability. However, we advise you to go for 18k jewelry that you won’t wear consistently.
Below are the pros and cons of 18k yellow gold:
• High gold content- 18k yellow gold has a higher gold content than 10k and 14k. This makes it more valuable.
• Richer color- 18k has a rich yellow hue that many love. It makes jewelry possess an antique classic look always preferred by jewelry enthusiasts.
• More durable than 24k yellow gold- As we mentioned before, 24k yellow gold is pure and cannot be used in jewelry since it’s very soft and malleable. The metal alloys in 18k give it more durability than 24k yellow gold.
• Prestigious- 18k yellow gold is more prestigious and valuable than 14k and 10k options. This is due to its high gold content and warm yellow allure.
• Less likely to trigger allergic reactions- people allergic to impurities are less likely to have their skins irritated by 18k gold. This is so because it has higher purity than 10k or 14k gold.
• Softer and less durable- 18k yellow gold is softer than 14k or 10k due to a lower percentage of metal alloys. This makes wedding bands, engagement rings, and other jewelry less durable and more likely to dent or deform with ease.
• More expensive than 10k and 14k- The price of yellow gold increases with higher purity. This makes 18k pricier as compared to 10k and 14k yellow gold.
Now that we have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of 10k, 14k, and 18 yellow gold, let us dive into an in-depth difference of their respective purities.
Difference in Their Gold Purity
Each of the three karat options has a different percentage of purity. This is what makes them different in value, durability, color, and price.
10k gold is only 41.7% pure. This means that less than half its weight is actually gold. 14k, on the other hand, has a 58.3% purity level; and 18k is 75% pure.
Why Don’t Pure Gold Rings Exist
Pure gold rings are virtually unheard of. We know you may have asked yourself ” why don’t pure gold rings exist” at least once in your lifetime. The detailed answer to this question is included below.
24k is pure 100% gold. However, you are unlikely to find a ring that is 24k because pure gold, as we mentioned before, has high malleability and is very soft. This means a wedding or engagement ring made of 24k gold will bend or scratch with surprising ease. If you need a ring with high practicality; one that you can wear daily without having to worry about deformation or scratching, go for the lower karat options.
Don’t fall for the 24k ‘prestige’ trap. No need to have something priceless that will scratch within a few days. The durability and resilience of yellow gold is improved using metal alloys. The alloys used to make yellow gold sturdier include platinum, nickel, and palladium.
We need to point out that pure gold rings do exist. But, they are very few in existence, extremely rare, and used mainly during certain ceremonies. 24k gold is mostly included in earrings because, unlike rings, earrings dangle where there is a minimal likelihood for wear and tear.
Here is a breakdown of why pure gold rings are not popular:
• Pure gold is extremely soft and malleable- Which means that pure gold can warp, bend or deform very easily. The same applies to wedding bands, engagement rings, and other pieces of jewelry made from 24k yellow gold. Plus, it scratches with annoying ease.
• 24k gold is too bright- As compared to gold with lower purity, 24k has a richer yellow-orange color that makes it too bright. This brightness is considered a bit much and unattractive by most jewelry enthusiasts.
• It’s very expensive- 24k is very expensive since it contains more gold content than all the other options. Picture this, 24k has approximately twice the gold content of 14k; and 14k is the most popular option in the US.
What about 1k gold?
The Federal Trade Commission weakened its reign on the threshold of what can pass as gold and as a result, 1k jewelry is now available in today’s market. This is the cheapest option available. However, as the adage has it, ‘cheap is always expensive.
We’d advise you to refrain from purchasing 1k jewelry if you can. Allow us to go as far as pointing out that most people consider any piece of jewelry with less than 10k as junk. 1k gold is more likely to tarnish, contains so many alloys that an allergic reaction is almost impossible to escape, and lacks the finesse possessed by gold jewelry.
Which Gold Type Best Suits You
When it comes to gold, there is no one-size-fits-all. Your choice of gold should factor in your budget limit, disposition towards allergic reactions, preference, and what kind of jewelry you’re looking for.
However, 14k gold is more popular than 10k because it provides an ideal balance between value, sturdiness, and general appeal. This is why most Americans love it. It is the perfect option for engagement rings and wedding bands since it can handle wear&tear quite well. 14k gold should be your go-to gold option if you want value for your money.
If you’re after prestige and luxury the 18k gold option is the right one for you. Just beware; this option is pricier than 10k and 14k.
You should also note that most jewelers refrain from using 10k gold because the price difference between 10k and 14k is quite negligible. The most preferred option is 14k gold. If you happen across a 10k engagement ring or wedding band, it’s best to assume it doesn’t live up to the standards you’d prefer.
If you’re buying a ring for your partner, consult them to find out what alloys they may be allergic to.