Tag Archives: karat weights of gold

The difference between 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k gold.

Weekly Wednesday Jewelry Lesson

The karat weight of gold is simply a measure of how pure a piece of gold is or how pure the gold used to make a piece of jewelry is.  Jewelry is normally made in 10k, 14k or 18k gold, because 24k gold, which is pure gold, is too soft to hold the structural integrity of the piece of jewelry.  Jewelers make the 24k gold less soft and easier to make jewelry from by adding alloys such as silver, copper, zinc, nickel and others to the pure gold.

When you have 10k gold you have a metal that is 10 parts gold and 14 parts alloys.  This makes the product approximately 41% gold.  A product that is 14k gold has 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloys and is approximately 58% gold.  Finally a piece of jewelry that is made in 18k gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys, which means it has 75% gold in it.

There are a few ways to tell the difference between 10k, 14k, and 18k.  The easiest way is to look for a stamp on the gold somewhere.  The stamp will say 18k or 18kt or it may even say 750 instead of 18k.  In Europe, most gold is stamped with the percentage of the product that is gold, so when you see a stamp that is 585 it is 14k and a stamp that is 750 it is 18k.  You can also tell by looking at the metal itself.  The deeper the yellow of the metal, then the more gold there is in it.  You have to be careful, because some jewelry is made of a base metal that is coated in gold and it has a deep yellow look, but it has basically no gold in it at all.


There is also white gold, which is coated with Rhodium after it is made.  White gold has a natural color which is a whitish yellow and the rhodium is used to make it bright white.  When making white gold most jewelry manufactures use nickel or palladium as the alloys to turn the yellow gold to a whiter metal.  They do that because nickel and palladium are naturally occurring white metals.   As the ring is worn the rhodium will wear off and need to be reapplied every 6-12 months.

This is our fun facts for the week, we hope you learned a little something about the karat weights of gold!


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