Differences in Karats
You may have heard of 24, 18, 16, 14, or even 10 Karat gold, but what does that mean? Gold in its purest form is 24 Karats. This means that the metal you’re looking at is 100% Gold. The largest percentage of jewelry sold in the United States starts at 18k (18 Karat). The reason for this is that pure gold is extremely soft and scratches very easily and is generally not considered acceptable for jewelry.
In order to create a beautiful piece that will stand up to everyday life, gold is mixed with other metals to strengthen and create a wide range of color variations. Rose Gold, for example, mixes copper with gold to create a truly breathtaking and unique shade of gold that can set you apart from the crowd. White gold is mixed with palladium, nickel, and sometimes zinc to turn the ordinarily yellow gold into a clean looking white metal. White gold still maintains some of the natural yellow that comes with the metal and is rhodium-plated to create that wonderful shiny white that is desired.
Breakdown of the Differences in Karats
- 24K – 99.7% Gold
- 18K – 75% pure gold (the equation is 18/24 or 18 parts gold per 24 parts, it can be marked as 18K or 750)
- 14k – 58% pure gold (same equation 14/24, can be marked as 14k or 585)
- 10k – 41% pure gold (again, same equation 10/24)