14k gold vs 18k gold is one of those things jewelers are asked about constantly when people buy precious jewelry metals. What does it really mean and what are the differences between 14k gold vs 18k gold? Thankfully, the answer to these questions is quite simple. We are here to lay out all you need to know about the difference between 14k gold and 18k gold. Read on to finally put an end to the confusion.

What does the K in 14k Gold vs 18k Gold Mean?

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The k behind these numbers is shorthand for karats. Karats indicate the purity of a piece of gold jewelry. Are you wondering why that matters when we are talking about solid gold jewelry? You are not the only one.

Solid gold jewelry is not pure gold. This is because gold is a soft metal and is very fragile in its purest form. In fact, it is too soft to use in jewelry because it would scratch in no time.

To ensure that your gold jewelry is durable, jewelry makers mix pure gold with other stronger metals. Commonly used metals are silver, copper, nickel, and zinc. Basically, your solid gold jewelry piece is still a metal alloy.

The karats indicate how many parts pure gold are in the jewelry piece compared to the other metals. 24k refers to pure gold, there are 24 parts of gold present. (You will not find jewelry that is 24k, by the way). All other karats are a fraction of the total 24 karats. So, 14k gold has 14 parts gold and 18k gold has 18 parts gold. The remaining parts, 10 and 6 respectively, are other metals.

Solid gold jewelry pieces usually have a minuscule inscription of their gold karat. Alternatively, jewelry designers might mark the jewelry piece with the percentage of gold. 14k gold is 58.3% is sometimes also noted as 583 gold. Similarly, 18k gold is also known as 750 gold because 18 parts of 24 are 75%.

This is the main difference between 14k gold vs 18k gold. 18k gold has a higher proportion of pure gold in the jewelry piece compared to 14k gold.

The durability of 14k Gold vs 18k Gold

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The karats of a solid gold jewelry piece indicate how resistant the piece is to scratches. The more karats, the more sensitive the jewelry piece. This is why wedding bands, which need to withstand a whole lot during your lifetime, are usually 14k gold. 14k gold is more suitable for more frequently worn pieces or for a person that has an active lifestyle.

Do note that even lower karats will still have some wear and tear over time. Gold needs some TLC every once in a while and maybe some polishing every few years.

14k Gold vs 18k Gold in Color

Visually, there is not a big difference between 14k gold vs 18k gold. Someone with a trained eye might notice a slight difference in coloring, though. 14k gold tends to be a lighter cooler hue while 18k gold usually has warmer and more yellow tones.

The difference in color in 14k gold vs 18k gold becomes more noticeable when the jewelry pieces incorporate gemstones. The color intensity of the gemstone is influenced by how cool or warm the gold is. Generally, we prefer a 14k gold for pieces with gemstones. This is because yellow gold can drown out warm colored semi-precious stones like amber. Also, brightly colored gemstones like sapphires or opals stand out better against a lighter metal.

The Value of 14k Gold vs 18k Gold

There is only a slight difference in value in 14k gold vs 18k gold. 18k gold jewelry is generally more valuable because there is more pure gold present in the piece. However, which semi-precious stones or precious stones are incorporated into the design will influence the value too. Don’t dismiss 14k gold jewelry pieces because they have a lower percentage of gold. You should also consider the value of its durability compared to 18k gold.

Which Is Right For You?

There are differences between 14k gold vs 18k gold. It is up to you to decide to what extent these differences influences your choice in jewelry.

If you want a more durable and affordable piece that colors well with gemstones, then 14k gold is the way to go. If you prefer warmer tones then choose 18k gold. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to taste.

Those are the differences that you need to know when comparing 14k gold vs 18k gold jewelry pieces. The different qualities of both karats are not life-changing but it might make that little difference that lets you enjoy your jewelry piece more. For more information on gold jewelry, continue reading our other golden articles.

To view Ana Luisa’s unique 14k gold jewelry collections, visit our online jewelry shop.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.