Karat is the unit used to measure the amount of pure gold in any given piece of gold jewellery. The Karat system measures the amount of pure gold to other alloys in a piece of Gold jewellery. The greater the Karat of Gold, the purer the metal.
How many Karats is pure gold?
24 Karat is Pure Gold. This means the 24 parts out of 24 parts of the metal is pure gold. So unless you see 24 Karat Gold on your jewellery, it likely contains other alloys that make up part of it.
Why isn’t all gold jewellery pure gold?
Firstly, 24 Karat Gold is 100% pure and isn’t used very often in jewellery making because it is extremely soft to work with. It can bend and warp easily, so it isn’t a good choice for jewellery that needs to retain its shape.
Secondly, because it is 100% pure gold it has a very bright colour, almost with an orange tinge. This isn’t a very attractive metal colour for rings, necklaces, bracelets, or earrings.
Thirdly, it is very expensive. It contains nearly twice as much pure gold as 14K Gold does so it isn’t very affordable for many people. In saying that, it would be a great choice for those who want to sell gold for cash in the future.
In the western world, 24K Gold isn’t very popular in jewellery. It is more popular in China and other eastern markets where it is used to make traditional wedding jewellery such as bangles, or in gold bars.
What is the difference between 10K, 14K, 18K and 24K?
Below is a chart to show you the differences in Karats and the purity of each metal.
As you can see, not all Gold is the same. The less Gold, the more durable, due to the other alloys inside the metal.
Why have I chosen to use 14K Gold-filled?
Personally, I love the colour of 14K Gold. It is warm and buttery and still contains over 50% pure gold. The other metals that are mixed with the pure gold are usually 29% copper and 13% pure silver. This mix of metals creates a beautifully robust and attractive material to use in jewellery. 14K Gold is also the most common gold to access around the world for jewellery making.
While it is personal preference, any hand stamped piece of jewellery needs to be hard enough to always retain the characters that have been hammered onto it. I find 14K Gold-filled to be a lovely middle ground. Its very affordable and still has all the qualities of solid Gold. It is durable, attractive, classic and just as precious.
If you’d like to know more about what Gold-filled means, my other blog post answers that. It’s called, “What is the difference between Gold-plated and Gold-filled?”