What's Better- 18K or 14K Gold?
If you're looking for a luxurious piece of yellow gold jewelry that will last a lifetime, the answer to this question can determine whether or not you get your money's worth. 18K and 14K gold may look equal from afar, but up close, they have their distinct differences. So which type of gold is better? Read on to find out!
What's the Difference Between 14K and 18K Gold Jewelry?
This is because natural, 100% yellow gold is a soft, flexible metal unsuitable for jewelry use. It is unsuitable because jewelry made of 100% gold easily scratches, dents, and warps (not ideal for an everyday piece such as an engagement ring). Instead, to produce a strong, durable gold alloy, it is alloyed combined with other metals. This blending of metals also modifies its gold color.
Instead of the warm gold color most people associate with yellow gold jewelry; 100% gold is more orange in color. This metal color is often shunned by jewelry consumers, who perceive it as "too saturated." Other metals with varying colors must be put into the alloy to modify the color of 100% gold and get it closer to the golden hue we are accustomed to. These alloys can include white gold (to whiten the metal) and copper (also responsible for creating a pinker rose gold).
As a result, modern, wearable gold jewelry contains gold alloyed with other metals. The purity of this gold is measured using the karat system, which tells you what proportion of any gold is pure. The gold karatage is broken up into 24 parts. Pure gold, for example, is 24 karat gold because it is made up of 24 parts of pure gold.
Pros & Cons of 14 Karat and 18 Karat Gold Jewelry:
14K and 18K gold are both popular choices for engagement ring settings. Both offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, ranging from appearance to cost, durability, and other factors. They are listed below.
Advantages of 14K Gold:
- 14K gold has a few advantages. First, 14k gold is an affordable option. Because pure gold makes up 58.3% of the metal content of 14K gold, an engagement ring made from 14K gold will usually cost slightly less than the same ring made from 18K gold because it contains less gold.
- Second, 14K gold is fairly durable. 100% gold is quite a soft, malleable metal that scratches, bends, and warps easily. This means that the purer a gold engagement ring is, the easier it is to scratch, bend, or warp. 14k gold is durable because it contains harder metals like copper or nickel.
- While 14K gold isn’t as durable as platinum or palladium, it’s more durable than 18k gold and suitable for everyday wear.
- Third, while 14K gold isn’t as pure as 18K gold, its relatively high pure gold content means that it retains the warmth and rich color that people associate with traditional gold. Although it can look slightly dull when compared side-by-side with 18K gold, 14K gold looks stunning on its own.
- Finally, in the field of engagement rings, 14K gold is ubiquitous and easily available. It is by far the most common form of gold for engagement rings, accounting for around 90% of all rings sold in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries. This makes it an easy option to find.
Disadvantages of 14K Gold:
- First, to some people, 14K gold isn’t quite as attractive as 18K gold. Although it has a rich and impressive color, the appearance of 14K gold isn’t quite as strong as that of 18K gold due to its lower gold purity level.
- Second, while skin allergies are unusual with either grade of gold, 14K gold is somewhat more likely than 18K gold to cause them. If you are allergic to silver, copper, nickel, zinc, or iron, 18K gold is a safer option.
Advantages of 18k Gold:
- The main benefit of 18K gold is its purity. As the purest form of gold that’s practical to use in an engagement ring, an 18K gold ring offers the gorgeous appearance of near-pure gold with most of the practical benefits of an alloy.
- In 18K yellow or rose gold, which exhibits a warmer, more brilliant tone than 14K gold.
- The higher purity level of 18K gold also makes it less prone to cause skin allergies than 14K or 10K gold. Although nickel and other alloy metals are still present in 18K gold in trace amounts, the likelihood of developing contact dermatitis or other allergic responses is quite low.
Disadvantages of 18k Gold:
- Unfortunately, 18K gold’s biggest advantage — its purity (it contains more gold than 14k) — is also its biggest disadvantage. Due to its higher percentage of pure gold, 18K gold is softer and easier to scratch or dent than 14K gold.
- The price of 18K gold is another disadvantage. As we just said above, 18K gold is more expensive than 14K gold, with most 18K gold engagement rings costing 150% to 200% more than their 14K counterparts.
Ultimately, the choice between 14K and 18K gold comes down to personal preference. Both types of gold are beautiful and have their own advantages and disadvantages.
If you’re looking for gold jewelry that looks stunning but is also durable enough to last a long time, 14K gold could be a good choice. On the other hand, if you want jewelry that looks like pure gold and won’t trigger skin allergies, 18K gold might be the better choice.
Whatever you decide to do, take your time and shop around for the best possible option for your budget and needs. Good luck!