Typically, ct, which stands for carat, is used in the industry to quantify the weight of a piece of jewelry, while K, which stands for karat, is used as a shorthand for gold purity. 10K, 14K, 18K, and 24K gold purity is the most general. Each grade of gold purity has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, ranging from hardness and toughness to the possibility of skin irritation in certain grades of gold purity.

10K gold is the most durable of the four gold grades; 14K is purer but also more durable; 18K gold is the purest type of gold in most jewelry and is typically found in engagement rings, and 24K gold is pure gold. Except for traditional Chinese-style pieces, 24K gold is not used for most jewelry because it is very delicate and malleable.



  • ADVANTAGES: bright as a single accessory, the most valuable, a form of investment
  • DISADVANTAGES: the most expensive, soft, and easy to scratch

More than 99.99 percent gold is used to make 24K gold. Since 24 of the 24 pieces of the metal are gold, it is given the grade of 24K. However, since no one can promise that a piece of gold contains nothing more, such as tiny ashes, the composition is normally labeled as 99.99 percent. There are a number of reasons why 24K gold is not used in jewelry production.

First and foremost, it is very gentle. Since pure gold is fine and soft, it is easily bent and warped, making it a poor choice for jewelry that must keep its form. Since pure gold is vulnerable to scratching, precious gold jewelry will easily become scuffed and unsightly.

Second, it's really red. The color of true gold is lighter and more orange than the gold classification that most people use in jewelry. As a result, it is seldom used as an accent metal in rings, watches, or other gold jewelry.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Purity: 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, Which Is Right for You?

Third, it is very costly. Since the gold content of pure gold is almost twice that of 14K gold (the most common kind of gold found in jewelry in the United States), the cost of using this metal to make jewelry is much higher. At the same time, this is the most efficient way to market gold in the future for cash.

Because of these reasons, wedding rings and other forms of wearable jewelry made of 24K gold are uncommon in the United States and other Western countries.

In China and other Asian markets, however, 24K gold is more common. 24K gold is commonly used in traditional Chinese wedding jewelry, such as bracelets, gold bars, and other collectible pieces.



  • ADVANTAGES: as pure as possible in most wearing jewelry but still practical, looks great
  • DISADVANTAGES: expensive and easy to scratch, but still harder than 24K gold

The composition of 18K gold is 75% gold and 25% alloy. The 18K designation refers to the fact that 18 of the 24 pieces that make up gold are pure gold. The purest source of gold used in rings, watches, and other wearable jewelry is 18K gold.

Since 18K gold is almost pure, it won't irritate your skin if you're allergic to nickel.

In short, 18K gold looks amazing, and most people equate it with gold jewelry and the classic yellow look.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Purity: 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, Which Is Right for You?

However, there are several drawbacks to 18K gold. First and foremost, 18K gold jewelry is easy to scratch due to its purity. 18K gold would not be the right option if you work in sports or in an area where the ring may come into contact with a rough surface.

Similar to the index of 14K gold rings that look similar but aren't as vivid or saturated, 18K gold rings normally cost twice as much as 14K gold rings.

Overall, 18K gold is a decent option if you want pure gold jewelry that is also functional. It is not the best option, however, if you need a very sturdy ring or have a small budget.



  • ADVANTAGES: the perfect combination of purity, durability, and value for money
  • DISADVANTAGES: more expensive than 10K gold, but still quite affordable

14K gold is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7 percent alloy, or 14 carats out of a total of 24 carats. In the United States, the United Kingdom, and other Western countries/regions, 14K gold is the most common gold for rings and other wearable jewelry.

Around 90% of all engagement and wedding rings are made of 14K gold, which is a decent option if you're not sure which kind of gold to get.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Purity: 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, Which Is Right for You?

14K gold is a rich color with a classic gold appearance that most consumers want in rings and other jewelry. The hue is much less saturated and harsh than 18K gold, making it an ideal choice if you want rich and eye-catching gold jewelry that isn't too yellow.

The key benefits of 14K gold over 18K gold are longevity and affordability. Rings and other jewelry made of 14K gold are more durable than 18K gold rings and jewelry. This kind of gold is a good choice if you're concerned with wear and bruises.

14K gold is also more economical than 18K gold, so it is a decent all-around option if you want a mix of consistency, longevity, and value for money.

The only possible drawback to 14K gold is that it will irritate the eyes. Because 14K gold has a higher alloy content than 18K gold, if you are allergic to copper, silver, nickel, zinc, or iron, it can sometimes cause skin itchiness and discomfort.



  • ADVANTAGES: affordable and more durable than other types of gold
  • DISADVANTAGES: light yellow, more likely to cause metal allergies

10K gold is made up of 41.7 percent gold and 58.3% alloy, or 10 out of 24 pieces of gold. 10K gold is the most affordable and long-lasting gold found in jewelry. It's still the most impure gold that's still legal in the US and most other countries.

While 10K gold is commonly used in earrings and other inexpensive jewelry, it is not a popular metal for engagement rings.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Purity: 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, Which Is Right for You?

Aesthetically speaking, the appearance of 10K gold is lighter. When compared to 14K or 18K gold, the yellow tone is noticeably lacking. Some people like the visual effects of light color, while others like the dark gold tones used in 14K and 18K gold jewelry.

The cheapest grade of gold in the United States is 10K gold, which is a decent option if you're looking for rings or other jewelry on a budget.

Since 10K gold contains the least amount of gold of any kind of gold, it is also the most durable. It is difficult to scrape, wear, or bend jewelry made of 10K gold, so it is worth remembering if you work in an area where the jewelry's hard surface might be scratched or damaged.

The biggest drawback of 10K gold is that it may cause skin inflammation if you are allergic to such metals. If you're allergic to copper, silver, nickel, zinc, or iron, wearing them all the time can cause itchiness, itching, and even dermatitis.



THERE IS NO "BEST" TYPE OF GOLD FOR EVERYONE. Please bear certain considerations in mind when choosing gold for engagement rings or other jewelry, such as your skin sensitivity, profession, activity level, and artistic preference.

It's also crucial to keep an eye on the budget. While the 18K ring is beautiful, it is almost always more expensive than comparable 14K or 10K gold rings.

In most cases, 14K gold offers the perfect balance of rich color, long longevity, and affordable price. This style of gold is currently the most common option for engagement rings and other fine jewelry, accounting for 90% of the US gold jewelry industry.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold Purity: 24K, 18K, 14K, 10K, Which Is Right for You?

18K gold might be a reasonable option if you like luxurious pieces and don't mind sacrificing longevity for finer gold. Please keep in mind that this gold is very delicate and can quickly scratch whether you or your partner works or exercises with it.

Engagement rings are almost never made of 10K gold. Since the cost differential between 14K and 10K gold is so little, well-known jewelers have replaced 14K as the most cost-effective choice for engagement rings.

When you see a 10K gold engagement ring, it's normally a sign that the diamond or other gemstones won't fulfill your expectations.

April 22, 2021 — David S.