Grading Your Gold: 18k Versus 24k

As you search for the perfect piece of gold jewelry, whether it’s for a special occasion or just a self-care treat, you’ve likely stumbled across the term “karat” more times than you can count.

If you’ve heard the term “quality over quantity,” you know that the cheapest option isn’t always the better choice, and jewelry is no exception, considering that a beautiful gold piece has the potential to last for generations if carefully cared for. Thus, understanding the difference between types of gold can ensure you leave the jewelry store with confidence.

So, before you add that new pair of earrings to your cart or head to checkout, we’ve provided just a little more information on the difference between 18k and 24k gold to help you make the right decision and choose a high-quality ring or necklace that won’t break the bank.

Cracking the Code on Karats

With floating terms like “karat” and “carat,” where the only difference is a subtle change in consonants, it can be confusing to identify the importance of these labels as it pertains to your jewelry buying experience.

While a carat (c) is a measurement of weight for a diamond, a karat (k) is used to identify the purity of gold— or rather, the amount of gold a specific jewelry item was made with.

Originating from medieval currency known as a mark, the term karat was coined after other metals, such as copper, were added to pure gold, producing a hard alloy that pure gold was too soft to make.

18k Versus 24k: What’s the Difference?

Now that you have some clarity about the karat, you may be wondering what the numbers you see popping up in your jewelry search have to do with differentiating gold.

Well, just like a dollar can be broken into pennies and dimes, gold can be broken down into 24 parts, determining the percentage of gold a piece of metal is made of. Thus, pure gold has 24 of 24 parts, or more commonly known as 24k. 18k, on the other hand, is only 18/24 parts gold, with alloys such as nickel and silver filling in the other 25%.

While you may associate pure gold with the highest quality, just like a mark, jewelry made of 24k gold is too soft and can be easily scratched, lowering the quality of the piece. Additionally, pure gold is far more expensive than other metals, meaning it might not be feasible if you’re on a budget. That said, if you’re looking to sell your gold, gravitating towards more karats could mean more cash in the long run.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Sometimes, a tight budget can stop you from purchasing the piece of jewelry you’re eying in the glass case at your local jewelry shop. But understanding the reason behind those price tags may help you make a better decision on the right piece for you.

One advantage to 18k gold, in particular, is its rich yellow appearance, which is often what most think of when picturing an engagement ring, watches, or other pieces of jewelry. However, because 18k gold is so close to 24k, it is costly to buy and may not be in your price range. The good news is that other options such as 14k and 10k gold are more affordable and durable, although they might not be as aesthetically pleasing to some buyers.

Ultimately, the “right” choice in terms of jewelry comes down to personal taste, which is why it’s essential to evaluate your options so that you can find a long-lasting piece that fits within your budget and style.

Here at Hemming Jewelers, we are committed to helping you find the perfect gold piece that will become a high-quality investment in the future. Located in Downtown Jacksonville, our shop not only offers new and estate jewelry you can choose from but also specializes in custom-made pieces if you are looking for something more unique!

Contact us at 904-354-5959 today to get all of your questions answered, as well as to find the perfect addition to your jewelry collection!