Gold purity is measured in karats or “carats”. The higher the number of carats, the more pure gold an alloy contains. 9K gold, 14K gold, 18K gold are indications you can often find to describe jewelry pieces. But what does this mean?
Pure or fine gold is called "24 carat". This gold consists of 99.9% gold. 24K gold used to be used in jewelry, but this is hardly ever the case anymore. Why not? Not to deceive jewelers lovers by using less gold to create their jewelry pieces, but because gold is a soft metal. This means pure gold is easily malleable and therefore easily deformable.
18-carat gold is an alloy of 18 parts pure gold and 6 parts other metals such as silver, copper, platinum, palladium or cadmium. It is the proportion of these other metals that determines the colour of the gold - white gold, rose gold, red gold or green gold.
18K gold is a very common alloy in classic western jewelry.
14-karat gold is becoming more and more popular. It is composed of 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts other metals - including the same metals mentioned above. Like 18 karat gold, 14 karat gold is available in a variety of colors.
The advantage of 14 carat gold is that it is slightly stronger than 18 carat gold, since less of the malleable gold is present and more of the harder metals. It is therefore an ideal alloy for very fine jewelry for instance. Expert eyes can detect a difference in luster between a 14 karat and an 18 karat gold ring, but most people do not notice any difference.
9 parts pure gold and 15 parts other metals: 9-karat gold is the alloy with the lowest gold content used in jewelry. 9-karat gold jewelry has been an emerging trend in recent years and makes the precious metal more accessible. A piece of 9-carat gold jewellery will be less valuable than a piece of 18-carat gold jewelry which will contain a higher proportion of pure gold.
Besides these different gold alloys, other metal compositions are used in jewelry to create gold rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Vermeil, gold-plated and gold-filled are some of the materials and methods used. We’ll tell you more about these very soon!