A question I often get asked from my customers is about the purity level of the gold to be used while designing a custom piece of jewellery. For that matter, the question is equally pertinent and routinely asked while buying pre-made jewellery pieces. Do I go for 14k, 18K, 21K, 22K, 24K? The answer is “it depends”. What purity level of gold to use depends on a variety of factors; durability, affordability, and design being the top three.
Gold purity is measured in a unit called Karat. Since in its purest form, gold is a very soft metal, it is a common practise to combine other metals, called alloys (like silver, copper, etc.) to make it harder and more durable. Karat measures the ratio of “pure gold” to these other alloys.
Here is a list of most common types of Gold aka Karat that are widely used in jewellery:
24K – highest level of gold purity – 100% Gold
22K – 92% Gold and 8% alloys
21K – 87.5% Gold and 12.5% alloys
18K – 75% Gold and 25% alloys
14K – 58% Gold and 42% alloys
10K – 42 % Gold and 58% alloys
The next question is which Karat Gold to use? The answer depends on following main factors:
- Durability – the higher the purity of gold, the softer it will be. So, if jewellery is made using 24K Gold, it will be very soft and easily breakable . While 24K Gold may make a great option to buy from an investment perspective, it is not ideal for making jewellery for just that reason.
2. Affordability – the higher the purity of the gold, the higher will be the price. Depending on your budget, you may need to choose a lower Karat gold; thus the price point becomes another major criteria while picking the Gold Karat for your jewellery.
3. Design – The design of your jewelry can also be a deciding factor of what Karat Gold to use. For example, Gemstones like diamond require a certain level of hardness of the metal to hold it strongly. For that matter, 18K or 14K Gold becomes a typical go to choice. Pure gold also tends to be more Yellow than less pure gold. Therefore 18K is more yellow than 14K – which can also be a factor depending on the design and the look of the jewelry.
These are some of the common factors to consider when deciding on the “Karat” of Gold to use / buy. I am always happy to help guide you further and help you make the best decision when buying your favourite jewelry that with time will become a cherished memory!