Gold is one of the most popular metals for making jewelry, with its unique color and inherent value. But what distinguishes the various types of gold out there? If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between 9kt gold, 14kt gold, 18kt gold, and 22kt gold, read on to find out.
Carats vs. Karats
Before we dive into the differences between 9kt, 14kt, 18kt, and 22kt gold, it is worth noting that while the terms carats and karats both relate to gold, they refer to different things. Carat refers to the weight of diamonds and gemstones, while karat (often abbreviated as “kt” or “K”) refers to the purity or fineness of gold.
For example, 24K gold is pure gold, which means it is 99.9% gold and 0.1% other metals (such as copper, silver, or nickel). However, 24K gold is very soft and malleable, making it unsuitable for jewelry that will be worn regularly. Therefore, it is typically alloyed with other metals to make it more robust and durable.
9kt gold is an alloy made up of 37.5% pure gold and 62.5% other metals. It is the lowest karat of gold that can be legally sold as gold in the UK and some other countries, as it contains only 9 parts pure gold out of 24.
Due to its lower gold content, 9ct gold is more affordable than higher karats, and therefore it is often used for “everyday” jewelry such as wedding bands, earrings, and bracelets. It is also more durable than higher carat golds, making it a good choice for jewelry that will be worn frequently.
However, the lower gold content also means that 9kt gold has a different color than higher carats. It has a less “gold” color, appearing more bronze or yellowish in hue.
14kt gold, also known as 585 gold, is an alloy made up of 58.5% pure gold and 41.5% other metals. This gold content makes it slightly more expensive than 9kt gold, but still a more affordable option than 18kt or 22kt gold.
14kt gold is harder and more durable than 9kt gold, making it ideal for delicate jewelry like necklaces and bracelets. It is also a popular choice for engagement rings as it is more durable than higher carat golds and still has a good “gold” color.
18kt gold, also known as 750 gold, is an alloy made up of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals. It is the most commonly used karat of gold in high-end jewelry, as it has a good balance of gold content and durability.
Due to its higher gold content, 18kt gold has a rich, warm color that is unmistakably gold. It is also softer and more malleable than 9kt or 14kt gold, making it ideal for intricate and detailed jewelry such as rings and pendants.
22kt gold, also known as 916 gold, is an alloy made up of 91.67% pure gold and 8.33% other metals. It is the highest karat of gold that is commonly used for jewelry, offering the most luxurious and “pure” gold appearance.
However, due to its high purity, 22kt gold is softer and more susceptible to scratches and wear than lower carats of gold. Therefore, it is not recommended for jewelry that will be worn frequently, or for delicate designs that require a great deal of detail.
To Sum Up…
9kt gold, 14kt gold, 18kt gold, and 22kt gold all have their unique characteristics, depending on your preferences, budget, and the type of jewelry you are looking for. The lower carats offer affordability and durability, while higher carats provide a more luxurious look and feel. Ultimately, the right choice for you will depend on your personal taste and priorities.
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