The wonderful thing about investing in gold jewelry is that you have options to suit your preference. Whether your priority is durability or value, or perhaps a mix of both, gold is a diverse and universally treasured accessory.
Recently, we broke down all things 14K gold jewelry. Now, let’s climb up a few karats on the gold jewelry latter and talk about 18K gold.
Let’s review some key differences regarding 14K gold vs. 18K gold.
First of all, 18K gold contains a higher percentage of pure gold than 14K gold, which increases its value and price. Unlike 14K gold, the most popular jewelry metal for wedding bands, 18K gold is more commonly worn for special occasions.
Does that mean you can’t wear an 18K gold engagement ring? Does 18k gold tarnish? What about 18k gold price?
Read on as we highlight exactly what is 18K gold jewelry, evaluate the pros and cons and whether or not you should buy it.
Gold is measured by purity. The amount of pure gold used in gold jewelry dictates its karatage. The higher the amount of pure gold used, the higher the karatage. The most pure gold jewelry is 24 karats, meaning 24 parts of the piece of jewelry are gold. Essentially, this equates to 100% pure gold.
Sure, pure gold sounds great! Remember how pure gold is super soft? Not exactly great for something you’ll be wearing every day. In its purest form, gold is malleable, meaning it changes shape easily.
That’s why it’s important to understand karats and purity. What is the composition for 18K gold?
18K gold is made with 75% pure gold and 25% alloyed metals containing either copper, nickel, zinc or silver. Buying 18K gold is a great choice as it contains the highest amount of pure gold without compromising quality. Thanks to that 25% alloy in the mix, 18K gold is a suitable jewelry metal.
Before you purchase an 18K gold engagement ring, let’s chat more about what to expect.
Compared to other gold jewelry, 18K gold is purer in composition and color. As such, it’s more valued and esteemed as fine jewelry.
Because more pure gold is used, the color is stronger and more intense. However, 18K white gold or rose gold will differ in color as rhodium plating is used for white gold, and copper is used in the alloy mixture to create 18K rose gold. Despite the color, there will always be a faint deep yellow undertone in 18K gold jewelry.
Another benefit of 18K gold jewelry is that it’s hypoallergenic. Some metal alloys contain nickel, which is a known allergen. However, with only 25% metal alloy used in 18K gold, the percentage of nickel is extremely minimal which reduces the risk of allergic reactions.
The pros of 18K gold are plenty, however there are some cons to consider before buying.
Remember how pure gold is soft and malleable? Well, this means that the more pure gold used, the less durable it is. The smaller the percentage of metal alloy used, the softer the material, the more likely it is to tarnish, scratch or bend.
Additionally, buying 18K gold is more expensive than 10K or 14K gold because it contains more pure gold. Consider the fact that 10K gold contains only 40% gold compared to 18K gold’s 75%. Which item do you think is more expensive, the piece made mostly of alloys or the piece made mostly of gold? Yep--18K gold is going to have a steeper price tag.
In this case--you’re getting more gold for your dollar, but it depends on what you value as a buyer.
All gold jewelry must be stamped with a hallmark to indicate its karatage. Hallmarks are an easy way for buyers to identify exactly what they’re purchasing. To identify 18K gold, look for a stamp that reads 18K or 18Kt.
18K gold can also be stamped to denote its percentage with a mark of either 70 or 0.75. These numbers indicate that the gold jewelry is 75% gold, AKA 18K gold.
The value of gold is measured by its purity. Therefore, gold metals with a higher concentration of alloys will generally be less valuable. Because 18K gold contains 75% pure gold, it’s value is higher than 14K or 10K gold jewelry.
Gold value generally aligns with the standard gold market value. However, the appraisal of 18K gold differs from the actual selling price.
As a rule of thumb: the higher the karat, the higher the gold purity, the higher the value.
When shopping online for gold jewelry, it’s important to consider your lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle, you’ll want to buy gold that’s durable and doesn’t easily tarnish or bend. In this case, 14K gold is an excellent choice. However, if you’re intent on buying 18K gold, you can preserve it by wearing it for special occasions or taking it off during exercise or laborious activities.
Due to the softness of 18K gold, it’s commonly worn as a special event piece. Conversely, 14K gold is popularly used for engagement rings and wedding bands as it’s more durable. Does this mean you can’t wear an 18K gold engagement ring? Certainly not. However, you’ll have to take greater care to avoid scratching or bending 18K gold rings.
Now that we’ve covered all the logistics, let’s get to the fun part: shopping for 18K gold jewelry! 18K gold is available in a variety of jewelry items, from gold chains to necklaces to earrings and wedding bands. A popular choice is an 18K gold necklace and earring set for special events. In fact, necklaces and earrings are an excellent way to showcase your occasion jewelry.
Bottom line: buying gold is a personal preference, and if you value purity above all, 18K gold is a gorgeous investment you’ll wear for a lifetime.
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