What is 14K Gold?

what is 14k gold14K is one of the most popular types of gold. It’s an affordable, durable, and beautiful option to consider for jewelry, making it the most popular gold karatage in many places like the US.

Today, more people are looking to invest in fine gold jewelry than ever. However, with so many variations of gold available, from 10K gold to 24K gold, gold plated, gold filled, white gold, and many more in between — how do you know which to buy? If you’re just embarking on your search, it’s the perfect time to learn more about what 14K gold is! 

With so many stunning 14K gold jewelry pieces to choose from, finding one that fits your unique aesthetic is a fun and effortless adventure.

But buying smart means doing your research. That’s where we come in!

Today, we’re exploring what 14K gold is, what to expect when you start shopping, and why 14K gold jewelry might be the prime choice for you!

what is 14k gold guide

First, What is 14K Gold?

The gold used in fine jewelry is rarely ever 100 percent pure gold. Instead, the metal comes in various purity levels, 14K gold being one of them. As with all gold, the higher the karatage (written as K or Kt), the higher the gold content. 

So, how is 14K gold made? It’s made by combining pure gold with other metals, creating a much stronger metal alloy. It can incorporate zinc, nickel, silver, or copper and is approximately 60% pure gold. Since pure gold is very soft, the additional metals make 14K gold more durable.

Thanks to its durability, 14K gold is good quality for everyday wear. This quality, along with its many variations, is part of what makes it such a popular gold for jewelry. 

Speaking of variations…

The Many Colors of 14K Gold

How popular is 14K gold? 14K gold is the most common type of gold used for wearable fine jewelry, especially engagement and wedding rings. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of U.S. wedding bands are made of 14K gold.

That’s because, like the people who wear it, 14K gold comes in many different shades — each beautiful and complimentary to all kinds of jewelry designs. As for how they come to be, that all depends on which metals and proportions each alloy mixture uses.

Let’s dive a bit more into the different colors of 14K gold and see which appeals to you most.

14k yellow gold earrings with sapphires and diamonds

14K Yellow Gold

It’s easy to assume that 14K yellow gold is simply 14K gold’s natural state, but you’d only be partially right. You see, when pure (24K) gold is mined for jewelry, it is indeed yellowish in color; however, it needs an alloy to make it hard enough for regular wear.

So what is 14K yellow gold made of? A mixture of pure gold, copper, silver, and sometimes nickel creates its warm yellow hue. Compared to 18K or 24K gold, 14K gold looks slightly more muted due to the lower percentage of pure gold used in the alloy.

14k white gold ring with pink spinel and diamond

14K White Gold

Want the elegant, icy look of silver but with greater durability and value? 14K white gold might be the superior option for you. 

14K white gold results from a combination of pure gold and other metals such as silver, palladium, and nickel. However, a soft, faint hint of yellow usually remains. In order to give 14K white gold a more brilliant, pure white appearance, it’s often coated with rhodium to solidify its signature luster.

However, rhodium plating on white gold will require some upkeep over time, as daily wear can expose its golden base. 

14k rose gold ring with amethyst cabochon

14K Rose Gold

Although relatively newer to the jewelry scene, rose gold’s popularity has soared in recent years. The romantic, rosy hue of 14K rose gold results from combining pure gold with copper. The higher the proportion of copper, the rosier the shade.

If you favor a warm-colored gold metal but aren’t sure which one is right for you, our buyer’s guide to rose gold vs. yellow gold can help you narrow down your pick!

Moving on, how do you know if 14K gold is real

14k gold hallmark stamp on ring with ruby, pearl and diamond

Identifying 14K Gold Stamps

Part of knowing what 14K gold is means knowing how to distinguish it from other types of gold. 

Every metal alloy, be it silver or gold, has certified markers denoting the metal’s purity. In the U.S. and many countries worldwide, jewelers and retailers are legally obligated to disclose the karatage of gold jewelry with a stamp called a “hallmark.”  

While typically small and hidden, you should be able to see the letters “14K” and/or “585” somewhere on your 14K gold jewelry. The “14K” stamp is self-explanatory, while the “585” stamp is another way to indicate the percentage of pure gold in the jewelry (i.e., 58.5%). 

Though stamps vary across jewelry designs, they all indicate the same fact: that your jewelry is certifiably 14K gold.

But is 14K gold worth anything? Of course! 

14k gold ring with ruby, sapphire and diamonds. Certified.

14K Gold Value

To assess worth, you’d have to revisit the quantity of pure gold in 14K gold. As we discussed earlier, 14K gold contains about 60% pure gold. After a bit of research on the current market price for gold, you’ll garner a better estimate of the value of 60% pure gold. As of October 2022, the value of 14K gold in the US is around $31 per gram. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to resell your 14K gold jewelry at that same market price, though. It’s simply a baseline of what the actual gold is currently valued at. This is usually the “melt price” — just the value of the raw metals, not factoring in other add-ons like labor, manufacturing, and overhead costs. 

So if you’re wondering what's better: 14K or 18K gold? for instance — you’ll want to think of it in terms of karats. Remember: the higher the karatage, the more pure gold content there is; therefore, the higher the value.

With respect to average cost, 10K gold is your least expensive option, while 24K gold is the most costly. 14K gold falls somewhere in the middle! 

Now that you have a better idea about what 14K gold is, let’s sum up some of its advantages and disadvantages. 

14k gold earrings with oriental pattern set with sapphires

Pros of 14K Gold

Some advantages of 14K gold are:

It’s a more affordable alternative to purer gold alloys. 

On average, 24K gold is usually about twice the price of its 14K counterpart. Opting for 14K gold doesn’t just give you more durable gold — it’s also significantly less expensive. 

It’s a wise investment.

Although 14K gold isn’t the most expensive gold on the market, it’s still quite valuable because it has pure gold inside of it. In other words, while it does cost less than pure gold, it’s still a worthy investment with some resale value. That’s nice to know should you ever need it!

It’s durable and resistant to scratches, dents, and tarnish.

With proper care, 14K gold can last beautifully for many years. Not only is it more durable than 18K gold, but 14K gold doesn’t tarnish easily either. Its higher content of alloyed metals makes it strongly resistant to wear and tear. This makes 14K gold ideal for everyday wear.

It offers more options for versatility compared to other alloys.

Whether you want yellow, rose, or white, 14K gold offers a stunning array of shade variety to suit any aesthetic. Its soft yellows are classic and attractive, but not too intense. 

14K white gold far exceeds silver in durability, but creates the same elegant, sparkly allure that attracts many to the cool-toned alloy. And 14k rose gold is what romantic, happily-ever-afters are made of.

Cons of 14K Gold

On the other hand, some potential drawbacks of 14K gold are:

It’s only half its weight in pure gold.

Since 14K gold only contains about 60% pure gold, its higher alloy content can sometimes result in itchy, irritated skin in those with copper, silver, nickel, zinc, or iron allergies. 

It’s not as valuable as higher karat alloys.

As a result of its lower pure gold content, 14K isn’t as valuable as higher karat alloys such as 18K or 24K gold. While it’s not an unworthy investment, it’s certainly not going to provide the same resale value of gold pieces with higher karatage. 

It lacks the intense yellow of 24K gold.

While this is definitely a pro for some, others wish 14K gold offered the same vivid yellow that pure gold is known for. As we discussed earlier, 14K’s yellow is less intense due to its lesser pure gold content. Some consider this a disadvantage. 

It requires upkeep to ensure its durability.

If you don’t maintain your gold jewelry regularly, its durability can be impacted. Without proper upkeep, it can start to show some wear or dulling. 

Already have 14K gold jewelry you’re looking to resell for some extra cash? We’ll tell you how to sell your 14K gold jewelry next!

14k gold stamp on ring with white and yellow gold

How to Sell 14K Gold Jewelry

Selling your 14K gold jewelry for the most money starts with knowing its value, which we’ve discussed so far. 

Depending on when and where you’re planning to sell, you’ll want to research the current market price-per-gram of 14K gold where you live.

Now, you can get started with step one.

First, Get An Official Appraisal

You can calculate the price of gold jewelry at home to create your own estimate, but an official appraisal will confirm what you should expect to charge when selling your pieces. An appraisal will cost some money upfront but will likely save you from losing money in the long-run. 

Research Similar Items Online

In addition to an official appraisal, researching what similar gold jewelry items sell for online will give you a reasonable indication of what to expect to get for your jewelry.

Decide on Selling As-Is vs. Gold Scraps

Are your items tarnished, scratched, or damaged beyond reasonable repair? If so, you’ll probably want to sell it as scrap. Additionally, the value of gold scraps (a.k.a. the “melt value” or “spot value”) is roughly the same around the world.

If the items are in excellent shape, first consider some important value factors:

  • Is it made or sold by a well-known designer? (Designer pieces are more valuable)

  • Is the piece unique or mass-produced? (Unique pieces are more valuable)

  • Is it handmade or machine-made? (Handmade is more valuable)

  • Is it an antique or vintage? (This will increase value)

In addition, consider the value of any additional embellishments on the jewelry like gemstones. You may want to take the stones out and sell them separately to get the most money for your gold jewelry. 

Decide if You Want Cash for Gold or Trade-In Value

Consider whether you want to sell your gold jewelry for cash or trade-in credit. If you’re strictly in it for the Benjamins, you’ll want to call ahead of time to ensure the jeweler pays cash for gold.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to trade in your items for new jewelry, you’ll generally get a better deal and value by trading in.

Research Where to Sell Gold Jewelry for the Best Price

As with any financial transaction, you want to collect offers before choosing one. Unless you’re in a pinch and need cash fast, it’s smart to take your time, get different offers, then go with the highest bid. 

Where is the best place to sell gold jewelry for cash? 

There are several options, but in general you’ll have the best success selling gold to a local jeweler. That said, any time you sell to a jeweler, they have to factor in their costs and how much they need to knock off their offer in order to make a profit. Always research the jeweler to ensure they are reputable and give fair offers.

Alternatively, you can often make a bigger profit and save yourself a trip by selling your 14K gold jewelry online. To start selling through Jewelry Auctioned, check out our verified sellers program guide!

14 gold jewelry guide - ring with sapphires and amethysts

Should I Buy 14K Gold Jewelry?

Now that you know all about what 14K gold is, have you decided if it’s the right choice for you? If you’re still unsure, let’s do a quick overview to help you decide:

14K gold is for you if you want the perfect blend of durability, affordability, and appeal. Although its karatage is lower than, say, 18K or 24K gold, you’d still be saving money without sacrificing durability or beauty.

For jewelry pieces that you plan on sporting every single day, 14K gold is the ultimate choice to endure time and your ever-evolving style.

Ready to shop? Browse our 14K gold jewelry and find your perfect match!

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