Many people are looking to invest in fine gold jewelry. However, with so many options out there, from 10K gold to 24K gold, gold plated, gold filled, white gold (the list goes on), how do you know which gold to buy? Today we’re exploring all things 14K gold jewelry.
Why? For starters, 14K gold jewelry is a particularly popular gold jewelry metal. Not to mention it’s commonly used for engagement and wedding rings. In fact, roughly 90% of U.S. wedding bands are 14K gold.
The true appeal of 14K gold is that it’s an affordable option for first-time gold jewelry buyers. You’ve likely come across a variety of attractive 14K gold jewelry pieces, but aren’t quite sure what that means exactly. No problem!
Buying smart means knowing what you’re buying, and we’re here to help. Keep reading as we address what is 14K gold, the retail options you have as a consumer, and what to expect from your 14K gold investment.
First let’s address what 14K gold is and how it’s made.
14K gold purity - Gold is measured by purity, or karats. The scale’s general spectrum is between 10 karats and 24 karats. The higher the karats, the more pure gold is included in the mixture. What mixture, you ask?
14K gold composition - When gold is used in jewelry and accessories, it is not pure. This is due to the fact that pure gold is simply too soft. When a metal is soft, it damages easily and loses its shape. In order to harden gold, retain quality, and make it a suitable material for daily wear, it needs to be mixed with another metal. The mixture of metals is called a metal alloy. 14K gold alloy is a mixture of 58.3% gold and 41.7% silver, copper, zinc or nickel.
What is 14K gold? To summarize, 14K gold is a metal alloy with roughly 60% pure gold. The higher the gold, the higher the karatage. 14K gold is more durable compared to 18k gold, due to the higher percentage of alloy which hardens the metal.
14k gold is available in a variety of attractive colors beyond standard yellow gold. In fact, you can find 14k white gold, rose gold and a current trend: black gold. The color of 14K gold is determined by which metals and proportions are used in the alloy mixture. Let’s take a closer look.
You might be thinking that 14K yellow gold is found in nature. This is only partially true, as the pure gold is mined, however it still requires an alloy to harden it. 14K yellow gold is mixed with copper and silver to create a warm yellow hue. In comparison to 18K or 24K gold, 14K gold looks softer, due to the lower percentage of pure gold used in the alloy.
Loved for its elegant and sparkling finish, 14K white gold is mixed with silver metals like nickel or palladium to create a clean, crisp white color. However, there will always remain a soft, faint yellow as the primary material used is yellow gold.
To complete the process, white gold is rhodium plated to solidify its signature lustre. Over time, white gold rhodium plating will require replating as daily wear will expose the gold base.
In recent years, the popularity and availability of rose gold jewelry has increased exponentially. 14K rose gold gets its romantic rosey hue by mixing pure gold with copper. The higher the proportion of copper, the more prominent the rose shade.
If you favor a warm colored gold metal but aren’t sure which one is right for you, read our buyer’s guide to rose gold vs. yellow gold.
When shopping for any metal be it sterling silver or 14K gold, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the certified hallmarks, or stamps, which denote the metal’s purity. If you’re wondering, is 14K gold real? Here’s how to tell:
Jewelers and retailers in the United States and many other countries are legally obligated to disclose the karatage of gold jewelry with a stamp. The stamp may appear small and in a hidden area, but you should be able to see the letters “14K” “583” or “587”. A 14K stamp denotes karatage, and the 583 or 587 indicate the percentage of pure gold in the jewelry, i.e. 58.3%. Though the stamps are different, they indicate the same factor: the jewelry is certified 14K gold.
Let’s talk about value, an important factor when investing into fine jewelry. Is 14K gold valuable? In order to assess worth, we have to revisit the quantity of pure gold in 14K gold. As previously stated, 14K gold contains approximately 58% pure gold. To measure the value of 58% pure gold, you’ll have to research the present market price for gold. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sell 14K gold at that price, rather it is what the actual gold is worth.
Think of it this way:
The higher the karatage, the higher pure gold used, the higher the value.
Now that you know all about 14K gold jewelry, should you buy it? Buying 14K gold is a great option if your priorities include affordable fine jewelry that is also durable. Though the karatage is lower than say, 18K or 24K, you’re actually saving money and getting a more durable gold jewelry piece.
For jewelry pieces that you’ll wear every day, 14K gold is a perfect choice that won’t damage or tarnish easily. You’ll also save money, for example a 14K gold ring price should be roughly half the price of 24K gold ring.
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