Pure gold is referred to as fine gold. 24K gold is pure gold and is not typically used in jewelry because it is very soft to use. Consumers usually buy fine gold for investment purposes. 24K gold is typically mixed with other metals to strengthen it. Therefore, gold comes in different purities. To make gold jewelry, pure gold is usually alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, zinc, and nickel to reduce its cost and to change its characteristics. Alloys are mixtures of two or more metals. Gold alloys increase the hardness of the metal and permits a higher polish and brighter luster.
How is Purity of Gold Calculated?
The purity of gold is defined either in karats or fineness. A karat is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight, so 24-karat gold is pure gold. To find the percentage of gold in an object when the purity is stated in karats, multiply the number of karats by 100 and divide by 24. For example, 18-karat gold is 75 percent pure gold. The higher the karat, the more pure the gold. Karat is abbreviated as “K” or “Kt.” The purity of gold in “Karat” should not be confused with "Carats" which is the unit of weight for gemstones. Alternatively, the fineness is the amount of gold in parts per 1,000, so pure gold has a fineness of 1,000. A gold object containing 750 fine gold, or a fineness of 750, is 75 percent gold.
Different Purities of Gold Most Commonly Used
24k gold is also called pure gold or 100 percent gold. This means that all 24 parts in the gold are all pure gold without traces of any other metals. It is known to be 999.999 per cent pure and takes a distinct bright yellow color. There is no higher form of gold than 24K gold. Since this is the purest form of gold, it is naturally more expensive than 22K or 18K gold. However, this type of gold is lesser in density as compared to gold of a lower karatage which makes it soft. Hence, it is not suited for making gold jewelry. 24K gold is mostly used to make coins, bars and is also used in electronics and medical devices.
22K gold jewelry implies that 22 parts of the jewelry amounts to gold and the balance 2 parts are some other metals. This kind of gold is commonly used in jewelry making. In 22K gold, of the 100 per cent, only 91.67 per cent is pure gold. The other 8.33 per cent comprises metals like silver, zinc, nickel and other alloys. It is this addition of metals that make the texture of gold harder thereby making the jewelry durable. However, you must know that although this can be used to make plain gold jewelry, 22K gold is not preferable for cut diamond jewelry. The main reason is that 22K gold is still very soft at this purity level, and generally cut diamonds can very easily fall out, unless they are made in a much heavier gold weight and in closed setting style- where the cut diamond is completely encased in gold. 22K gold is generally hallmarked with a 916 stamp, in order to symbolize that the jewellery contains 91.6 percent gold. (Suggested read: How do jewelers test the purity of gold)
At Totaram Jewelers, all our gold jewelry is made in 22K gold and is hallmarked with a 916 KDM stamp. Take a peek @ our 22K gold jewelry collection-
18K gold is 75 percent pure gold mixed with 25 percent of other metals like copper or silver etc. Usually studded jewelry and cut diamond jewelry is made in 18K gold. This kind of gold is less expensive compared to 24K and 22K. This one has a slightly dull, but a rich gold luster. 18K gold is generally marked by 18KT, 18kt, or 750, a stamp similar to these in order to symbolize that the jewelry contains 75 percent gold.
At Totaram Jewelers, our cut diamond jewelry is mostly made in 18K gold. A peek at our 18K gold diamond collection:
14K gold means that 14 parts of it is gold, and the other 10 parts are alloys like silver, copper and nickel. In 14K, 58.5% is pure gold. This mixture of 58.5% gold gives 14K a nice gold color that everyone loves, while still remaining durable at the same time. Jewelry that is 14K gold will usually be stamped with a mark such as 14KT, 14K, 14kt or something similar.
10K gold is very commonly used in jewelry in the United States, and is very strong. 10K gold is an alloy made up of 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals such as copper, zinc, silver or nickel. In percentage terms, 10K gold contains 41.7% pure gold. Jewelry that is 10K gold will usually be stamped with a mark such as 10KT, 10K, 10kt or something similar.
Consumer Buying Tip:
24 karat = 99.99% pure gold
22 karat = 91.67 % gold
18 karat = 75.0 % gold
14 karat = 58.3 % gold
12 karat = 50.0 % gold
10 karat = 41.7 % gold
In the United States, it is illegal for jewelry to be labeled "gold jewelry" if it is less than 10 karats. It is important to know the karats of your gold to make an informed decision on the value of your jewelry.