What Is 14k Gold?
In different parts of the world, different karat weights are preferred. Americans like 10 and 14 karat gold. Asians prefer 18 and 22 karat gold. But what does it really mean?
Pure gold is too soft a metal for ordinary wear. So when gold is made into jewelry, it is alloyed (mixed) with harder metals such as copper and silver. Look inside a gold ring.
Is there a stamp, such as “14k”? The “k” stands for “karat” or “carat,” a measure of the amount of gold in the ring. A 14k ring contains 14 parts pure gold and 10 parts of another metal. 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold to 6 parts of another metal.
Pure gold would be 24k. Gold alloyed with silver has a silvery color. If there is more than half gold in the alloy it is sometimes called “white” gold. Gold alloyed with copper is sometimes called “red” or “yellow” gold.
The more gold in the mixture, the softer and less durable the item made from it. Most women in America prefer 14 karat gold for the right balance of color and durability. Many American men who like to use their hands prefer a ring made from 10 karat gold, which is harder and can resist scratching more easily.
Whatever the karat weight, make sure it is stamped on a surface of your piece of fine jewelry. This is your assurance that the manufacturer is following standardized weight formulas, and is meeting the requirements of the laws regarding gold karat.
If it is not stamped – beware – and if you have your piece repaired, be sure the bench jeweler does not eliminate the karat stamping from your piece.