Gold Karats: What They Are & Why They Matter

Here's what you need to know about gold karats

No, we're not talking carrots, or even carats (more on the later 😉).

Karats is the standard measurement of pure gold in a piece of metal. When buying solid gold jewelry, you'll likely see this unit thrown around. Here's our definition of karats to help you better understand what solid gold jewelry is and what makes it different from gold alternatives.

Karats: (n) ka-rət

Simply put, karats measure the amount of pure gold in a metal. Pure gold has the highest number of karats (24-karats, to be exact).

When it comes to 14k or 10k gold, you're working with materials that include other metals.

So, let's do some math: 14k gold is 58.3% pure gold, 41.7% other metals (just do some simple math—14/24—to find the percentage of pure gold). However, know that this other metals is what gives gold the strength to be used for jewelry.

18k, 14k, and 10k gold

If you're buying solid gold jewelry, you're likely buying 18k, 14k, or 10k gold jewelry. Here's why:

  • Pure 24k gold is extremely soft, not to mention that it's rare and expensive
  • To make pure gold sturdy enough to hold it's shape, other metals are mixed with the pure gold—this is not the same thing as using a mixed metal core (such as gold fill, vermeil, or plated jewelry)
  • When you're buying a solid gold piece, you want it to be durable enough to withstand anything! Pure 24k gold can easily knick when used for jewelry. So, it is uncommon to find 24k jewelry (although it is done). Many jewelers prefer using 18k or lower

    We do custom solid gold jewelry!

    We've started dipping our toes into the world of fine gold jewelry. A special collection is in the works but, in the meantime, you can shop the fine gold jewelry we've already made by visiting the storefront or shopping online.

    If you have a specific jewelry design or stone in mind, we'd love to help you make your vision a reality. Fill out our custom order form or email us to get started.

    Gold jewelry

    More jewelry questions?

    Check out the gold fill guide or guide to sterling silver jewelry care.

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