What is the Difference Between 18K and 14K Gold?
24K Gold & Alloy
Pure gold, although a beautifully rich golden color, is too soft to be practical for daily wear. A 24K ring would get bent out of shape very easily (not to mention be much more expensive than an 18K or 14K ring!) In order to make gold durable enough for daily wear, other metals such as silver and copper, named alloys, are mixed with 24K pure gold.
Each karat number indicates the percentage of pure gold. These have been stamped into gold as “purity marks” since the middle ages.
18K vs. 14K
Since 24K is pure gold, 18K means “18 parts gold out of 24” which is 75% pure gold, and 14K means “14 parts gold out of 24” which is 58% pure gold.
Does that mean 18K gold is better than 14K gold? Not necessarily. It does mean that 18K gold has a higher gold content compared to 14K gold, but the additional alloys used in making 14K gold also have benefits like making the gold more durable as well as more affordable.
Alloys not only add strength to gold, they also give us the opportunity to alter the color of the gold, which is how you get rose gold and white gold from a naturally yellow metal.
Copper is typically added to give gold a rosey hue. White gold is achieved by adding white metals such as silver, nickel, or palladium, then electroplated with rhodium (a platinum-family metal) for a whiter finish.
To learn more about Rhodium Plating and the difference between White Gold & Platinum read our White Gold vs Platinum Blog Post
Because of the higher percentage of alloys used, 14K rose gold and 14K white gold can be rosier and whiter than their 18K counterparts.
14K yellow gold is usually a slightly lighter shade of yellow compared to 18K yellow gold but, since we mix our own alloys in our studio to achieve our signature shade of yellow, there’s barely a noticeable difference between the two. So, you can enjoy the same rich yellow gold color no matter which ILA jewelry you choose.