Gold Karats What Does It Mean

Gold Karats What Does It Mean

Gold Karats What Does It Mean?

Understanding the difference between 24 Gold karats and 14 carats of gold can be quite a challenge. However, knowing the basic comparison and contrast can greatly help you determine the value of your gold. So to help you clear things out, here are some tips to follow.

Gold Karats What Does It Mean? Basic Terms

Remember that the value of gold is determined by its carat, or in some cases, it is spelled as karat. Either word used, only denotes that gold is measured by its purity against a 24 partition. This indicates that 24 karat gold is the purest in form. In contrast, the 14-carat gold has fillers added to solidify its gold content with other alloys. It’s worth remembering when considering investing in precious metals that gold is a store of value rivaled by no other element throughout the course of human history.

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The purity of 24 karat gold

You can verify the certification of your gold jewelry, etc. with authorized gold experts. They will ascertain the purity of your gold and determine its true value.

Remember that any gold in this form will reveal a 100% rate of purity. The value of gold cannot go higher than its predetermined worth and any claim of gold that is higher than 24 karats is considered a fraud.

10, 14, 18, 24carat gold

From a mathematical standpoint, this simply means that the purity of your gold is around 10,14 or 18/24 pure gold. This indicates that there are mixes of different alloys that support the solidification of the fractional content of your gold.

Carat or Karat Gold?

What those stamps and numbers mean

Is it K or CT or just a 3-digit number?

  • The ‘CT’ is interchangeable with ‘K’ for karat.
  • Most Commonwealth countries use “CT”.
  • The term KARAT refers to the fineness of gold.
  • The word CARAT usually refers to a weight, generally for gemstones but is also used for gold.

The number refers to the fineness of gold in parts per 1000. All these marks are acceptable as it depends on where it was made.

Gold Karats Used in JewelryThere are many CARATS used in jewelry.

Below are the most common:

  • 8K, 8ct or 333 (parts per 1000) or is 33.3% gold (usually European. Not recognized in the USA. The lowest possible standard. Will tarnish sometimes)
  • 9K, 9ct or 375 (parts per 1000) or is 37.5% gold (mainly British Commonwealth countries. Not recognized in the USA. Hard wearing.)
  • 10K, 10ct or 416 (parts per 1000) or is 41.6% gold (Minimum USA standard. Hard wearing.)
  • 12K, 12ct or 500 (parts per 1000) or is 50% gold (usually old watch cases. Rarely seen)
  • 14K, 14ct or 585 (parts per 1000) or 58.5% gold (Asian for the overseas market. Common in USA. Russian 584.)
  • 15K, 15ct or 625 (parts per 1000) or 62.5 % gold (British Commonwealth countries. Discontinued c1935. A good indicator that the piece is old.)
  • 18K, 18ct or 750 (parts per 1000) or 75% gold. (Most quality pieces are 18ct. The minimum gold standard for sale in Italy.)
  • 22K, 22ct or 916 (parts per 1000) or 91.6% gold (mainly Asia, Middle East. Very soft. Very yellow)
  • 24K, 24ct or 1000 (parts per 1000) or PURE gold (too soft for most jewelry manufacturer)

Rarely you may see something different.

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Pure Gold

Gold, naturally, is a soft malleable metal with intense yellow color.

Pure gold is sometimes considered too yellow, and its softness makes for very delicate jewelry in its pure form. Pure (24k) gold jewelry is much too soft to protect a solitaire diamond, or for any piece of jewelry that will be worn frequently.

To make gold more durable, less expensive, and to change the color, jewelers mix in other metals. Different metals create different colors – allowing for some crazy combinations like green, red, and purple gold. The most popular colors are rose gold, yellow gold, and white gold.

The Many Colors of Gold& Its Hallmarks

Gold comes in many colors depending on the other metals used in the alloy. The carat does NOT change because of the color. The amount of gold is the same. White, Rose, and other colors are just variations.

ALL gold is stamped or hallmarked ALL gold is stamped or hallmarked with its quality when it is made as required by that countries government. However, it’s not unusual to find that marks can be lost through wear or repair. If you are buying an unmarked piece of gold make sure you get an unconditional money-back guarantee from the seller as to gold carat or the piece, then have it checked.
When looking for gold hallmarks make sure that certain marks are NOT on the piece. Things like EP, GP, HGP, (Electroplate, gold plate, hard gold plate) and “rolled”. As the names might suggest, these are NOT solid gold.

A few other numbers to avoid, unless you are into silver, are 800, 925, 950 as these are all silver marks.

The Many Colors of Gold

Gold is available in many colors. This variety in colors is a direct result of the ratio of alloys to gold content. Below we explain the results of mixing these different alloys:

YELLOW GOLD

A mixture of gold with the base of metal silver (Ag) and copper (Cu) in equal proportions of 50-50 ration.

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RED/ROSE GOLD

named due to its distinctive yellowish red color. It is a mixture of gold with the base metal COPPER.

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WHITE GOLD 

by nature, there is no such thing as white gold. It is only through the addition of nickel, zinc, and copper, and plating of with Rhodium that gives gold this color

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CHINESE GOLD

a misnomer term that classifies a high karat gold, usually 22K and above. Usually stamped with Chinese characters and “I” inscriptions. Due to the rich content of gold, its appearance is always a deep yellow and therefore commands a high price.

Rhodium Plating

Many gold mixes still do not achieve the desired color. For example, a yellow tint is present in all white gold. To mask white gold’s true color, jewelers coat it with a lustrous white metal called Rhodium. “Rhodium Plating” looks phenomenal, and gives your jewelry a mirror-like finish. However, since it is just a coating it may wear down over time. When this happens, your jewelry will lose its luster. If the main metal is white gold, it will begin to appear a dull, pale yellow.

People wear their jewelry differently, and there is no way to accurately predict how long your rhodium plating will last. On earrings and Necklaces, it can last a very long time, because those pieces experience very little physical contact with the environment. Rings and bracelets are a different story. Constant wear on a ring can cause rhodium to rub off in as little as six months. For that, a ring will need to be re-plated roughly once every six months to two years.

Most people choose white gold over platinum to save money. But when you factor in the future expense of maintaining white gold, platinum is often cheaper.

Appraising Factors for Gold Karats

With good information, you will be able to identify authentic gold jewelry and ensure you have purchased quality pieces. Here we describe each of the characteristics of the different golds and what to consider when appraising jewelry

  • Color
  • Luster
  • Durability
  • Type of Locks
  • Markings

KARAT: 24K

    • Color: Deep Gold
    • Luster: Dull
    • Durability: Soft and may show deformations
    • Locks: Hook Type
    • Stamped Markings: 999.9 Fine Gold

KARAT: 22K

    • Color: Deep Golden
    • Luster: Dull
    • Durability: Soft and may show deformations
    • Locks: Hook Type
    • Stamped Markings: 916

KARAT: 21K

    • Color: Deep Golden
    • Luster: Dull to Polished
    • Durability: Quite soft to hard
    • Locks: Hook Type for Singaporean Gold
    • Stamped Markings: 875

KARAT: 18K

  • Color: Yellow to reddish yellow (copper)
  • Luster: Polished
  • Durability: Hard and may be accompanied by stones
  • Locks: Ring or clip type
  • Stamped Markings: 750

KARAT: 14K

    • Color: Paler Yellow; White and rose
    • Luster: Polished
    • Durability: Hard and may be accompanied by stones
    • Locks: Ring or clip type
    • Stamped Markings: 858

KARATS: 12K; 10K and 8K

  • Color: Paler Yellow; White and rose
  • Luster: Polished
  • Durability: Hard and may be accompanied by stones
  • Locks: Ring or clip type
  • Stamped Markings: 500; 416 and 333 respectively.

OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER

  1. Imported pieces usually have stamp markings under the setting or on the locks of chains and bracelets.
  2. Locally manufactured, Hand Made, or made to order jewelry usually don’t have stamp markings.
  3. Chains coming from Thailand called BAHT are the typical bamboo designs. BAHT is a term representing their unit of weight, 1 BAHT is equal to 15.2g. The lowest Thai/Bangkok gold coming in is 14K.
  4. Imported Singapore gold coming in is 916 (22K). Standard and reddish in color, not deep golden yellow as Bangkok gold and Chinese gold.
  5. Trending Singapore gold pieces coming in as 18K but are only 16K and there are even 14K pieces.
  6. Italian gold jewelry is 18K standard and stamped as 750.
  7. 14K Italian gold pieces are now exported to the US, HK, and Philippines markets due to market demand.
  8. Light and gradual reddening or discoloration can be seen in 14K gold traces

More Tips for Buying Gold Jewelry

  • Gold jewelry may also be plated or filled. Keep in mind that this is a coating of gold over base metal, and is not solid gold jewelry. Solid gold refers to any piece that is of a specific karat weight.
  • When shopping for gold rings, do not purchase pieces that have very thin bands. Wear and tear can cause breakage on delicate pieces worn on the hand.
  • Jeweler’s scales are available to check the weight of gold pieces. If you are shopping for gold jewelry at pawn or thrift shops, consider purchasing a jeweler’s scale to take along with you to help you to determine the gold weight and the appropriate prices.

Warnings

It is not required by law for gold jewelry to have a karat quality stamp or hallmark. If your selection not stamped; ask the salesperson or jewelry to guarantee that it is solid gold. Do not purchase the piece if you have concerns about its authenticity.

Other Metals for Fine Jewelry

Rhodium:

Is among the rarest and most valuable precious metals. Rhodium is resistant to corrosion and it does not oxidize. It is commonly used as a thin coating over White Gold, Silver, and Platinum Jewellery. Solid rhodium is rarely used in jewelry because it’s difficult to work with and pure rhodium is very expensive.

Silver:

Like gold, silver is extremely soft in its purest form. “Sterling Silver” is 92.5% pure, so it is usually stamped 925. Silver is often alloyed with copper, platinum, and/or zinc.

Palladium:

The metal itself is relatively inexpensive, so palladium (when it is available) is an excellent money-saving alternative to platinum. Palladium is light, which is a plus when used in earrings, men’s rings, and oversized jewelry. Like platinum, palladium is naturally white and very durable. Palladium in jewelry is often 95% pure, stamped 950Pd. Due to its purity, palladium is great for people with allergies to metal alloys like nickel.

Platinum:

Just like in the world of music, in jewelry platinum is king. Platinum is dense, strong, and long-lasting making it perfect for engagement rings. When used in jewelry, platinum is usually 90-95% pure. It is almost always more expensive than white gold. Platinum is known for its weight, which means it isn’t great for earrings (ouch) or chunky jewelry.

However, the added weight is a nice touch in smaller pieces – when you hold a platinum ring and a 14k white gold ringside by side; the platinum ring feels more significant. Platinum’s natural color is a dull metallic white or pale grey, so it is sometimes coated in rhodium like white gold.

But unlike white gold, when the rhodium wears down your platinum jewelry will still appear colorless. Just clean and buff your platinum every-so-often to maintain its natural good looks.

Titanium:

Is a grey-white metal used in a very pure form (99%)? Titanium is inexpensive, durable, and lightweight; it feels “featherlight” in comparison to platinum and gold. It is also 100% hypoallergenic. The most enduring reason for titanium’s popularity is that it sounds cool. If you were a superhero, what would your ring be made of? Easy answer. That said, titanium is extremely difficult to work with. It cannot be soldered and quickly wears down jewelers’ tools. So if your ring is damaged or your fingers change the size, count on having to buy an entirely new ring. Titanium is best reserved for very basic jewelry such as men’s bands.

Mixing Metals

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Mixing gold and silver together is on-trend, but ensures that any jewelry that touches is made from the same metal. Rose Gold, White Gold, and Yellow Gold can be worn together as long as they are the same Karat, but 10k should never be worn alongside 18k. The same goes for wearing gold with platinum, titanium, etc.

This is especially relevant for stacking rings, wedding bands, engagement rings. It’s also important if you’re buying a chain and a pendant separately.

The reason for this is that different metals have different densities. If you wear a harder metal and a softer metal together, over time the softer metal will be damaged.

To Sum Up

  • looking to buy diamond earrings, a diamond pendant, or a diamond necklace, I would recommend buying 18k or 14k gold.
  • If it’s available, palladium is beautiful, strong, and cheaper than platinum.
  • considering silver, choose a simple style with no diamonds.
  • looking for a men’s band, tungsten and titanium are worth looking into. Buy palladium, platinum, or gold if you’d like to be able to resize your ring later.
  • Make sure all jewelry that touches made from the same metal.

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