We've all heard the old wives' tale that you can leave a bite mark in a item made of gold, but where did this belief come from? And if gold is truly that soft, then wouldn't it be too weak to make jewelry with? Plus, it seems like there are so many different kinds of "gold", from 24k, 18k, 14k and more. But what do these numbers mean? Find answers to all these questions and more in our blog below!
Gold is soft metal that scores a 2.5 on the MOHs scale of hardness, meaning that it is about as hardy as a person's fingernail, and can technically be bit to leave a mark. But despite its soft nature, the alluring beauty of gold has captivated people throughout history, so jewelers began mixing it with other metals, such as platinum, copper, silver, etc., in order to create a gold alloy that better suited for everyday wear. Even so, there are many different variations of alloys in the jewelry world, such as 14k and 18k gold. But what is the difference exactly?
First, let's start off with the standard for all gold: 24k, which is 100% gold in its purest form. But because it has not been combined with any other metals, this form of gold is not strong enough to be used for jewelry. Even so, it is important to know the definition of 24k gold so you have a frame of reference for the less pure alloys.
One of the more common gold alloys in the jewelry industry, 18k is made up of 75% pure gold, while the other 25% is responsible for making the metal more durable, as well as changing its color. For instance, 18k white gold contains silver, palladium, and nickel, which give it a stunning silver color. 18k yellow gold, on the other hand, is comprised of gold, copper, and nickel metals that combine to make a bright and warm golden color. Rose gold is the final color that 18k gold comes in, using copper and silver to create a beautiful pinkish color that is incredibly popular in today's culture.
Because such a large portion of 18k is made up of pure gold, this combination of metals is perfect for someone who wants the brighter, more vivid appearance of gold in their jewelry. However, if you live a pretty active life and want jewelry that is more scratch resistant, then 14k gold may be for you.
Because it is only 58.3% pure gold, 14k is a great option if you are looking for a more affordable metal, or one that is more durable. But even though it is less valuable than metals with a higher purity gold content, 14k gold often looks remarkably similar, it just lacks a little bit of the luster and vibrance of metals like 18k.
Here is a photo comparing 18k, and 14k gold side by side. As you can see, there is a very slight difference between the two metal compositions, so the primary thing to take into consideration is what form of gold suits you, your personality, and your lifestyle best. If you are unsure what kind of gold you want or need in your jewelry, come see us at Dacels Jewelers! We have decades of experience helping our customers find the perfect jewelry for every occasion, and we can't wait to work with you!