Many jewelry buyers often cannot decide between 10K and 14K gold. And some people say that 10-karat gold is actually the better choice. Let’s see if that is really true.
How Are 10K and 14K Different?
The karat number of your jewelry indicates what proportion of it is made up of gold. Thus, the most fundamental difference between 10-karat and 14-karat gold is in the amount of gold content.
10K gold contains 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metals, such as copper, zinc, silver, tin, etc.
14K gold contains more of the precious metal – 14 parts of the alloy is gold and 10 parts consists of non-gold metals.
In terms of percentage, 10 karats corresponds to 41.7% gold content, while 14 karats is equivalent to 58.3% pure gold.
Looking at these numbers, it is interesting to note that less than half of the material in 10K jewelry is actually gold, whereas almost 60% of the alloy in a 14K piece is gold.
How Is 10K Gold Better Than 14K Gold?
It might seem that 14-karat gold is better just because it is purer than 10K gold, but the latter actually has some advantages over the former. Let’s see what they are:
10-Karat Gold Is Cheaper
10K gold is cheaper than 14K gold – per gram. This is a result of the lower purity of 10K gold, which contains less of the precious (and expensive) metal.
The price of 10K gold is perhaps its biggest selling point. Although most people who prefer 10-karat jewelry do so mainly because it’s cheap, it has another important advantage – greater hardness and durability.
10-Karat Gold Is Harder
Since 10K gold contains less pure gold and more other metals, the resulting alloy ends up being harder than 14K gold.
Gold is a very soft metal, and the more of it is in a piece of jewelry, the softer the item is. As a result, higher-karat gold is easier to scratch and wear out compared to lower-karat pieces.
So, since 10K gold is harder, jewelry made with it is more durable and less prone to bending than 14K gold.
The Bottom Line
To sum up, 10-karat gold is a better choice for jewelry that you will wear every day, as it will wear down more slowly because of its hardness. 10K gold is also preferable if you are looking to save money on jewelry.
When to Prefer 14K Gold?
14K gold has two main advantages over 10K gold: 14K gold is less likely to cause an allergy and has a better color. These two points indicate the two cases when you should choose 14K gold:
If Your Skin Is Sensitive to Gold Jewelry
Some people have an allergic reaction when they wear lower-karat jewelry, such as 10K gold. Usually, these allergies are caused by nickel present in the alloy.
Since low-karat pieces contain a greater percentage of other metals, people with a nickel allergy tend to be more sensitive to such jewelry.
14-karat jewelry is less likely to give you a skin rash in case you are allergic. However, keep in mind that you might need an even higher karat if your skin is too sensitive.
If You Care a Lot About Gold Color
14K gold tends to have a stronger yellow color due to the higher percentage of gold in the alloy.
Some people find that 10K gold looks whiter and prefer to opt for purer gold jewelry just because of its appearance.
Not all 10-karat jewelry has a visibly paler color than that of 14K gold, however. Depending on what other metals are in a gold alloy, its color may vary, so even pieces of the same karat can differ in tone.
If you care a lot about color and are trying to decide between 10K and 14K gold jewelry, the best you can do is compare pieces of each karat and see if there is a noticeable difference in their hue.
Sometimes, you might spot a difference, and sometimes, you might find that they look the same.
Where to Buy Gold Jewelry?
Take a look at the great selection of gold at Amazon.
For jewelry with diamonds, emeralds, rubies, or sapphires, we recommend James Allen (read review) because it allows you to take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in gold. Blue Nile is another reputable retailer you can check out.