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What's the Difference Between Gold Karats?

By    |   Tuesday, 20 March 2018 08:43 AM

Karat represents a unit that measures the purity of the gold content of gold. The higher the karat, the purer the gold.

The purest form of gold is 24 karat, which has 24 parts pure gold, whereas 22 karat has 22 parts gold and two parts of other metals, according to My Gold Guide.

A 24-karat item is 99.5-percent pure gold and above. Other examples: 22 karat, 91.7-percent gold; 18 karat, 75-percent gold; 14 karat, 58.3 percent gold; 12 karat, 50-percent gold; and 10 karat, 41.7-percent gold.

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The karat is determined by fineness. A 24-karat piece would be 1,000 parts out of 1,000 pure gold in the calculation. A 22-karat item would be divided by 24, then multiplied by 1,000 for a fineness of 0.9166.

Eighteen karat is three-quarters pure gold or 18/24ths, explains Jewelers of America. Pure 24-karat gold isn’t usually used for jewelry because it is considered too soft. Other metals are used for more strength in jewelry pieces.

Fourteen-karat gold is commonly used for jewelry in the U.S. and is slightly more than one-half pure gold. Anything less than 10-karat gold cannot be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry.

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The quality mark stamped on gold jewelry indicates the karatage, but trademarks — or the country of origin — are also stamped on the pieces to show they are genuine gold jewelry.

Pricing for gold jewelry is not based on karats alone. Craftmanship, design, and gram weight also factor into the cost.

When it comes to gold jewelry, the higher karat items aren’t necessarily better. Ten-karat jewelry may be less expensive than 14-karat items, but the higher gold content in a 14-karat piece can also make it less durable and softer, according to Jewelry Notes.

The color of the pieces may be slightly different, as well. A 14-karat gold piece has better color, closer to pure gold, than a 10-karat item, which has a less yellow color because of the lesser gold content. However, most people may not notice a difference.

The gold content isn’t always the only consideration. People may prefer 10-karat gold jewelry that they plan to wear all the time because it has more durability than 14-karat gold and is more resistant to scratches.

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Karat represents a unit that measures the purity of the gold content of gold. The higher the karat, the purer the gold.
gold, karats, difference
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 08:43 AM
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