10K vs 14K Gold: Which is Better?

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10k and 14k are popular types of gold jewelry.

There is a plethora of designs for your liking available in both alloys.

They are made of real gold. They carry the yellow gold luster.

And, they have different percentages of gold content.

Let’s have a closer look at the 10k vs 14k gold comparison and shed some gold color light on the subject!

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What is 10k and 14k gold?

Gold is a precious metal with a reddish yellow color.

It is a malleable and soft metal.

This softness is not suitable for jewelry and accessories.

This is why we use gold alloys with other metals to make it harder.

These alloys are less than 100 percent in gold content. However, they offer the necessary level of durability for everyday wear and tear.

While there are alloys with different colors like rose gold or white gold, yellow gold is closer to the natural rich color.

Karat Stamp Gold parts Percentage Fineness
10 Karat 10K 10 / 24 41.7 417
14 Karat 14K 14 / 24 58.3 583

Gold purity is measured in karat.

Just as distance is measured in miles or weight is denoted in pounds, gold percentage in a metal is shown in karat.

1 karat represents 1 in 24 parts weight of the metal.

Thus, 24 karat or 24k gold is 100% pure gold.

A 10 karat gold jewelry piece has 10 in 24 parts gold.

Gold in 10k pieces makes 41.7% of the weight.

The remaining part comes from silver and base metals like copper.

Similarly, a 14 karat gold ring is 58.3% rich in gold. Its fineness can be denoted as 583. Some producers may have chosen to include more gold, like 585 in thousand, thus these pieces can carry the 585 mark.

The difference in gold purity and composition between 10k and 14k gold reflects itself in differences in durability, color, hypoallergenic property and price.

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10k gold is harder and more durable than 14k.

The raison d’etre of these yellow gold alloys is the need for increasing hardness.

They become harder and more durable gradually as the percentage of added metals increase.

Thus, lower gold purity pieces are going to have increasing hardness levels.

This means that a 10k gold ring will have more durability than a 14k gold ring.

This will translate into higher scratch resistance for 10k gold jewelry.

14k gold, in turn, is harder than 18k gold, which is another perfectly fine version of gold used in all sorts of jewelry.

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14k gold has a more vibrant yellow color than 10k

Gold deposits has a raw yellow color with red hues.

Its alloys are close but different.

As the gold purity decreases, the color slowly drifts away from its natural yellow.

In other words, higher karat pieces will have the closest yellow tint to fine gold or 24 karat gold.

Between 10k and 14k gold, the latter will be closer to 100% pure gold.

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14k gold is safe because it is closer to hypoallergenic pure gold.

Gold is a very safe material for human tissues.

It is a hypoallergenic metal ideal for jewelry, and even for teeth crowns.

Yet, its alloy may have a different story to tell.

Because there are allergenic metals that may cause unease in people with sensitive skin.

The first culprit for these metal allergies is nickel.

After nickel alloys touch the skin, with a sufficient period of contact and the passing of an absorption level by the skin, skin irritation may start.

Symptoms include discoloring like redness, itching, rashes and swelling.

Gold alloys have nickel in their mix. Even if they don’t, there might be trace amounts of nickel found indirectly via copper or another metal in the composition.

Consequently, the higher the percentage of added metal there is, the higher the risk of metal allergy is present.

In this regard, 14k gold jewelry has a higher gold purity level.

Thus, generally speaking, they are safer than 10k pieces.

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14k gold jewelry is more expensive than 10k pieces.

Gold is the most expensive metal in its yellow alloys.

14k jewelry has nearly 17% more gold in its composition.

Thus, the weight of gold will call for more money.

Obviously, we should expect 14k gold rings and chains and other jewelry to have higher prices than 10k pieces.

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Conclusion

10k and 14k gold have their pros and cons.

They differ in purity of gold, which transfers this discrepancy in hardness, appearance, safety and cost.

10k gold offers more durability and better scratch resistance.

While this does not mean its stainless steel or titanium level strong, it outperforms 14k gold pieces. This is 10k gold’s biggest advantage over 14k and 18k gold rings and jewelry.

But, this is not an open ticket for outdoor sports or garden work, you should avoid physical impacts and all sorts of abrasive and other dangerous chemicals for your jewelry.

Another benefit of 10k gold jewelry is its price.

Its gold ratio in weight is less than 50%.

As they have lower percentages of gold, they will have more affordable price tags.

Color wise, 14k piece of jewelry is closer to gold’s natural yellow in its purest form.
Gold for jewelry is not 100% pure.

Had we used fine gold, jewelry would have easily deform.

The addition of stronger metals increases durability and slowly pushes the color away from raw gold’s.

This means that 14k, which is richer in gold content, will carry more of those red hues of the classic gold appearance.

14k is closer to hypoallergenic pure gold.

It has more gold and less added metals. Unlike 10k gold, which has more than half of its composition coming from non-gold metals.

14k gold jewelry has more precious metal than 10k pieces.

That was the main reason we wanted gold jewelry in the first place, right?

Unfortunately, these advantages of 14k gold jewelry come with increased softness and a more expensive price.

Yet, it will also bring more money if you ever decide to sell your gold for cash at a pawnshop or jeweler. Gold appraisals should be done by experts that can evaluate the historic value, brand and design of pieces with their composition and not just their gold content.

It is rather simple to price gold bars and coins. But when it comes to jewelry, things get step by step complicated as the nature of the pieces goes from a plain gold chain to a scarce antique gold ring with diamonds, which has been used by a celebrity.

You may think of the latter as a jersey worn by Michael Jordan in the 1996 NBA Finals!

Rings and bracelets and necklaces made of 14k gold will be softer than their 10k counterparts. This will open doors to more scratches in the long run.

There are many harder objects that physically come into contact with your rings and other jewelry. These encounters will leave small marks behind them that will add up with time.

Excluding softness and price, 14k gold jewelry outplays 10k gold pieces.

But, there is no rose without thorns!

Both 10k and 14k gold have their advantages and disadvantages. They are both made of real gold. They are good quality options of choice for your wedding ring or next jewelry.