14k vs 18k White Gold: What are the Differences?

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Yellow diamond white gold ring and earring set

You are trying to make a decision between 14K vs 18K white gold ring, and you can’t decide!

You should know that you are not the first and definitely not alone in this wedding ring conundrum.

They look like twin rings.

Check this post to make the right decision.

2-gold-rings.jpg

What is gold?

Gold is a soft malable precious metal used in jewelry items for centuries.

It has a yellow color in its natural form.

And it is the prime choice for engagement rings.

Even so, there are many variations such as yellow gold, rose gold, vermeil and our focus in this post, white gold.

Yellow diamond white gold ring

What is white gold?

White gold is an alloy of gold widely used in jewelry.

As pure gold is too soft to be made into a jewelry, it is alloyed with other metals.

One particular alloy is the silvery looking white gold.

It is produced by alloying whitish color metals such as silver, nickel, zinc, platinum, palladium with yellow gold.

Many times, this white gold alloy is coated with rhodium to give a more solid look.

This also increases its hardness and protects the inner gold part.

One must note that this is not a thick coating which takes over the show.

The rhodium coating is thin.

Does white gold tarnish or change color?

White gold does not tarnish, but it may change its color.

This coating may wear off with time, and the inner color of alloy may show itself.

This is a very normal result: a consequence of physical and chemical effects.

The usual suspects are friction, chemical agents, like deodorants and perfumes, and the pH level of the skin.

Here is the good news: you can easily restore your jewelry to its initial luster if it looses the coating.

All it takes is, to make a short visit to your local jewelry shop.

Your jeweler will quickly take care of the ring with a re-coating operation.

This simple rhodium coating will suffice to bring back your ring to its glory days.

 

14K vs 18K White Gold Table
Karatage Stamp Gold parts Gold % Other %
14 Karat 14K – 583 14 / 24 58,3 41,7
18 Karat 18K – 750 18 / 24 75 25

What is karat?

As in other gold alloys, the gold percentage is marked in Karat.

100% pure gold is 24-Karat or 24K.

1-K gold has 1/24 parts of gold in its composition.

This corresponds to 4,17% gold in the alloy.

The most common white gold karatages used in jewelry are 10K, 14K and 18K.

14K white gold has 14/24 parts of gold, which corresponds to 58,3% gold.

Likewise, 18K white gold has 18/24 parts of gold with a percentage of 75.

White gold ring with blue sapphire gemstone

14K white gold is closer to “white” in color than 18K white gold

The silvery color of white gold comes from the added metals.

Higher the gold percentage the nearer the color is to yellow gold.

And as the added metals increase, the color of the alloy approaches to a silvery white.

But of course, if the white gold is coated with rhodium, both 14K and 18K white gold jewelry pieces will look the same.

In 14K white gold the percentage of non-gold metals is over 40%.

This same part is only 25% in 18K white gold.

This means that the whitish look in 14K white gold is much stronger and brighter than its 18K version.

white gold rings

14K white gold rings are less expensive than 18K rings

14K white gold rings have less gold. Only 58,3% of the gold alloy is gold. The remaining 41,7% is other metals such as copper, silver, etc.

These metals are less expensive than gold.

18K white gold has 75% gold thus it is richer in gold than 14K gold.

Thereby, everything being equal, 18K white gold jewelry is expected to have a higher price than 14K gold.

14K white gold rings are more durable than 18K white gold rings

Strength and hardness of the gold piece are increased with other metals added to the alloy.

14K gold has above 40% of other metals, while 18K gold pieces have 25%.

As the percentage in different metals added is higher in 14K gold, it is harder and more durable than 18K gold.

Conclusion

White gold is a beautiful gold alloy, whether it is coated or not with rhodium.

It carries a silvery-white color and is a more durable alternative to sterling silver.

Both of these karatages are very close and at the end, it will come to personal taste and preference at that moment in time.

Whether you pick the 14K or 18K white gold ring, you will feel its high quality every time your put it on.