Yellow diamond white gold ring and earring set

What are the Differences Between 14k and 18k White Gold?

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Yellow diamond white gold ring and earring set

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

You are not the first looking for the answer.

They look like twin rings.

Check this post to discover the differences between 14K and 18K white gold jewelry and make the right decision.

What is white gold?

White gold is an alloy of gold.

Gold is a very mallable metal which we can easily give shape.

It has a natural, distinct yellow color.

While it is very desirable for jewelry, yellow gold is too soft in its pure form.

As 100% pure gold is too soft to be made into a jewelry, it is alloyed with other metals to make it more durable.

Thanks to this process, we obtain a more durable gold which is more resistant to scratches with reduces softness.

There are 3 main alloys of gold used in jewelry: yellow gold, rose gold and white gold.

Yellow gold carries the closest color to its pure state.

Rose gold’s appearance is closer to a rosy copper.

White gold is gold alloy with whitish metals like platinum, manganese, palladium, silver and a few other.

Yellow gold chain and bracelets
Yellow gold chain and bracelets

Many times, white gold engagement rings are coated with rhodium to give a more solid look.

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

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

The rhodium plating layer is thin and it may wear off with time.

Yellow diamond white gold ring

Does white gold tarnish or change color?

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

The coating may diminish with time, and the inner alloy may show itself.

This is a very normal: a result 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.

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

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

This process will suffice to bring back your ring to its glory days.

14K vs 18K White Gold Table
Karat 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?

Gold purity is measured in Karat.

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

This is the highest purity of gold possible.

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

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

Thus, the pureness in gold increases with the karat value.

The most common white gold karats 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.

14k and 18k white gold are very close in color.

White gold ring with blue sapphire gemstone

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

As said above, the silvery color of white gold comes from the added metals.

The higher the gold percentage is, the closer it will look like yellow gold.

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

But, of course, if white gold is coated with rhodium, both 14K and 18K engagement rings and other 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 engagement rings are less expensive than 18K rings

In 14K white gold wedding bands, only 58,3% of the gold alloy is gold.

The remaining 41,7% comes from manganese, copper, silver, etc.

These metals are less expensive than gold.

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

Thereby, everything being equal, 18K white gold wedding bands and engagement rings are expected to have a higher prices than 14K gold pieces.

14K white gold wedding bands are more durable than 18K pieces

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

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

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

The Verdict: 14k or 18k white gold?

White gold is a beautiful  and popular 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 14k and 18k white gold are very close with little difference.

And at the end, it will come to personal taste and preference at that moment purchase.

Whether you pick the 14K or 18K white gold engagement ring, you will experience its dazzling wonderful look every time your put it on.

Related questions

1. Which is more expensive 14k or 18k white gold?

18k white gold is more expensive than 14k white gold.

18k gold is 75% gold in its alloy, while 14k has 58%.

The other metals used to harden gold are usually less expensive than gold.

Thus the higher karat gold piece will have higher price.

2. Does 18k white gold tarnish?

18k white gold does not tarnish.

But, it can lose its coating.

Many white gold engagement rings are plated with rhodium for a more solid look and protect the gold.

This thin layer may wear off with time.

And at the parts where it diminishes, the inner gold will show up.

3. Does 18k white gold scratch easily?

18k white gold has 75% gold. Thus it is harder than 24k gold but much softer than 14k white gold.

If you plan to buy a jewelry piece that you plan to wear often, you may want to choose a lower karat.

10k or 14k might be better choices because they are harder than 18k gold.