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 difference 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 malleable metal which we can easily give shape.

It has a natural, distinct yellow color.

While it is very desirable for jewelry, it 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 harder and more durable.

Thanks to this process, we obtain a superior version, which is more resistant to scratches with reduced softness.

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

Yellow gold carries the closest color to its pure state.

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

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

Yellow gold chain and bracelets

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

This also increases its hardness and protects the inner 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 your ring with a re-coating operation.

This process will suffice to bring back its glory days.

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

What is karat?

Purity of gold is measured in Karat.

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

This is the highest purity possible.

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

This corresponds to 4,17% in the alloy.

Thus, the pureness increases with the karat value.

The most common karats used in jewelry are 10K, 14K and 18K.

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

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

14k and 18k pieces are very close in color.

Purity in every type of gold is measured with in this karat system, no matter the 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 karat is, the closer it will look like the original yellow color.

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

But, of course, if it is coated with rhodium, both 14K and 18K engagement rings and other pieces will look the same.

In 14K rings, the percentage of other metals is over 40%.

This same part is only 25% in 18K rings.

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

white gold rings

14K gold rings are less expensive than 18K rings

In 14K wedding bands, only 58,3% of the alloy comes from the precious yellow metal.

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

These metals are less expensive.

18K alloys has 75% gold, thus they are more pure than 14K rings.

Thereby, everything being equal, 18K white gold wedding bands and engagement rings are expected to have a higher prices than 14K 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 rings has above 40%, while 18K pieces have 25% mixed metals.

As the percentage in different materials added is higher in 14K: it is harder and more durable than a similar 18K ring.

The Verdict: 14k or 18k white gold?

White gold rings are beautiful  and popular choices, whether  they are rhodium coated or not.

They carry silvery-white colors but with higher durability than 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 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 ring is more expensive than 14k.

18k gold has 75% purity, while 14k has 58%.

Other metals used to harden it are usually less expensive.

Thus a higher karat piece will a higher price.

One factor that significantly changes prices is gemstones.

A natural and transparent diamond on a white gold engagement ring will command a higher price than a similar ring with a lab created cubic zirconia.

2. Does 18k white gold tarnish?

18k white gold does not tarnish.

But, it can lose its coating.

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

This thin layer may wear off with time.

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

3. Does 18k white gold scratch easily?

A 18k piece has 75% purity. Thus, it is harder than 24k but much softer than 14k 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.