white gold ring in a rose

What are the Differences between 10k vs 14k vs 18k White Gold?

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white gold ring in a rose

10k, 14k and 18k white gold are often compared side by side when shopping for wedding bands or other jewelry.

While they are all made of the same white alloy, they have differences starting from their gold percentages.

This post sheds light on the differences and similarities between them!


What is white gold?

Gold is the king of metals.

It is the prime precious metal with a distinct yellow shine.

This color symbolizes richness wherever you go.

Nevertheless, it is too soft for jewelry and everyday use.

Thus, we use harder and durable alloys.

White gold is one of these with a whitish-silvery color.

Gold is mixed with zinc, nickel or silver in order to obtain white gold.

Colorwise, it is close to sterling silver, palladium and platinum.

What is karat?

Gold content ratio of an alloy is measured in karat.

1 karat represents 1/24th of the metal.

In percentage, 4.17% of the alloy is made of gold.

24 karat is fine gold or 100% pure gold.

A 10 karat white gold engagement ring is 41.7% gold

A 14 karat bracelet is 58.3% made of gold.

An 18 karat white gold necklace has 75% gold content in its composition.

When you go shopping, you’ll encounter many times white gold pieces coated with rhodium.

Rhodium plated white gold jewelry will have a more uniform look.

Moreover, this thin layer of rhodium will protect the inner precious metal.

There is one con to this rhodium plating: it diminishes with daily wear and tear.

And after it disappears completely the inner core will see daylight.

The good news is this is not a big deal.

When this eventually happens, just make a visit to your local jewelry store for a re-plating session.

This is a quick and simple process will restore the shine and luster as its the first day.

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10K vs 14K vs 18K white gold: which one is better?

Karat Stamp Gold parts Percentage Hardness Color Price
 10 Karat  10K  10 / 24  41,7  +++  +++  +
 14 Karat  14K  14 / 24  58,3  ++  ++  ++
 18 Karat  18K  18 / 24  75  +  +  +++

The plus(+) signs in the table are used for illustrating the changes in hardness, color and price levels. They do not show a ratio relation in any terms.

A 10K piece of jewelry has a stronger white color than 14K one.

While gold has a natural yellow color, in white gold alloys we have a silvery color.

This change comes from the mixed white metals like zinc, nickel and silver.

The more we increase their percentage, the whiter it becomes.

In other words, as we decrease the gold ratio or karat, we’ll have a brighter white metal.

Thus, 10k white gold is closer to white than 14k gold, which in turn is whiter than 18k white gold.

One may ask if white gold does tarnish like sterling silver.

White gold jewelry does not tarnish or corrode.

However, it has a rhodium plating; this thin layer may wear off.

Happily, this can be easily changed by a re-plating session by your jeweler.

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10K white gold ring is harder than 14K, and 18K

We have seen that pure gold is too soft to be made into jewelry.

Hardening of gold is achieved thanks to added metals.

And, as we add more, the harder it will become.

So, just color, 10k white gold is hardest between the three most used karats.

Likewise, 14k gold piece of jewelry is more durable and harder than 18k white gold.

A common question is “Does white gold scratch easily?” which is very valid when you think of gold’s natural softness.

Yet, white gold is durable and more resistant to scratches.

Of course, tungsten carbide would outperform in this regard, but, in the end, only gold is gold and tungsten is not.

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Prices go up with karat

Gold is the most expensive component of a white gold wedding ring, obviously.

So, naturally a white gold piece will have a higher price as it has more gold in its composition.

Thus, 18k type of gold, which has a 75% purity, will have a much higher price than 10k and 14k white gold.

This is valid where karat is the only difference.

Gemstones like diamonds and sapphires may change prices significantly.

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The Verdict: which one should you choose?

To end with, white gold is absolutely a great choice for jewelry.

It is the prime precious metal gold in white.

White gold has a color similar to 925 silver, argentium silver and platinum.

It is durable and with rhodium plating becomes more scratch resistant.

10K, 14K and 18K are the most common karat types we see in white gold.

18k white gold is the richest in gold purity with the highest price.

10k white gold is the hardest and most white one between these three.

14k white gold finds its place in the middle when compared by color, durability and price.


Related Questions

1. is 10k white gold good

10k type of gold is a widely used gold alloy in jewelry.

This type of gold has 41.7% gold in its composition.

The remaining part comes from whitish metals like zinc, nickel and silver.

This addition changes color as well as its hardness increasing it to jewelry standards.

2. Does 10k white gold tarnish?

10k white gold does not tarnish like sterling silver.

3. Is 10k white gold better than 14k?

This is a matter of personal preference.

10k pieces are harder, whiter and cheaper.

On the side, 14k type of gold has a higher gold purity.

They are both widely used gold karats in jewelry.

4. Will 10k white gold turn my finger green?

No, it will not.

5. What is 10k white gold worth?

You can easily calculate the actual gold value of your white gold ring.

Assuming it is a plain piece with no gemstone like tourmaline, citrine or other, take its weight.

Multiply it with 0.417. This will give you the gold weight in your ring.

Now you can multiply this with the trading gold price to find what the gold used in the ring is worth.