10K vs 14K Gold Jewelry: What Are the Differences?

Shopping for gold jewelry can leave you confused. The several options when it comes to gold may have you wondering what it all means and what is the best choice for you.

Both 10K and 14K gold have value.  Some believe that 14K gold is the better choice and others opt for 10K. They each have their pros and cons.  But let’s start with the basics. The gold you see in jewelry stores is usually a mix of gold and other metals. Gold is a soft XXX, it’s very easy to dent and warp. It’s bright in color leaning more towards an orange color. Jewelers mix gold with metals for durability. The purity is determined by the karat system that measures the ratio of pure gold compared to secondary metals. The number before the karat or K refers to how many parts out of 24 parts are pure gold.

Remember as you’re shopping that pure gold is not sold as jewelry in the US.  The term you are looking for is solid gold and here it is legal to sell any gold that is at the 10K purity level or more.

10K and 14K are common gold purity levels with the former being more durable and the latter is purer and pretty durable as well.  Here we will discuss the two levels and the differences between them to help you choose the right choice for you.

10K Gold

A 10K gold piece of jewelry is about 41% pure gold and 59% alloy. As it is comprised of more alloy than gold, it is a less expensive choice. It’s also more durable as is made of mostly harder metals so it’s resistant to scratches and dents.

But of course, it isn’t as pure as the other levels of gold. It has a dull yellow appearance and can seem washed out. Wearing a 10K piece of jewelry can trigger metal allergies more than 14K gold would. It is a popular option for earrings but it’s not for engagement rings.

14K Gold

The amount of pure gold in a 14K gold ring is around 58% and is usually found in engagement rings. It is more expensive the 10K and has a richer color. You can also opt for yellow or white gold.  Choosing white gold gives you the look of platinum without the price tag. Most people say that it stands as the middle ground giving you a practical option that has a beautiful look.

Although not as hard as 10K, 14K gold offers good durability and is less likely to cause an allergic reaction. It is also more expensive than 10K gold, it is less expensive than 18K, so it is still pretty affordable. Therefore 90% of all wedding and engagement rings in the US are made of 14K gold.

Differences 10K Gold and 14K Gold

The basic difference between 10K and 14K gold is the amount of gold they contain. 10K gold contains 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metals. 14K gold has 14 parts of pure gold and only 10 parts of other metals.

Price is a huge difference with 10K being cheaper. It’s also more durable and is perfect for jewelry that will be worn on a day-to-day basis. 14K gold has a richer hue and is less likely to cause allergy issues. Most jewelers will agree that while it’s hard to find 10K in fine retailers, it is a fine choice for casual jewelry.  But for engagement rings, you should stick to 14K or higher.  14K also provides a great mix of color, durability, and affordability.

10K and 14K gold have their advantages and disadvantages.  With necklaces and earrings, you can’t go wrong with 10K because they will be more durable and less expensive.  When you are looking for an engagement ring, 14K gold is the better choice. You may not have much of a choice in that department as most jewelers will only offer diamond jewelry with 14K gold settings.

For more information on the right type of gold for your jewelry selection, we welcome you to visit our website or call Marquee Jewelry us for a personal consultation. We are your number one source of fine jewelry. Our family-owned jewelry boutique is dedicated to providing quality items that are beautiful and unique. We have something for every price point and style with offerings of 10K, 14K, and 18K gold. We can help you when you are trying to decide which is best 10K vs. 14K.