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14 KARAT GOLD vs 18 KARAT GOLD: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

While 24 karat gold is the purest gold you can buy, it’s rarely the first choice. This is because gold is a malleable metal, so pure gold isn’t the best choice for everyday wear, particularly diamond jewels. As a result, most fine jewellery is made with 14 or 18 karat gold. In this post, we’re sharing everything you need to know to choose the best for you. 

What is a karat?  

Every gold alloy contains 24 units, known as karats. So, if you buy 24-karat gold, you’re buying 100% pure gold. However, gold is strengthened with other alloys because pure gold is too soft for everyday jewellery. 

18 karat gold is 75% pure gold, while 14 karat gold is 58.3% gold. 

The colour  

Because of the metals gold is alloyed with, its colour differs depending on the karat. As shown in the image below, 18 karat gold is more of a rich, yellow tone. On the other hand, 14 karat gold has a yellow hue brighter than lower karat gold, although not as yellow as 18 karat gold. 

14k gold vs 18k gold

People often comment on the striking yellow colour of Indian gold jewellery because it’s standard practice in India to use 22 karat gold for jewellery.  

To ensure our jewellery is durable and affordable without losing the yellow, Umara uses 18 karat gold for our plain gold jewellery. For our diamond jewellery, we use 14 karat gold as the standard. 

White gold 

Our 14-karat diamond jewellery is also offered in white gold. Because white gold doesn’t occur naturally, its hue comes from being alloyed with white metals and finished with rhodium plating to achieve a shiny finish. Because of the plating, you should have white gold jewellery replated every 3-5 years to maintain its original colour.  

white gold vs yellow gold

Considerations 

Choosing between 14 and 18 karat gold primarily comes down to personal preference. From how it will look on your complexion to what you plan to pair your pieces with, only you know best. However, here are a couple of things worth considering; 

Wear

While 14 and 18 karat gold are excellent choices for everyday wear, 14 karat gold is more durable. So, if you’re wearing a ring every day that may be exposed to potential scratching or scuffing, then 14 karat is a sensible choice. Whereas, if you’re investing in a piece for special occasions, 18 karat may be your preference. 

Skin sensitivity  

If you have sensitive skin, a product with higher gold content is less likely to cause skin irritation. Many people find that both 14 and 18 karat gold won't cause any skin irritation, however, if you’ve found lower karat jewellery has irritated your skin in the past, it’s best to choose gold pieces with a higher karat. 

Practically speaking, 18 karat gold is the purest gold you can get for everyday wear with longevity in mind. However, if you’re looking for a slightly more durable option, then 14-karat gold is best suited to you. 

At Umara, we will only ever sell solid gold jewellery. So, when you shop with us, you shop with the confidence that you’re getting the best quality product available. 

Want to learn more about gold? Check out our jewellery care guide. Ready to invest? Shop our debut collection of solid gold jewellery.