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What is the difference between 10k and 14k Gold?

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

As a jeweller customers always come in to your store and they ask is this pure gold or is this real gold. There is no simple answer to these two questions without confusing some customers. Today I will try to explain it the best way I can.

To explain it I will start at the beginning. No not the beginning of the world but close to that time. Pure gold or rather gold the element is quite soft for a metal and isn't very reactive so it was great to make stuff from it as you could easily shape it and would last a really long time. However because it was soft it was also easy to loose its shape.

How do we make gold hard enough so we could make jewellery with it? Ah ha we could mix it with another metal. That's exactly what they did. Gold in jewellery is actually a mixture of metals usually gold, copper, zinc and silver. This mixture is called an alloy.

Now that you know what gold means in jewellery you are wondering what's all the fuss about karats. We needed a method to know how much gold (the element) was in the alloy so a smart guy said hey why don't we assign gold the number 24 so if it is pure gold it is 24K. Everybody was like ok but how does that help? He went on to propose that whatever the amount of gold was in the mixture could be written as the amount out of 24.

Of course everybody is confused by that. What that means is, 24 is the total amount of gold you can have because that is pure gold. All alloys will then be a fraction of 24. To explain by way of example now,

10k means that 10 parts of the 24 parts is gold and the other 14 parts is the other metals. Similarly 14k means 14 out of 24 is gold.

Of course the popular karats sold today are 10K, 14k, 18k, and 22k jewellery. So now you know if someone asks is that pure gold you can answer. Be sure to follow our blog on our website

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