14kt vs. 18kt Gold: Difference Between Gold Karats
The question that we hear the most often is: what is the difference between 14kt and 18kt gold?
You would notice that for our wedding bands, we offer both 14kt and 18kt gold options for our white, yellow and rose gold options. The differences between the two come down to: 1) gold content, 2) price, 3) colour, and 4) metal hardness.
1) Gold Content
14kt and 18kt (also 9kt, which we no longer offer on our store) are common gold alloys used for jewellery making. 24kt is pure gold, which is too soft for jewellery making - therefore, it is alloyed with other metals such as palladium (for white gold), copper (for rose gold), and silver (for yellow gold).
Introducing other metals lowers the karat of gold to make it harder and more workable for jewellers. To give a rough example, 18kt yellow gold usually consists of 18/24 parts of pure gold, and the remaining 6/24 parts consist of copper and silver. 18kt rose gold is alloyed with a higher proportion of copper to silver, which gives it its trademark rose hue. Some jewellers add higher or lower amounts of copper to their alloy, which would darken or lighten the alloy accordingly.
At Covenant Jewellery, we alloy our own rose gold to give it a signature apricot gold colour which we find more wearable and universally flattering.
What is interesting to note is that 18kt/14kt white gold is actually naturally a creamy, champagne yellow. Commercially available 18kt/14kt white gold options appear a bright, shiny silver finish due to a common finishing method known as rhodium plating. Rhodium is a kind of platinum which is a super hardwearing metal. If you prefer a high shine finish, we recommend going for a rhodium finish for your rings. Over time, the rings will fade to a creamy, champagne natural white gold colour and can be easily re-polished and re-plated to its bright rhodium plated finish.
As 18kt gold options contain a higher proportion of gold, it would naturally be more expensive due to the higher gold content.
We have here a colour chart of our Covenant Jewellery blend of 14kt/18kt natural champagne white, rose, and yellow gold colours.
You will notice that the 18kt gold options boast a richer and warmer tone due to the higher gold content.
Although 14kt gold is known to be a stable colour which is tarnish resistant, we do note that for rose gold, the 18kt rose gold tends to be more stable over the years compared to 14kt rose gold due to the reduced copper content. That being said, 14kt rose gold can be easily restored to its original shine with just an easy repolish at your local jeweller. (Do not use metal polishing creams!)
14kt gold is a harder metal than 18kt gold, and some say they are more resistant to scratching that 18kt gold. We have found that both hold up equally well over time, but we do prefer 18kt gold as a more precious and enduring metal due to the higher gold content.
To end, we always recommend to get the gold karat to suit your budget; and if your budget allows, to go for the 18kt gold option as it is a more enduring metal to last a lifetime.