Do you know what is the difference between 14K gold and 18K gold? What about 22K and 24K gold? Very often, we come across advertisements for engagement rings that ascribes these seemingly random numbers to them. Getting married has always been my dream since I was a kid, and I am still dreaming. So I kept asking my friends and some professionals what these numbers mean and how they affect the ring! The usual answer is it represents the amount of gold in the ring, the higher the number, the more gold it contains. Then my next question was, which is better, higher or lower?

If you are currently looking to purchase an engagement ring, I am quite sure you will have the same questions as me. Check out the top 10 tips for buying an engagement ring here!

The “K” in 18K Gold

Let us first understand what the numbers actually mean. The “K” at the end of each number stands for Karat, which is the percentage of gold in the alloy expressed in 24th. 1K means there is 1/24 (or approx. 4.16%) of gold mixed with other metals to form the ring. So, if we do the math, we can find out the percentage of gold in the ring:

Karatage (K)Percentage of gold (%)
14KApprox. 58.3%
18K75%
22KApprox. 91.6%
24KApprox. 99.9%

The percentage of gold in the ring affects 3 main components, the price, durability, and colour. The most commonly used karatage for rings with diamond and precious gemstones are the 14K and 18K gold.

Price

First, the price of the ring increases as the karatage increase. Gold is mixed with other metals like silver, zinc, nickel and other alloys. It is also the most expensive metal as compared to the other metals. Thus, this makes 24K gold the most expensive and 14K gold the cheapest.

Durability

Second, the karatage also affects the durability of the ring. The durability increases as the karatage decrease. People often buy 24K gold as an investment instead of everyday wear rings as it is too soft and malleable. 22K gold is usually used to craft plain gold jewelleries, and not recommended for diamond rings. The Europe and Asia regions more commonly use 18K gold while the United States prefers to use 14K gold to craft diamond rings. In my personal opinion, I prefer 18K gold because it has enough durability for a diamond ring and it is more valuable.

Colour

Lastly, the types of metals and the proportion of each metal used affects the colour of the ring. In the recent years, the trends for diamond rings are rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold. The intensity of the yellow hue increases with the karatage. A 18K yellow gold is more intense than a 14K yellow gold. But for rose gold and white gold, the effect is opposite. A 14K rose gold has a more intense pink when compared with a 18K rose gold.

The ideal karatage is dependant on the type of ring and the visual effect of the ring. It is important for you to know what you want before choosing the type of gold. Feel free to speak with us or visit us at our workshop if you want to know how to choose the right karatage for your ring. Sometimes, we just need to see and experience it to know the right answer.