top of page

Karat Gold or Gold Purity – Whats the difference

Karat Gold Or Gold Purity

Karat Gold – what does 14 karat, or 14k mean? How is karat gold different from gold purity? I get asked these questions quite often and thought I may as well just write this article so you could read and share it with your friends.

Lets start with Karats and what they are, 24 karat is 99.9 pure gold and means that something that is stamped 24k would be just that 99.9% pure, HOWEVER its very seldom you will see something stamped as 24k, you will more likely see 99.9 and it will typically be on a gold coin or bar. 99.9 or 24k gold is generally too soft for jewelry and not often used in the United States for gold jewelry. They way to understand what 10k, 14k, 18k and 22k means we will simply do some math starting with 24k and 99.9% (we use 100% for the math purposes) as the starting point.

100 divided by 24 = 4.16, this mean that each “karat” is 4.16% gold, so for 10k we would multiply 4.16 x 10 = 41.6% gold in a 10k ring, or bracelet or charm etc. In all karat type gold we have to always account for 24k, so whats up with the rest you ask? We can look at it this way, 10k gold is 10 parts gold and 14 parts “other stuff” (usually silver, copper, chrome, maybe palladium etc) and will always add up to 24k. So if we take 14k gold, it will be 14 x 4.16 = 58.3% gold, or 14 parts gold and 10 parts “other stuff”…..any questions? (see below :-))100 divided by 24 = 4.16, this mean that each “karat” is 4.16% gold, so for 10k we would multiply 4.16 x 10 = 41.6% gold in a 10k ring, or bracelet or charm etc. In all karat type gold we have to always account for 24k, so whats up with the rest you ask? We can look at it this way, 10k gold is 10 parts gold and 14 parts “other stuff” (usually silver, copper, chrome, maybe palladium etc) and will always add up to 24k. So if we take 14k gold, it will be 14 x 4.16 = 58.3% gold, or 14 parts gold and 10 parts “other stuff”…..any questions?


  • 1k = 4.16% gold = 1 part gold and 23 parts NOT gold

  • 8k = 33.28% gold (sometimes marked as .333) = 8 parts gold and 16 parts NOT gold

  • 10k = 41.6% gold = 10 parts gold and 14 parts NOT gold

  • 12k = 50% gold = 12 parts gold and 12 parts NOT gold

  • 14k = 58.3% gold = 14 parts gold and 10 parts NOT gold

  • 18k = 75% gold (sometimes marked as .750) = 18 parts gold and 6 parts NOT gold

  • 22k = 91.6% gold = 22 parts gold and 2 parts NOT gold

  • 24k = 99.9% gold = 24 parts gold and 0 parts NOT gold

There is the 1906 “Gold and Silver Stamping Act” that make it mandatory to stamp silver and “gold” jewelry and in the USA jewelry CANNOT be less that 10k and be sold as “gold jewelry”. One of the major problems with the law was that there were a lot of manufacturers who would “Underkarat” their jewelry in some cases by up to 1 1/2 karats LOW (over 6%) in 1976 the law was amended to ensure that all manufacturers abide by the laws and that the tolerance can not exceed 3/1000 parts less than stamped value. A 14k gold ring from pre 1976 could in fact be as low as 12 1/2 karat

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page