What are 24k, 18k, and 14k Gold?
“k” refers to karat, a measurement unit of gold purity. A karat is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight, so 24-karat gold is pure gold. However, there are always impurities. Therefore, it is acceptable for 24k gold to have 99.9% gold (stamped as 999). By applying the formula, it can deduce that 18k gold is composed 18/24 part gold, thus 75% gold (stamped as 750) and 14k gold has 14/24 part, thus 58.3% gold (stamped as 583 or 585 in different countries).
While 24k Gold (in form of gold coin, or even gold bar) is very popular as saving or investment, it is not very suitable for jewelry that people wear everyday, because 24k Gold is rather soft and it tends to bend and scratch easily. So other metal, such as silver or copper, is added into pure gold to form a more solid alloy, which is more suitable for jewelry wearing. The most common alloys are 18k gold and 14k gold.
What about 5k, 9k Gold, etc?
There are also 5k, 9k, 10k, 20k, 22k gold, which contain different levels of gold, but they are not as widely trade as 18k and 14k. 14k gold and 18k gold are generally accepted and recognized internationally, jewelries made from 14k gold and 18k gold are treated and appreciated similarly no matter in which country.
Related article: 《Are “18k Gold GF” and “18k Gold GP” Gold?》
Why is Gold so popular?
Apart from looking great and elegant in gold, it is popular to wear gold for more reasons, here to name a few:
- Gold is precious and it always preserves its value in its thousand years of history. No matter when the world is in peace or at war, buying gold or gold jewelry is considered as an investment or saving. In India and China, demand for gold is very high because it symbolizes wealth and fortune.
- Gold is a stable chemical element and it can be kept for a very long time. It is also serviceable and repairable unlike some other mixed metals.
- Gold does not oxidize and has high resistance to corrosion. Also, people seldom have allergy reaction to gold because it avoids compounds which may cause allergy.
Reference: World Gold Council
Photos Credit: Jress.com
Edited: Related article: 《Are “18k Gold GF” and “18k Gold GP” Gold?》