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Jewelry shopping can be intimidating. That’s why we started Ask Holden, our blog where we answer your FAQs, break down scary industry lingo, and guide you in finding the perfect piece of jewelry.
At Holden, we offer three solid gold options: 10k, 14k, and 18k. All three are great options for your wedding bands and will last you a lifetime of wear… But what’s the difference? Let’s start by breaking down some industry lingo.
Karat is a measure of the purity of gold. The number before karat, or k, refers to how many parts out of 24 total parts are pure gold (e.g. 24k gold means 24 out of 24 parts are gold, so 24k is 100% pure gold).
Solid Gold vs Pure Gold
Not to be confused with “pure gold,” the term solid gold in the US legally refers to any gold that is 10k purity or above. Pure gold, or 24k gold, is rarely used in crafting fine jewelry due to how soft and weak gold is in its purest form. That’s why each of our solid gold options is a mix between pure gold and various alloy metals that add strength and durability (as well as color to achieve white and rose gold since pure gold is naturally yellow!).
10k, 14k, and 18k Breakdown
10k gold - 10 parts gold to 14 parts alloy metals, 41.6% gold
14k gold - 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloy metals, 58.3% gold
18k gold - 18 parts gold to 6 parts alloy metals, 75% gold
The most noticeable difference between each karat option is the gold color. Because pure gold is naturally yellow in color, the higher the karat, the more yellow the metal will appear.
This means 18k will have the richest yellow color, while 10k and 14k yellow gold will look slightly lighter or whiter in color.
There actually isn’t a color difference upon first glance. This is because our white gold is rhodium plated, per the industry standard, in order to achieve a brilliant white color. Many customers enjoy how white gold wears into its natural, slightly yellow color over time. Others will decide to re-plate their rings every few years (we offer this service as well!).
You’ll notice 10k is the most pink, while 18k has a slightly warmer, more subtle pink gold hue. To learn more about the different metals we offer (rose gold vs gold, the pros and cons or our white metal options), check out our blog post on the best metal for your wedding band.
While all gold rings will scratch and scuff over time due to the soft nature of precious metals, you’ll find that the gold content in 10k and 14k is slightly harder than in 18k; however, 18k is a denser, and therefore, heavier metal and will feel a bit more substantial on your finger. If you plan to remove your wedding ring before any manual labor or exercise (which we strongly recommend!!!), you’ll be just fine with any of our three options.
At the end of the day, the gold purity of your ring comes down to your individual preference. As a guide, 14k is the most popular type of gold used to make jewelry in the US and is our bestseller as well.