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What is the difference between 10k, 14k, 18k and 24k?

The numbers you've mentioned, such as 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k, are used to indicate the purity or fineness of gold in jewelry. They represent the gold content as a percentage of the total metal composition. Here's what each of these markings means:

  1. 10k Gold (10 karat):

    • 10k gold contains 41.7% pure gold (or 41.7% gold by weight).
    • The remaining 58.3% consists of other metals, usually alloyed to increase the durability and strength of the gold.
    • 10k gold is the least pure form of gold used in jewelry in the United States.
  2. 14k Gold (14 karat):

    • 14k gold contains 58.3% pure gold (or 58.3% gold by weight).
    • It is a popular choice for jewelry because it strikes a good balance between gold purity and durability.
    • The remaining 41.7% consists of alloyed metals.
  3. 18k Gold (18 karat):

    • 18k gold contains 75% pure gold (or 75% gold by weight).
    • It is known for its higher purity and a brighter, more vibrant color compared to 14k gold.
    • The remaining 25% consists of alloyed metals.
  4. 24k Gold (24 karat):

    • 24k gold is pure gold, with no other metals mixed in.
    • It is 99.9% pure gold (or 99.9% gold by weight).
    • 24k gold is the highest purity of gold available and has a deep, rich color. However, it is also the softest and most malleable form of gold, making it less suitable for everyday jewelry.

In summary, the karat markings indicate the percentage of pure gold in the jewelry, with higher karat numbers representing a higher gold content. The lower the karat number, the more alloyed metals are present to provide strength and durability. When purchasing gold jewelry, the choice of karat depends on factors like personal preference for color, durability, and budget, as higher karat gold is generally more expensive.