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14K Gold vs. 18K Gold: Which Is Right For You?

Looking to decide between 14K and 18K gold? This handy guide will help simplify the process!

Looking to decide between 14K and 18K gold

Anyone who has uttered the old adage, “all that glitters is not gold” didn’t have a sparkly diamond attached to it! As beautiful as gold is, it comes in so many different options that sometimes it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you.

1. 14K Gold vs. 18K Gold

Most jewelers offer two different karats (not to be confused with “carats” – those are for diamonds) options for gold jewelry: 14K and 18K. Unlike pure gold, which is made of 24K, 14K and 18K are actually pure gold combined with other metals like silver, nickel and copper. You might be asking yourself, “why can’t 24K gold be used for jewelry?” Simply put, pure gold is not durable enough for everyday use, as it easily dents and scratches. In order to make it more durable, it is mixed with other metals. As a rule of thumb, the higher the karat number (aka the number before the letter “K”), the more gold it has in it. For example, 18K is more purer than 14K, which is more purer than 10K. Finally, there will be subtle differences in color depending on which karat grade you choose.

Yellow Gold Comfort Fit Solitaire Engagement Ring

2. Reasons To Choose 14K:

There are a few different factors that will help determine if 14K gold is right for you. First, if your significant other works with their hands, 14K might be the way to go, as it’s more durable than 18K. Additionally, some styles can only be made in 14K gold because they need the added durability that 14K offers. This brings us to the second reason to choose 14K – since it has less gold in it, it’s more affordable, which makes it a great option if you’re looking to maximize your budget. Finally, if your significant other prefers a softer yellow gold color, 14K yellow gold engagement rings are the way to go.

14K White Gold Spiral Tension Set Ring

This spiral tension set engagement ring is one part jewelry, one part work of art. This specific tension setting can only be made in 14K gold, as it requires more durability to keep the diamond locked safely in place.

14K White Gold Spiral Tension Set Ring

14K Rose Gold Pointed and Etched Tension Set Ring

If you want to have a ring unlike anyone else’s, consider this tension setting, which is also made in 14K gold.

14K Rose Gold Pointed and Etched Tension Set Ring

14K Yellow Gold Contoured Twist Tension Set Engagement Ring

This contoured twist tension setting is perfect for anyone who likes modern, statement pieces.

14K Yellow Gold Contoured Twist Tension Set Engagement Ring

3. Reasons To Choose 18K:

To help decide whether 18K gold is the choice for you, consider the following factors: Since it’s purer and has less alloys in it, 18K is preferable if your significant other has a metal allergy. 18K yellow gold also has a brighter look to it than 14K, which may be preferable to 14K’s more subtle tone. If your significant other has a job that doesn’t involve a lot of hand work, then 18K’s durability should fare fine.

18K Yellow Gold Sleek Diamond Engagement Ring

This stunning piece of gold jewelry exemplifies the beautiful simplicity of 18K gold.

18K Yellow Gold Sleek Diamond Engagement Ring

18K White Gold Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

An 18K gold ring set with pavé diamonds is another great choice; the pavé diamonds can prevent potential scratches.

18K White Gold Petite Pavé Engagement Ring [Flush Fit]

18K White Gold Prong Set Diamond Engagement Ring

This prong-set diamond engagement ring can give added protection when set in 18K gold.

18K White Gold Prong Set Diamond Engagement Ring

4. Yellow Gold vs White Gold vs Rose Gold:

While choosing 14K or 18K gold might come down to practical factors like budget or durability, choosing a gold color is totally based on personal preferences. If you or your significant other has a metal color preference, awesome – you’re done! If you’re unsure, however, you may want to take into consideration a few different factors. 

As a general rule of thumb, diamonds of “I” color or higher will face up white in white metals, like white gold or platinum. If you’re setting a diamond in yellow or rose gold, you can often drop down in color to a “J” color (or sometimes even a “K” color) and the diamond will still face up white. The reason for this is that yellow and rose gold create optical illusions that make diamonds look whiter comparatively. 

Pro tip: if a diamond has yellow undertones, it will pair better with yellow gold, whereas if a diamond has brown undertones, it will pair better with rose gold. 

18K Yellow Gold Petite Flower Solitaire Engagement Ring

This 18K yellow gold engagement ring is a great option in which to set a lower graded color diamond. Click on the various carat size photos to see the ring set with different color diamonds. The first diamond (at 1.01 carats) is set with a “J” color – notice how it still looks colorless?

18K Yellow Gold Petite Flower Solitaire Engagement Ring

14K Rose Gold Petite Flower Solitaire Engagement Ring

Now let’s take the same engagement ring but in 14K rose gold. Check out the ring set with a 1.5 “I” color diamond and with a 0.8 “K” color – notice how they both still face up white?

14K Rose Gold Petite Flower Solitaire Engagement Ring

5. Wrapping Up:

While there are many factors to take into consideration when deciding between 14k vs. 18k gold, remember these tips to make the decision-making process easier: budget, metal sensitivity, color preference and durability. Finally (and most importantly), this is a major milestone in life – don’t forget to enjoy it!

Ready to purchase your dream engagement ring? Head over to JamesAllen.com and explore a sparkling selection of designs, available in 14K or 18K gold and platinum!

Looking for the perfect ring? Check out the articles below to get more inspiration!

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Jackie is a writer who loves a good deal, especially when it comes to jewelry!