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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!

Ring catch your eye? Share the love on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or in the comments below!

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

Jackie B.

Jackie B.

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

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Our Most Popular and Most-Reviewed Jewelry

Sure, the jewelry looks fantastic online…but what do customers really think? Read on to find out! We’ve arranged a lineup of the year’s most-reviewed items: engagement rings, wedding rings, and fine jewelry. 

Most-reviewed wedding rings and engagement rings

The reviews are in! Which items are James Allen customers totally in love with? The trends are clear: rose gold, pavé, and classic settings are in.

Rose gold jewelry

Rose gold jewelry got the lion’s share of rave reviews! Our lineup below includes rose gold engagement ringsrose gold wedding rings, and a rose gold necklace.

Pavé jewelry

This glittery lineup of popular jewelry is studded with pavé settings. Not only does pavé add sparkle, but when designed in a halo it makes its center stone appear larger!

Classic jewelry

Simple, unadorned jewelry makes a strong showing alongside its sparkling peers. Solitaire engagement rings, minimalist stud earrings, and gold-forward pendant necklaces are clearly popular.

Read on for a snapshot of our most-reviewed items…

Engagement Rings

Rose Gold Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

The Petite Pavé is one of our most popular engagement ring styles, and it’s clear that rose gold is rising in popularity. This delicate, feminine ring has just the right amount of sparkle…and it had our customers raving!

“The ring was perfect and my fiancé loved it and hasn’t stopped looking at it since.”
-Aaron B.

most popular engagement rings: rose gold pave engagement ring
rose gold pave engagement ring

White Gold Knife Edge Engagement Ring

A simple solitaire engagement ring – with an edge. The strong lines of this unique solitaire engagement ring draw all eyes to the featured center stone. Affordable, minimalist, and stylish, this engagement ring drew a storm of chatter.

“My fiancée loves it! The simplicity of the ring is amazing and more! It shines so big!”
– Jahaira C.

most popular engagement rings:  white gold solitaire engagement ring
white gold solitaire engagement ring

Yellow Gold Solitaire Engagement Ring
with Oval Diamond

This yellow gold engagement ring is an utter classic. It’s designed for comfort – not only is it beautiful, but you can wear it all day. And customers loved it! This setting is suitable for mounting with any cut of a diamond – and customers took advantage of this, choosing (for instance) the oval diamond featured below. 

“Bought this beautiful piece for my wife and she was super happy! The quality of the style and cut is amazing!”
– Alessandro B.

most popular engagement rings:  yellow gold solitaire oval engagement ring
yellow gold solitaire oval engagement ring

White Gold Pavé Rope Engagement Ring

This white gold engagement ring really puts a twist on pavé. It’s composed of two thin bands – one pavé and one classic – twirled together for just the right amount of subtle shimmer. 

“Loved the ring! Shines a ton. She loved it.”
– Chris F.

most popular engagement rings: white gold twisted pave engagement ring
white gold twisted pave engagement ring

Rose Gold Cathedral Halo Engagement Ring

With an arching, many-armed backet, this rose gold engagement ring is pure royalty. Its unique halo is slightly almond-shaped, tapering gracefully into the curved pavé-set band. This is a super-sparkler! And thanks to the surrounding small stones, the center stone actually appears larger than it is. 

“My now fiancée absolutely loves the ring and loves adoring the size of the diamond.” 
– Jonathan V. 

most popular engagement rings: rose gold pave halo engagement ring
rose gold pave halo engagement ring

Wedding Rings

Platinum Flush Fit Pavé Wedding Ring

This is a timeless wedding band that adds a good amount of sparkle. The pavé-set diamonds are set perfectly to allow the maximum amount of light to hit their facets. And if that’s not enough, it’s also effortlessly comfortable to wear. 

“Absolutely love my wedding band and engagement ring. My diamond is stunning and customer service was exceptional.”
– James S.

most popular wedding rings: platinum pave wedding ring
platinum pave wedding ring

Thin Pavé Wedding Ring

For those who love a solid stack of sparkle, this delicate pavé wedding ring is the perfect choice. Slim enough to accommodate both an engagement ring and an anniversary ring, this adds a graceful line of complementary glitter to any ring compilation.

“She said yes! The ring is absolutely remarkable and super elegant!”
– Andrew H.

most popular wedding rings: white gold pave wedding ring
white gold pave wedding ring

Platinum Prong-Set Diamond Wedding Ring

This platinum wedding ring is set with 10 sparkling diamonds that cover half the band’s length. This wedding ring is gracefully bold. Its stones are larger than that of a pavé and, as such, they capture a good amount of light.

“Beautiful! Looks great with my engagement ring (which is also from James Allen).”
– Anne W.

most popular wedding rings: white gold prong-set wedding ring
Platinum Prong Set Diamond Wedding Ring

Rose Gold Vintage Marquise Wedding Ring

A wedding ring with all the romance of vintage jewels, but made to modern quality standards. The entire length of the rose gold band is set with alternating round and marquise diamonds that give off an uncommonly romantic whimsy.

“Exactly what I envisioned for my wedding band. Amazing quality too.”
– Justin L.

most popular wedding rings: rose gold vintage marquise and round diamond wedding ring
14K Rose Gold Vintage Marquise And Round Bezel Diamond Ring

Fine Jewelry 

Yellow Gold Four-Prong Diamond Earrings

These diamond studs became many of our customers’ go-to earrings this year! With their sturdy yet vanishing prongs, these yellow gold earrings upgrade your wardrobe for any occasion. You really can’t go wrong with diamond studs, especially these. 

“The 4 prong looks great!! Happy to have them!”
– Maria J.

yellow gold four prong diamond stud earrings

White Gold Four-Prong Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Diamond tennis bracelet: the ultimate in shine! This bracelet is straight-up, elegant, in-your-face sparkle. A continuous line of diamonds makes this bracelet shimmer from every angle on your wrist. Sturdy four-prong settings hold 53 brilliant-cut diamonds in a single, beautifully-crafted row. 

“The diamonds are bright and sparkly!”
-Yenny C.

white gold four prong diamond tennis bracelet

Rose Gold Curved Bar Diamond Necklace

A minimalist piece with personality! This smile of a necklace features a curved row of round-cut diamonds gracefully suspended by a rose gold chain. The delicate line of glitter brightens up the wearer without being too in-your-face, and the rose gold lends this necklace a feminine touch.

This item is unique and beautiful. What a wonderful gift.”
– Shirley P.

rose gold curved bar diamond necklace

Yellow Gold Bezel Diamond Pendant

A minimalist diamond pendant necklace with an understanded, practical grace. This diamond pendant necklace takes your everyday wear to the next level. The thin bezel setting makes it a fantastic option for active lifestyles, thanks to its strong, no-snag mounting and comfortable flattened back. 

“This necklace is perfect for my everyday life, a very classic and timeless piece.”
– Isa L.

yellow gold bezel-set diamond pendant necklace

Platinum Milgrain Bezel Diamond Pendant Necklace

This milgrain setting keeps your diamond secure and stylish. Its beading is the perfect mix of modern and vintage jewelry design. The smooth, curved back adds a gorgeous element of movement, ensuring that your pendant will always move slightly to catch the light and your diamond’s facets will sparkle.

“Awesome quality!  Very happy with my purchase.”
– James W.

white gold milgrain bezel-set diamond pendant necklace

Customer-favorite jewelry styles:

  1. 2021 Engagement Ring Trends
  2. Trending Yellow Gold Engagement Rings
  3. Wedding Ring Engraving Ideas
  4. Engagement Ring Advice From Real Couples

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

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Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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9 Fall Proposal Ideas For The COVID Era

Use these customer-tested fall proposal ideas to plan your perfect autumn engagement! These 9 tried-and-true COVID-safe proposals work perfectly even while socially distancing.

Fall Proposal Ideas: giggling newly-engaged couple holding red umbrellas in pouring rain

Looking for fall proposal ideas that go along with your mask-wearing, hand-sanitizing 2020 lifestyle? Our customers have done it best. It’s not exactly the time for a vacation proposal, but here are 9 successful, COVID-safe ways to propose to your partner this autumn. Trust us, it’s totally possible to stay safe and fully enjoy the season!

Fall proposal ideas
you’ll fall in love with

Take a day trip to the beach

Don’t mind the weather! It’s fall, but that doesn’t mean that the weather is bad everywhere. Search for your favorite day trip destinations and look for a window of good weather. Once you get it, don’t wait! You’ll get the perfect proposal location, and gorgeous engagement photos to boot.

Jeremiah + Marina’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: man proposing to his girlfriend on a sandy beach

Sapphire and Diamond
Engagement Ring

Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring

Embrace the rain

It’s autumn! And with autumn comes unpredictable weather. If you just can’t wait for that rare day of sunshine, then it’s time to embrace the splish-splashy beauty of the season. Even drizzle can be beautiful, as long as you’re proposing to your partner. 

Alexander + Kalpani’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Alexander and Kalpani's Fall Proposal Idea

Tapered Pavé
Engagement Ring

Tapered Pavé Engagement Ring

Carve your initials into a tree

Robyn and Katie created a proposal time capsule in their favorite park. A year after carving their initials into a heart on a tree, Robyn carved “Will you marry me?” above their heart. Fall was the perfect season to enjoy the golden foliage. And now they have the most romantic spot to celebrate their love for years to come.

Robyn + Katie’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: a woman proposes to her girlfriend by carving "Marry Me?" into a tree.

Petite Pavé
Engagement Ring

Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

Throw a surprise “photoshoot”

Keep it intimate and personal. Propose at home! Do as Christopher did: plan an at-home date night. While you’re waiting for the food to cook, start “goofing around” and taking pictures. You’ll capture the exact moment your partner realizes this isn’t a normal date night!

Christopher + Latrece’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Christopher and Latrece's Fall Proposal Idea

Channel-Set
Engagement Ring

Fall proposal ideas: rose gold channel-set engagement ring

Take a hike

Is there anything better than fall foliage? Go for a short hike to your favorite location. Even better – hire a hidden photographer to wait for you at your designated proposal site. Your autumn engagement will be captured beautifully!

Josh + Rachel’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: a newly-engaged couple smiles against a background of autumn foliage.

Beaded Halo
Engagement Ring

Fall proposal ideas: white gold beaded halo engagement ring

Embrace the bluster!

If you both love the beach, then a choppy fall ocean is a breathtaking backdrop to your engagement. Bring along your friends. As they’re distracting your partner by “taking selfies,” pull out the ring. As you catch your partner off-guard with your proposal, they’ll redirect their cameras to capture your special moment! 

Tu + Ana’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: a man proposing on one knee on a windy coastal cliff.

Diamond Halo
Engagement Ring

Fall proposal ideas: white gold swirl halo engagement ring

Stage “holiday family photos”

Fall is the perfect time to pull off this proposal: pretend you’re taking family holiday photos. You’ll ensure everyone looks their best and all your loved ones will be present! 

Bhavin + Lonna’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: a man on one knee, proposing to his girlfriend with the Washington Memorial in the background.

Pear Pavé Halo
Engagement Ring

Fall proposal ideas: rose gold pear diamond halo engagement rings

Visit the Botanical Gardens

Take advantage of your beautifully maintained local destinations. Your town’s botanical gardens will make the perfect backdrop for your engagement photos. Call ahead of time to enlist their help.

Antonio + Miriam’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: A newly-engaged, mask-wearing couple show off their sparkling engagement ring.

Contoured Marquise
Engagement Ring

Fall proposal ideas: rose gold solitaire engagement ring

Stage a backyard proposal

This one’s perfect for social distancing – it’s local and outdoors! Decorate your backyard into the proposal location of your dreams. You can even invite a few family members and friends over, as long as they wear masks. 

Frank + April’s
Fall Proposal Idea

Fall Proposal Ideas: a man on one knee, proposing to his girlfriend in his backyard in front of a pink balloon arch.

Oval Halo
Engagement Ring

More customer-created proposal ideas

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

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Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring

Trying to figure out your partner’s taste in engagement rings while hiding the fact that you’re ring shopping? If they use Pinterest (and they probably do), here’s how to make it your secret weapon in the search for that dream ring.

Pinterest is a brainstormer’s utopia, which is why it’s used by TONS of ring enthusiasts to virtually window shop. When your partner uses Pinterest (if they don’t, give them a nudge!), you have front-row access to exactly the rings they love. And remember, you can contact our customer service team at any time for hands-on help. 

DISCOVER THEIR STYLE

Quickly identify your partner’s ring style by identifying trends on their Pinterest boards. As you browse their ring pins, ask yourself which ring characteristics show up most often:

  • Type of setting (pavé, solitaire, halo…)
  • Ring metal (rose/white/yellow gold…)
  • Diamond cut (round, emerald, oval…)

Head to James Allen’s Engagement Ring board and easily search rings by your partner’s fav categories. Once you’ve collected your ring inspo, save the pins to a secret board (more on that below). Share them with our customer service team and within minutes they’ll help you pin-point THE ring!

Next up: how to get Pin-spired without raising any ring-shopping suspicions.

Triple Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Rose Gold Triple Diamond Cluster Engagement Ring.

“I took all of the best elements from my fiancée’s Pinterest and combined them into this ring. She is absolutely over the moon with it.”

-Quincy B.

FOLLOW ANONYMOUSLY

To follow your partner without them knowing:

  1. Create a Pinterest account using a non-specific username and a first name/last name that’s not your own.
  2. Search for your partner by their email address (or Pinterest username if you know it)
  3. Go into their profile and click “See all boards”
  4. Choose the relevant engagement ring-related board and click “follow.” 
  5. All the pins you follow will appear in the “following” tab at the top of the page.

Split Shank Solitaire Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Split Shank Solitaire Engagement Ring.

“When the time was right I scoured her Pinterest page looking at photos she had collected over the years. Through these pictures I had an idea of what she liked.”

– Zachary T.

SAVE THEIR RINGS

Once you’re following your partner, it’s super convenient to save all their relevant pins in one location. You can do this by saving their pins to your own secret board, or you can download their pins and save them on your computer – or both!

How to save rings to a SECRET board

To ensure everything stays private, all you have to do is make your board secret. Just click on the pencil icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the board tile. A pop-up will appear. Scroll down and activate the option “keep this board secret.”

If your partner visits your profile, they won’t be able to see any of your saved pins on this secret board. Your secret will be safe.

Vintage Filigree Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Vintage Filigree Engagement Ring

“I immediately was drawn to one ring that I had seen on my girlfriend’s Pinterest page once… I knew it was perfect for her and she absolutely loves it!”

– Zahnlecker M.

COLLABORATE WITH FRIENDS/FAMILY

How can you use Pinterest to collaborate with your partner’s friends and family? Invite them to pin to your ring board and comment on the rings you’ve found!

To get input from the people who know your partner’s tastes best, first search for your ring helpers via username or email – but don’t follow them. (If you do follow them, anyone can see you’re connected.) Then, invite them to collaborate on your secret board.

Once they accept, your partners-in-crime can help by adding ring pins and commenting directly on specific rings.

Entangled Vines Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Entangled Vines Engagement Ring

“My fiancée had a specific ring in mind (Which she made very well known via Pinterest) and James Allen was one of only a handful of online retailers to carry this specific design.”

– Curtis M.

FIND SIMILAR RINGS

Found a James Allen ring on Pinterest that looks almost perfect, but not quite? Open the pin and enlarge the ring to see similar-looking rings.

Our legendary customer service team is also an incredible resource. They’re available 24/7 – and super responsive! Reach out and you’ll be chatting with them within minutes. They’re fantastic at helping to narrow down ring options once you’ve got an idea of your partner’s style.

Cushion Outline Halo Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Cushion Outline Halo Engagement Ring

“I was on my fiancée’s Pinterest and saw a ring from James Allen…Now everyone she comes into contact with always asks about her ring and the compliments never stop!”

-Brandon M.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

So now you’re an expert, buff up your ring expertise by following James Allen Rings on Pinterest. Get the most info for your follow by starting with these James Allen Pinterest boards that are chock-full of educational advice:

Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

Using Pinterest to Find Your Partner’s Dream Ring: Petite Pavé Engagement Ring

“I noticed that 90% of her rings on Pinterest had pavé bands, so I found a really nice diamond and put the ring together. She loves it.”

-Keith G.

On a stealthy ring hunt? Read on for clues:

Subscribe to our email list for access to secret sales, practical ring-buying tips, and $100 off your first purchase!

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Rachel Hoar

Rachel is an unabashed linguistics fanatic who can identify the ancient Greek root of any word. She promises not to spray you with Windex.

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