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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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Twisted Engagement Rings: That Spiral Style

Twisted engagement rings put a new spin on the classic solitaire ring setting.

twisted engagement rings abbraccio swirl danhov cover ring
Abbraccio Swirl Engagement Ring by Danhov

Everything is more interesting with a twist: gin and tonic with a twist of lime, M. Night Shyamalan movies, those poles outside barber shops. The same goes for jewelry – namely, twisted engagement rings. Their updated design adds a whimsical and utterly unique touch to an otherwise basic band.

View these twisted beauties in 360° HD

Twisted Engagement Rings: It’s All in the Twist

Twisted engagement rings can be fashioned out of one solid metal band, two tightly wound bands, or an open split shank that intersects with itself. For an eye-catching enhancement, choose one that’s studded with pavé diamonds or sporting a shimmering halo.

The Bold & The Beautiful 💍

twisted engagement rings contoured twist tension set ring
Contoured Twist Tension Set Engagement Ring

Twisted engagement rings are already a bold look, and silvery metals are in, but this modern tension-set ring brings added drama and sophistication. The wide, sleek band, with its striking contours, is one of the fiercest settings we’ve seen! Can you feel the tension?

The Tulip from Amster-dayum! 🌷

twisted engagement rings milgrain twist tulip basket ring
Milgrain Twist Tulip Basket Engagement Ring

This one-of-a-kind solitaire ring has milgrain detailing along the shanks and can be set with a round or princess-cut diamond. Where’s the tulip, you ask? Ah, that’s the twist! It forms the basket for an extra-romantic surprise.

The Pretzeled Pavé 🥨

twisted engagement rings pavé twist diamond ring
Pavé Twist Diamond Engagement Ring

This delicious-looking setting features a liberal sprinkling of pavé diamonds along each of its interwoven bands. These serve to gently accent the center stone… like grains of salt on a pretzel!

The Simply Di-vine 🍃

twisted engagement rings vine ring
Twisted Vine Engagement Ring

There ain’t no shine like a twisted vine! This bewitching nature-inspired ring showcases two marquise-shaped pavé-set accents on either side. These leaf-like flourishes flow together seamlessly on a band of lustrous gold.

The Spiraling Solitaire 🌀

twisted engagement rings cable solitaire ring
Cable Solitaire Engagement Ring

Throw your partner a rope in the form of this charming twisted cable solitaire engagement ring. Tightly interwoven gold cables are a subtle way to let the wearer know you won’t ever let them down. Pair with the matching cable wedding band when you’re ready to tie the knot.

The Coiled Crossover 🔀

twisted engagement rings pavé halo twisted shank ring
Pavé Halo and Twisted Shank Engagement Ring

Keep your fingers crossed for this gorgeous split-shank engagement ring. A pavé halo surrounds the center stone, while additional pavé diamonds line one of the shanks for maximum sparkle.

Twisted Engagement Rings: Give Us a Twirl

Is a ring with a twist top of your list? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twister.
Er… 
Twitter.

Discover the crossover appeal of split shank and infinity engagement rings.

Let’s twist again! (Pin it!)

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Jonny Hart

Jonny is passionate about puns, adores alliteration, and finds diamonds positively facet-nating! Since joining James Allen, he has written the word 'sparkle’ 9,732 times and counting.

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Finding Her Engagement Ring Style: A Wink & A Smile

Whether you’re a secret agent or a straight shooter, check out our pro tips for finding her engagement ring style.

finding her engagement ring style cover

Everyone has a personal style. Some are more understated than others and, therefore, harder to discern. Your job as Buyer of Rings, Proposer of Marriage, is to hone in on that style by whatever means necessary. Put on your detective hat and do some snooping around or straight up ask your partner what she’d like. Either way, finding her engagement ring style needn’t be a chore with our handy guide. Just pop on some good music and get sleuthing.

Finding Her Engagement Ring Style: Cut to the Chase

finding her engagement ring style cut to the chase

Let’s start by clearing something up: the ring doesn’t have to be a complete surprise.

There, we’ve said it.

These days, it’s perfectly acceptable – preferable even – to bring your partner into the design process. No one knows the wearer’s style better than the wearer herself, so why not involve her in the decision making? Goodness knows, you’ll need all the help you can get when confronted with terms like pavé, halo, and tension! (That last one’s a setting style btw, not a headache.) By promoting your partner to Chief Ring Adviser, you’ll come across as the sensitive and considerate human being you are while eliminating much of the guesswork. It’s a win-win.

Now, the direct approach won’t work for everyone, mind you. Some customers – proposer and proposee alike – have their hearts set on a solo ring selection, culminating in the Big Reveal. To those irrepressible romantics, we say… read on!

Finding Her Engagement Ring Style: A Spy on the Wall

finding her engagement ring style spy on the wall

Like all good detectives, you’ve been waiting for the right case to come along; a case worthy of your powers of deduction. Finding her engagement ring style is right up there with #WhoBitBeyoncé and that whole Yanny vs Laurel thing – except the odds of you solving this one are far higher!

Seriously though, your partner’s online and offline activity might give away key clues about her ring preferences. If she has a Pinterest account, it’s worth checking to see if she’s created any boards with sparkle-related titles or pinned any specific rings. Assuming you have access to her Facebook account, check her profile and activity log for any ring posts she’s liked or shared.

What’s the Buzz?

Even if she’s been careful not to leave a digital trail, she may have confided in her best friend or sibling. Once you’ve got a sparkly bee in your bonnet, it’s almost impossible to keep it to yourself! Listen for subtle hints that might come up when she’s chatting with her inner circle, especially if the topic of celebrity engagement rings comes up.

Finding Her Engagement Ring Style: How She Rolls

finding her engagement ring style how she rolls

When finding her engagement ring style, it often helps to draw on your own personal experience. Presumably, you’ve spent a fair bit of time with your SO and have gleaned an insight or two about her day-to-day.

What kind of lifestyle does she lead? If she has a job or hobby that requires her to wear gloves, she’d be better off with a setting that doesn’t have exposed diamonds on the band. Solitaire and channel-set rings are both practical options as they minimize the risk of the diamonds getting caught or falling out. A less hands-on lifestyle would allow for more exposed diamonds on the band – pavé being the obvious example.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

14K White Gold Vintage Inspired Floral Bouquet Engagement Ring
Vintage Inspired Floral Bouquet Engagement Ring
14K White Gold Spiral Tension Set Engagement Ring
Spiral Tension Set Engagement Ring

If your girl is more Devil Wears Prada than Devil Wears Nada, you might consider a more daring setting. Pay close attention to her wardrobe. If she dresses to impress and won’t touch anything unless it’s by a top designer, go for something with character, such as a vintage engagement ring or hyper-modern tension ring.

Read more about designing the perfect engagement ring

Glow-Key Glam

14K White Gold Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring
Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring

If, on the other hand, her idea of glamour is a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt, we’d recommend opting for something simple like a baguette side-stone engagement ring. Understated yet elegant.

Read more about choosing an engagement ring she’ll love

Finding Her Engagement Ring Style: A Sure Thing

14K White Gold Presentation Solitaire (Six Prong)
Six Prong Presentation Solitaire Engagement Ring

If none of the above tips speak to you, no one would fault you for playing it safe and going with a classic style such as a solitaire. This is essentially a single center diamond mounted on a plain setting. Solitaires are considered classics for a reason: they work with practically any individual style and never go out of fashion.

Once you’ve figured out your setting style, it’s time to consider the diamond shape. If you have even the slightest doubt about what shape to get, you can’t go wrong with a round cut. Round-cut diamonds are by far the most popular shape for engagement rings, owing to their perfect geometry and abundant sparkle. These timeless classics are tried and true, but if it’s a little more edge you’re after, a princess or cushion-cut diamond should suffice.

Walk a Mile in Her Style

How did you manage to pinpoint your partner’s style preference? Did you go undercover or were you upfront about it? Let us know in the comments below or over on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Twitter.

For more invaluable ring-buying tips and tricks, check out the previous posts in our men’s FAQ series.

Pin the style on your fiancée!

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Jonny Hart

Jonny is passionate about puns, adores alliteration, and finds diamonds positively facet-nating! Since joining James Allen, he has written the word 'sparkle’ 9,732 times and counting.

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Style Series: Modern Tension Engagement Rings

Tension engagement rings are what the kids these days might call “tight.”

contoured tension set engagement ring cover

A tension please! With hypermodern, almost futuristic style, tension rings hold their diamond in place by physical force alone. Many tension set diamonds seemingly levitate in their setting. Although prongs are not used, tension engagement rings are some of the most secure because the entire setting works to hold the diamond in place. Some tension cut engagement rings show off the whole diamond, in which case the diamond cut is even more important.

Tension engagement rings celebrate a bright and extraordinary future together.

Browse Tension Engagement Rings

Sense a spectacular tension ring:

Spiral Tension Engagement Ring

A classic contemporary and amazing tension engagement ring, the lustrous metal helps this center stone float.

spiral tension set engagement ring

Two-Tone Tension Engagement Ring

This tension setting cradles an über-trendy pear cut diamond with two different shades of gold.

two tone pear tension set engagement ring

Contoured Tension Engagement Ring

Make a bold statement with a geometric princess cut center diamond held by a sophisticated twist tension.

contoured tension set engagement ring

Hand Engraved Tension Engagement Ring

Confession: this one is a faux-tension ring. Still, like anyone with a faux leather jacket knows, a stylin’ version can be just as charming as a real tension set ring.

hand engraved tension set engagement ring

Etched and Pointed Tension Engagement Ring

Pointed settings allow for marquise diamonds, which are a breathtaking connector between the ends of the tension twist.

etched pointed marquise tension set engagement ring

Two-Tone Pavé Tension Engagement Ring

For the modern glam romantic, these pavé lines, etches, and mixed metals surround a gorgeous center stone.

two tone pave tension set engagement ring

Ready to design your own engagement ring? Get started.

Previous style series posts: Channel Set Engagement RingsVintage Engagement RingsSide-Stone & Three-Stone Engagement RingsHeavenly Halo Engagement RingsTimeless Solitaire Engagement RingsLuminous Pavé Engagement Rings

Can’t wait for more expert ring info? The next installment of our Engagement Ring Style Series is coming up next week!

Obsessed with one (or more) of the rings from this post? Let us know in the comments below, or on our social channels: Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.

Pin this image to save your tension ring love:

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Tova Kamioner

Tova is a lover of fantastic stories, and although she is skeptical of romantic comedies, she can quote most of the classics by heart.

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