How to Choose Between 14 KT and 18 KT Gold for an Engagement Ring
The engaged couple has picked out the stone, the band, the cut, so what comes next? Originally, it probably seemed like an easy task to pick out an engagement ring, but for every ring there are decisions, decisions, decisions. Before completing the purchase, a couple must consider the type of gold. There is a big question surrounding whether 14 KT or 18 KT gold is better for a wedding ring.
Before beginning, it is important to know what karats even mean. A karat is simply a term of measurement for the purity of gold. To give a frame of reference, 24 KT gold is pure gold. Although it is desirable to have “real” gold, pure gold is too soft to be used in its purest form and must, therefore, be combined with other metals to make it hard enough to be used for jewelry. When thinking about karats and their closeness to pure gold, 14 KT gold is 58% pure gold, while 18 KT is 75% pure gold. Since it is closer to pure gold, 18 KT gold will most certainly cost more than 14 KT gold. However, since it contains more gold than 14 KT, the 18 KT gold will make for a heavier ring.
Strength-wise, 14 KT is much stronger than 18 KT due to the heavier mixture of metal alloys. Therefore, this strength is important in very detailed rings. For example, having strong metal for the prongs will keep the diamonds in place better than prongs of a weaker metal.
Durability-wise, 18 KT gold is much more likely to get scratched than14 KT gold because it is closer to the softness of pure gold. With this in mind, one will have to polish an 18 KT gold ring much more often than a 14 KT ring.
For vintage lovers, 18 KT gold might be a more popular choice because this particular metal scratches in a way that ensures a patina. If a ring has a more rustic flair to it, this patina might be especially desirable.
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14 KT vs. 18 KT Yellow Gold:
In terms of color, the 18 KT yellow gold engagement ring will look richer and deeper than one of 14 KT. 14 KT has a tendency to look whiter than the 18 KT gold ring. However, these color differences are only significant with rings that show off a lot of the metal. Rings with a heavier focus on accent diamonds are much less likely to show a difference in the color of the metal.
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14 KT vs. 18 KT White Gold
There is not much difference between the two metals in terms of color for white gold engagement rings. Although the difference is not significant, 14 KT white gold tends to look whiter than 18 KT. Both metals hold their shine well while still remaining more durability; the likelihood of scratches is low, unlike with yellow gold. In comparison to yellow gold, white gold tends to hold its shine better. However, the difference between 14 KT and 18 KT in durability is miniscule.
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14 KT vs. 18 KT Rose Gold
In comparison with yellow and white gold, a rose gold engagement ring’s color is most affected by the karat. Rose gold gets its color from the copper alloy mixed in with the gold. Since 14 KT rose gold is less pure, that means more copper is mixed in, and therefore, the color will be richer than that of an 18 KT rose gold ring. However, richer does not always equate with the ring being better. The 18 KT rose gold will have a more champagne-like color. Therefore, the “best” option for a rose gold ring relies solely on aesthetic and preference.
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How To Choose a Metal
The color of the gold does not play a significant effect on the price of the ring; the value is determined more through karat than it is by color.
For the customers who have allergies to certain metals, like nickel, an 18 KT gold ring will be much less likely to spawn an allergic reaction than its less pure 14 KT counterpart. However, the allergy aspect is only a concern with yellow gold. The white gold rings are coated with rhodium, and therefore, the actual gold alloy never comes into contact with the wearer’s skin.
In the US, 14 KT gold tends to be the more popular choice for engagement rings, but in Europe and Asia, the buyers typically prefer 18 KT gold. Ultimately, the better choice lies within the wants and needs of the wearer as there are many factors affected by the choice in gold. Whether a buyer chooses 14 KT or 18 KT depends on their lifestyle, their budget, and their stylistic choices. It is just one more way in which couples can customize their engagement!
Metal Pros & Cons
White Gold Pros: Generally more affordable than other types of metal. If you spend less on the metal, you can invest more money into a higher quality diamond or gemstone. White gold is tougher and stronger than yellow, or pure gold. It is also harder to scratch compared to metals such as platinum. It has a beautiful appearance and it can highlight the brilliance of diamonds.
White Gold Cons: White gold contains nickel, which many people are allergic to. If you have an allergic reaction to nickel, you can experience itchiness, discoloration, and swelling. Chemical sensitivity can be an issue with white gold, especially when in areas that contain chlorine like public pools or hot tubs. This could make the metal discolored.
Yellow Gold Pros: Yellow gold engagement rings look beautiful on people who have olive or darker skin tones due to the nice contrast it provides. It’s a very popular and traditional metal choice. It’s the most malleable metal, meaning it’s the easiest for jewelers to work with.
Yellow Gold Cons: Yellow gold, especially yellow gold that’s high-karat, is more likely to be scratched or dented than other metals. It should be cleaned regularly and polished more often than other rings. Doesn't look as impressive on people who have pale and fair skin tones.
Rose Gold Pros: Provides a unique and romantic look to any engagement ring. Looks amazing in vintage-inspired engagement rings. Rose gold is the strongest out of the three golds. This is due to the copper that it contains because copper is very sturdy.
Rose Gold Cons: The copper in rose gold can cause allergic reactions to those who have sensitive skin. Rose gold cannot be called a hypoallergenic metal.