Difference between 10K and 14K Gold

Updated on April 25, 2017

There’s no question why gold jewelry is always a hot item on the market. It’s beautiful, classy, and is a good investment. But which type of gold is better? The most common we see is 14K, but then we also see 10K gold. What is the difference between the two? Lucky for you, we have the answer to that golden question.

Descriptions

10k

10K gold is gold that contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts alloy (pure gold is 24K or 24 parts gold) or 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. The other metals used in 10K gold can be a combination of tin, manganese, copper, zinc, palladium, nickel, or silver. Jewelry that is made of 10K gold is usually stamped with 10K, 10KT, 10-karat, or .417.

Because 10K gold contains more alloy than actual gold, it is usually sold at a fairly affordable price and is quite durable. For the same reasons, 10K has a pale gold color and has the tendency to tarnish quickly, which is why some jewelry makers that have high standards do not use 10K.

Moreover, it is important to note that if you are allergic to nickel, 10K gold may not be the best option for you since it may contain this metal and may cause skin irritation.

On the other hand, 14K gold is composed of 14 parts gold and 10 parts metal or 58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals such as silver, zinc, nickel, tin, manganese, palladium, and copper. Items that are made of 14K gold can be easily identified by the labels 14K, 14KT, .585 or .583.

14K gold is the most common choice for engagement rings and wedding rings in the U.S. Its color, a lustrous yellow gold, is very close to pure gold. It is fairly durable and does not tarnish easily. It is comparably affordable and is a great investment.

10k vs 14k Gold

What, then, is the difference between 10k and 14k gold?

The greatest difference between the two is that 14K gold contains more gold (it contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy) than 10K gold (which contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts alloy). This means that 14K gold has a higher purity than 10K gold.

Because its alloy content is higher than its actual gold content, 10K gold is paler in color, cheaper, and more durable than 14K. It also has the tendency to cause skin irritation because of the nickel it contains and may tarnish easily.

There is no black and white answer as to which one is better as both are good investments. Whether you should get 10K or 14K gold is really more of a personal preference.

Comparison Chart

10k Gold14k Gold
Contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts alloy or 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloyComposed of 14 parts gold and 10 parts metal or 58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals
Labeled 10K, 10KT, 10-karat, or .417Labeled 14K, 14KT, .585 or .583
Pale yellow; more affordable; more durable but may easily tarnish; more likely to cause skin irritationLustrous yellow gold (color is closer to pure gold); more expensive; durable but not as durable as 10K; does not tarnish easily
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