Understanding Gold Quality and Carats
Despite what many people think, carat is actually a percentage of gold rather than the weight of gold in an item. There are several levels, and the higher in carats you go, the higher the percentage of gold is used in the item.
To help you understand more about gold quality and what carats are and what they mean, we’ve put together a quick and easy guide. This way you can better choose the perfect gold for your loved one or for your budget.
What is “K” or “kt”?
These are the abbreviated symbols for the word carat.
What are the Different Levels of Carat?
There are different levels of gold that you can buy, and the higher the carat, the more expensive and delicate the item will be. Here we outline the different carats and their characteristics:
Gold-plated jewellery will be covering a metal — in many cases sterling silver — to mimic the look of gold without the high price.
9 Carat Gold
9 carat gold is the first true level of gold jewellery that you can buy. It contains 37.5% of pure gold and is actually the strongest and most durable, since it is mixed with other, more hardier metals. Due to the low percentage, 9 carat gold is actually incredibly affordable, meaning you can buy stunning everyday gold bangles at a great price. For jewellery you wear often, and don’t want to risk being damaged, 9 carat is often the go-to option.
14 Carat Gold
14 carat gold contains 58.5% of pure gold, and is a popular choice for fine jewellery at an affordable rate.
18 Carat Gold
18 carat gold contains 75% of pure gold, and is a great choice for jewellery as it is beautiful, luxurious, and yet still strong enough to be worn on an everyday basis. It is the ideal carat for a stunning chain bracelet or necklace, and is sure to impress your loved one.
22 Carat Gold
22 carat gold is the highest carat gold you can buy in a jewellery store, and is ideal for simple jewellery designs like a gold wedding band since it contains 91.6% gold, and is too soft to hold stones.
24 Carat Gold
You won’t find 24 carat gold in any jewellery store because at this level of purity, the metal is simply too soft to set properly. It contains 99.9% pure gold.
What About Different Coloured Golds?
Gold is gold, and typically gold is a yellow in colour which is why some people might be confused at terms like “white gold” or “rose gold”. These are essentially made by mixing in different metals into the mixture. You can typically find white or rose gold at 18 carats, 14 carats, and 9 carats. White gold is made by mixing white metals, and rose gold by mixing copper.
How to Shop for Carats
9 carat gold is great for those on a budget, or if the person you are buying jewellery for has a habit of not wearing fine jewellery very often. If you want to wow them with something they can feel comfortable wearing day in and day out, 9 carat or 14 carat will work best.
For fine luxury jewellery or for important items like wedding rings, the higher 18 carat or 22 carat will be the better choice.