Did you know you can bend and mold 24kt gold with your bare hands? This means 24kt is not a great option for jewellery because it is so soft. Pure 24kt gold is a bright intense yellow, but the lower karat golds have a paler yellow look. Gold is naturally yellow but to get other colours of gold, we add alloys (other metals). 18kt gold and higher almost never tarnish and is less likely to affect people with sensitive skin. 10kt, 14kt and 18kt are common in North America, 18kt, 22kt, and 24kt are common in most of the rest of the world.
|North American stamp||European stamp||% of pure gold|
18kt yellow gold
Stamped 18kt, 750
75% Gold, alloyed with Copper, Silver, Zinc and/or Cobalt
18kt yellow gold does not require plating because we aren’t changing the colour of the metal. 18kt gold jewellery is highly sought after because of its high gold content, and its lovely rich yellow colour. 18kt rarely causes skin irritation because it is lacking nickel which is the material most people are allergic to.
18kt white gold
Stamped 18kt, 750
75% Gold, alloyed with Copper, Nickel, or Zinc
18kt white gold requires rhodium plating and re-plating over time, depending on wear. This alloy blend can cause skin irritations, but only in people that are highly allergic. 18kt gold jewellery is highly sought after because of its high gold content.
14k yellow/white gold
Stamped 14k, 585, 583, 575
Probably most common gold quality in North America because it is a great combination of gold content and function ability. Most gold chains are made from 14k because it is strong enough to take a fair amount of wear and the colour works well with most gold qualities.
10k yellow/white gold
Stamped 10k, 417
10kt is 417 parts gold and 583 parts alloy. This alloy “recipe” will vary from supplier to supplier.
Very common in North America. Because of the high alloy content you are more likely to have an allergic reaction. This gold can tarnish, it depends on the type of alloys used.
925, SS, sterling silver
Sterling silver is 925 parts fine and 75 parts copper. SS is fairly soft because it has such a high fine silver content, which is nearly as soft as 24kt gold. The copper alloy helps strengthen the metal, but it is a soft metal as well. Sterling silver will tarnish over time, but because of the low alloy content most people will not be allergic to it.
Stamped pt, plat, pt950, 950, 900
Platinum jewellery is roughly double the cost of 14kt. This is because platinum has very little alloy in it at 95%, making it hypoallergenic. Platinum is a very dense metal. It is naturally white and polishes really well. Over time with no polishing, platinum tends to looks dark grey. Platinum also doesn’t wear down like gold, it will dent. This metal is great for engagement rings, because it is much stronger than gold and wears better over time.
Tungsten carbide, TUNG, TC850
Tungsten is a steel alloy that is heavy and very scratch resistant. Tungsten is very high on the hardness scale and is considered scratch proof. These rings cannot be sized, and like titanium, need to be milled. Be careful not to drop your ring on too hard of a surface because the harder something is, the more brittle it is. Tungsten can be white, off- black or a dark steel colour. Tungsten rings can’t be soldered, another size must be ordered if the ring no longer fits.
Cobalt has been used in the medical implant industry for years and has recently moved over to the jewellery industry. It is not as scratch resistant as tungsten, but it is still considered scratch resistant. It is also not quite as brittle as tungsten and is just as hypoallergenic. Cobalt jewellery can be bright white and a true black colour. Like tungsten, if the ring does not fit, a new one must be ordered in the correct size.