Gold is weighed in a universally accepted unit, karat. Anybody who is familiar with the metal knows this. But the story behind karat runs deep. Technically, it is the unit of purity, but is also the unit of gold content of a jewelry. The higher is the karat of a piece, the more gold it contains.
The Karat System
The karat system is the global unit of measurement of the pure gold content in a solid gold item. The karats in gold range from 9K to 24K, 9 being the least pure and 24 being the most. Any jewelry containing 8K or less gold is not a solid gold jewelry. Articles carrying such low content of gold cannot be labelled as gold jewelry by the global standards.
Pure Gold and Solid Gold
Buyers have been riddled by these two most used phrases among jewelers for a long time. Caught between the two, they have often made wrong decisions ending up with the second best deal when they had the chance to bag the best. To shed some light on this, solid gold ornaments is quite frankly a misnomer. That is because solid gold jewelry are so often not made of solid gold that the name is plain misleading. To lift the second veil of confusion, the name is used to describe jewelry that have some kinds of gold alloys inside the piece.
As for pure gold jewelry, they are made of gold, and is therefore a much fitting name to the products they label. Pure gold jewelry do not use alloys. They are mostly made of 22K gold because 24K which is gold in its purest form is too soft to be curved into anything intricate as jewelry.
A Closer Look at the Karats
Here is how much gold every range of karat actually has.
- 24 Karat gold is the purest form of gold with absolutely no alloy content.
- 18K is gold that is made of 18 out of 24 parts gold. The remaining 6 parts in that case are made up of other metals. That makes it 75% pure.
- 14K is 14 parts pure gold mixed with 10 parts of alloy metal or metals. 14K gold has a purity percentage of 58.3%.
- Last in the range is 10 Karat gold that is 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metals, which makes is only 41.7% gold.