What Is the Difference Between 10 Karat & 14 Karat Gold?

Updated July 20, 2017

Gold is one of the most often-used metals in making jewellery. Jewellers value gold for its rich colour, softness and rarity. In the United States and Canada, gold purity is measured in units called "karats." Because pure gold is too soft to be made into durable jewellery, almost all gold jewellery is mixed with another metal to increase its hardness and strength. Common varieties such as 10 carat and 14 carat gold, each exhibit different properties based on how much gold content is in them.

What Is a Karat?

A carat indicates the overall percentage of the metal that is gold. Carats are measured in parts out of 24. For example, a piece of jewellery that is 14 carats has 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal for a total of 58.3 per cent gold. A piece of jewellery that is 24 carats is 100 per cent, or pure gold.

Difference Between 10 Karat and 14 Karat Gold

The major difference between 10 carat gold and 14 carat gold is the total percentage of gold in the jewellery. 14 carat gold is 58.3 per cent gold, while 10 carat gold is only 41.6 per cent gold. The larger gold content means that more of the chemical characteristics of gold are present in 14 carat gold. Fourteen carat gold has a much richer yellow hue than 10 carat gold. Depending on the alloy, it is also heavier.

Other Differences and Considerations

The different qualities of 10 carat and 14 carat lend each one to different uses. Higher-carat gold is much softer than lower-carat gold, but does not tarnish as easily. Lower-carat gold exhibits more qualities of the alloy it is mixed with, which may be desirable depending on your preferences. Higher carat gold also tends to be much more expensive, depending on the alloy used.

Common Gold Types

There are three very common types of gold: yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold. Yellow gold is usually an alloy of zinc or silver, and retains golds natural yellow colour. White gold is an alloy of any whitish metal, including platinum, silver or nickel. White gold has a bright white hue. Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy with a red hue. All gold variations exhibit different qualities based on what they are mixed with and their purity. All 10 carat varieties exhibit more properties of their alloy metal than 14 carat varieties.

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About the Author

Ilya Kovic is the owner and founder of his own business: The Magic of Ilya Kovic. He began attending the University of Florida in 2010 and holds an Associate of Arts from Edison Community College in Naples.