Karat Gold is a “noble metal” meaning it has very special and enduring properties. Hence, it has been long sought after through the ages and used as adornment in jewelry, coinage, and the arts.
Gold does not rust, tarnish, or corrode, and with basic care, gold “glows” for years to come. Since gold is malleable, ductile and has tenacity, it can be shaped, formed and molded into almost any design that will hold its definition. Gold is also hypoallergenic.
“Pure Gold” or “Fine Gold” is known as 24k gold, which indicates that it is entirely gold, 24 parts out of 24.
However, most jewelry is made from either 18k gold, 14k gold or 10k gold. While yellow gold is the most traditional color, by mixing gold with other alloys, jewelers can create stunning shades of gold: white gold, pink gold, rose gold, orange gold and even green gold are just some of the many colors that are becoming more available.
Pure gold is “alloyed” or mixed with other metals for added strength, hardness and to produce a variety of colors. The percentage of gold to the total weight of gold plus alloy is what is referred to as gold’s “karatage” or the karat of gold.
The use of the term “solid gold” always refers to an item of gold that is solidly of gold or of a gold alloy throughout. In the United States, “karat” with a “K” refers to the quality of the gold.
Karatage is one of the most important factors to consider when buying gold.
Higher karatage gold jewelry products offer heightened intrinsic value that is higher than the lower karatage equivalents. For example, one gram of 14k gold is more valuable than one gram of 10k gold. Higher karatage gold also offers a heightened emotional perceived value.
Karatage is often perceived as a seal of quality rather than a mathematical reference to percentage of gold. This is true to the extent that the U.S. laws mandate a minimum (41.7% for 10k Gold) amount of karatage in order to be legally called “gold.”