Gold Wedding Bands

18K Gold, 14K Gold, or 10K Gold: How to Choose the Right Gold

You may be wondering if one type of gold ring is better than another type. We can honestly say that the best gold wedding band for you is the one that best speaks to your heart.

The difference between 10K, 14K, 18K and 24k is the amount of pure gold used to craft each ring. With 24K gold being the purest of all, rings in all other karat categories contain less gold metal.

Why No 24K Gold Wedding Bands?

You may have noticed that doesn't offer 24K gold rings. Well, it's not because we're hording them away somewhere in a secret stash only available to a select few. The truth is that 24K pure gold is extremely soft and pliable. Sure, it's lovely to look at, but it's too weak to withstand daily wear in the real world.

Gold and Alloys Make a Beautiful Match

To create gold wedding bands that are durable enough for you to enjoy wearing year after year, pure gold is mixed with other metals called alloys. Gold has enduring beauty that gives the ring its value and metal alloys boost ring-strength. The amount of alloy content is different for each gold ring category. Choose 18K gold wedding bands, or 18K rose gold ring styles when you want the highest karat level closest to pure gold. This mixture features 75 percent pure gold and 25 percent alloy, and ring's cost reflects this high level of gold content. Expect these fine-quality gold bands to show signs of wear sooner than 14K or 10K rings.

Choose 14K gold wedding bands when you want to strike the perfect balance between pure gold content and alloy content. Rings in this category have a mixture of 58.3 percent gold to 41.7 percent alloy. This makes the ring nice and strong, and rings have a good amount of tarnish-resistance, maintaining a gorgeous gold sheen for a longer period than 18K styles.

18K Gold Wedding Bands contain 75% gold and 25% alloy. 18K gold and rose gold are the softest and purist of these three karat golds, and the most expensive because of the high gold content. Theyíre typically used in higher-end jewelry such as fancy diamond rings or where a richer yellow or warm rosy color is desired. For instance, when yellow gold or rose gold is combined with platinum, it can create a stunning and contrasting two-tone look. It is the most resistant to tarnishing of the three karat golds, and although it is the softest, it is still hard enough to be used for rings and wedding bands. 18K gold and rose gold wedding bands will show signs of wear sooner, and wear out slightly faster than 14K and 10K gold bands. However, they are still the preferred choice of those wanting something a little finer.

14K Gold Wedding Bands contain 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy. 14K gold and rose are generally considered to be the ideal karat gold for rings and wedding bands. Both are strong, and will not easily tarnish. Probably 90% of all the gold engagement rings and wedding bands sold in the United States--whether yellow gold, white gold or rose gold--are made with 14K gold. It still has a good yellow color for those wanting yellow bands instead of white or the pinkest hue of rose. When choosing the best karat gold for wedding bands based on all-around beauty and practicality, 14K gold canít be beat. 14K rose gold contains 58.33% pure gold, so it is a bit cooler and pinker than 18K rose gold.

10K Gold Wedding Bands contain 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. 10K gold and rose gold are the only karat golds that contain more alloy than 14k and 18k. 10K gold wedding bands are typically requested by individuals looking for a slight discount from 14K gold prices. It is the least pure and therefore the least expensive of the three karat golds, and is the preferred metal for class rings and other jewelry pieces where a lower cost is desired. It will tarnish more quickly in recessed and hidden areas than 18K and 14K gold jewelry, and 10K yellow gold jewelry items are slightly paler in color than 14K yellow gold jewelry items. 10K rose gold, on the other hand, is the pinkest, coolest color of rose gold, since it contains the least amount of pure gold and more alloy. Itís actually a favorite around our offices, because it is the pinkest in color. 10K gold and rose gold is generally considered to be harder than 14K, but there is much unresolved discussion within the jewelry industry about whether or not it actually wears longer than 14K.

With the internet making it possible to buy gold jewelry from anywhere in the world, many manufacturers are now using international gold marks to show the purity of their gold jewelry items. In these cases, the fineness of the precious metal content is expressed in parts-per-thousand. This marking system is universally recognized, is actually more accurate, and we have listed the applicable marks here along with their corresponding karat marks:

  • 24K = .999
  • 18K = .750
  • 14K = .585
  • 10K = .417

We mark certain bands with these marks, so if you receive a ring from eWeddingBands with an international marking stamp inside, rest assured that the quality is the best available!

White Gold Rings and Rhodium Plating
Because white gold is made from yellow gold and various alloys, white gold in it's natural state has a slight yellow tint. It's not a true white metal like platinum or silver. To enhance the whiteness of white gold jewelry, and no matter where you purchase white gold jewelry, it has become standard in the jewelry industry to plate (or cover) white gold jewelry with another metal called Rhodium. Rhodium is very white, reflective, extremely hard and virtually tarnish free, so it's the perfect protective coating for a white gold ring.

This Rhodium coating may eventually wear off and need to be re-applied through a simple re-plating process, if the bright, whiter look is desired for the piece of jewelry.

We have received many inquiries about how often the re-plating process will be needed, but that depends completely on the amount of normal wear to the jewelry item. It could be needed as often as every 6 months, or as seldom as every 5 years. The Rhodium coating wears off gradually and many people end up loving their rings with the natural white gold look.

What do we wear? We polled our own employees to see what they chose: Of those who have gold rings, approximately 10% chose 18K Gold and 90% chose 14K Gold.

We hope this information will help you with your decision, but if you have additional questions please feel free to call and speak to one of our knowledgeable sales staff—we’ll help you choose the perfect ring!