Many of you must have heard of this term. But what exactly does it mean?
In the ancient times, Gold, an ancient precious metal first discovered back in 40,000 B.C. in Spain, is a symbol of power, wealth, and immortality. Its rarity, ductility, malleability and aesthetic qualities made it an ideal metal in jewelry. It can be melted and formed into any shape, thus offering numerous ways for it to be adorned. To this date it has not lost its values and continues to be considered as one of the most sought-after material in the world. Gold can be your weapon against inflation and an important material in electronics. It has great significance in every economic activity.
Gold in its pure form does not corrode. But for some practical reasons, 100% pure gold jewelry is infeasible for daily wear because it is highly malleable and can get deformed due to wear and tear. To make gold more resilient, we do not use 100% pure gold. Instead, we mix with some other metals such as Zinc, Nickel, and Palladium to form gold which is not 100% pure. And here comes the 24K, 18K, and 14K gold.
K stands for Karat (not to be confused with carat, which is the weight measure for gemstones) is a unit for the measurement of purity of gold. 24K gold means the gold is of pure form (well, 99.95% in practicality). Thus anything below 24K is not pure gold. Now, how pure is 18K gold? Let’s do some simple mathematical calculation here:
24K Gold = 100% Pure Gold
Thus, 1K Gold = 100/24 K Gold = 4.167% Pure Gold
Thus, 18K Gold = 4.167% x 18 K Gold = 75.006% Pure Gold = 75% Pure Gold
To illustrate: 24K gold is 100% pure, 18K contains 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals, and 14K gold is 58% gold and 42% alloyed metals. In general, the more gold a metal composition contains, the softer it is, and vice versa. E.g. 14K gold is harder than 18K and 24K gold. However, the color of this metal composition starts getting duller when the purity goes down.