What is the difference between 14 karat and 24 karat gold?
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14 karat gold refers to an alloy gold in which content of pure gold by weight is 14 parts out of 24 parts.
24 carat gold has 24 parts out of 24 parts gold - that is, it is 100% pure gold.
Similarly 12 carat gold will have 50% pure gold and 50% other metals. 18 carat gold will have 75% pure gold and 25% other metals.
Of course we cannot have more than 24 carat gold.
As you probably already know, karat measures the purity of gold alloy.
When measuring a purity of gold alloy, one karat is 1/24 purity by mass. This means that 1 karat would equal approximate 4.2% purity.
As for answering your question, 14 karat would mean that the gold alloy you possess would have approximately 58.5% purity while the 24 karat gold alloy would have 99.9% purity.
Thus, 24 karat would be considered to be pure gold.
The amount of gold as a percentage of the total is measured in karats. Hence, 100 percent gold is expressed as 24 karat gold, while 14 karat gold indicates that 10 parts are non-gold or alloys and only 14 parts are pure gold. Hence, 14 karat gold represents 14 parts out of 24 pure gold.
Supplementary metals are added to pure gold to increase the hardness or to give a different color. Hence, 14 karat white gold have a white-grey color because only 14 parts represents pure gold and the rest of 10 parts are represented by the additional metals, nickel or palladium, that give the final color.
Gold is never 100% pure gold. The karat, then, is a measure of how much of it is truly gold, by weight.
This is measured in parts of 24. A 16-karat gold ring refers to the fact that 16/24 parts are actually gold. That leaves 8/24 that is not gold, but other metals.
A 24-karat ring would be almost 100% pure gold. It is close enough to 100% that the difference is too small to detect.
While it seems desirable to have more gold in jewelry and less other metals, it is important to know that gold is very soft and can be damaged easily. Adding in a little of those other metals gives the gold strength and makes it less prone to being scratched, bent or otherwise damaged.
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