The Difference Between 10K Gold Rings, 14K Gold Rings & 18K Gold Rings

men's gold wedding bands

The Difference Between 10K Gold Rings, 14K Gold Rings & 18K Gold Rings

Throughout its long history, gold has been coveted among those seeking status, wealth, and beauty. gold has sparked the movement of people and was integral in the creation of a monetary system. Gold is a naturally occurring metal and considered to be one of the most precious in the world due to its rarity and high value. On the periodic table of elements, Gold is a transition metal and can be found in the same column as silver and copper. Gold is highly resistant to oxidization (a form of corrosion) and is soft and malleable, which is why most Gold jewelry and gold wedding bands are actually an alloy of Gold and other metals. Gold’s natural color is yellow.

When it comes to gold wedding bands, brides and grooms have many choices, and trying to select between 10K gold, 14K gold, or 18K gold rings may have some couples scratching their heads. To understand the differences in the three, it’s important to understand what a karat (K) is.  

14k gold ring

What Is A Karat? 

A karat is a unit of measurement for the amount of pure gold in a wedding band. Pure gold is 24 karats, and much too soft to be made into a durable and lasting wedding ring which is why gold wedding bands consist of alloy metals and gold. The number in front of the K indicates the amount of gold (as opposed to alloy metals) in a ring based on this 24K scale. 

10K Gold vs 14K Gold vs 18K Gold

While pure gold is 24K and much too soft for jewelry, solid gold indicates any gold that is 10K or more. Here is a simple breakdown of the gold to alloy metal ratios in men’s and women's wedding bands. In a nutshell, the higher the number in front of the K, the more gold in your wedding band. 

A 10K Gold Wedding Band contains 41.6% pure Gold at a ratio of 10 parts Gold to 14 parts alloy metals.

A 14K Gold Wedding Band contains 58.3% pure Gold at a ratio of 14 parts Gold to 10 parts alloy metals.

A 18K Gold Wedding Band contains 75% pure Gold at a ratio of 18 parts Gold to 6 parts alloy metals.

How Do Gold Karats Affect Color? 

Pure gold is naturally yellow in color. Wedding bands that have more gold in them will be a brighter yellow than those with less gold. An 18K gold ring will be more yellow than an 14K gold ring which will be more yellow than a 10K gold ring. 

While yellow is a traditional choice for a wedding band, gold wedding rings are also available in white and rose gold. White gold is achieved through a process called rhodium plating and can fade, or yellow, over time. Many brides and grooms have their wedding bands re-plated when needed, but Platinum may be a more suitable option if you're looking to maintain the silver color over time without having to go to your jeweler. 

Rose gold wedding bands get their vintage color from the addition of copper, which also makes them the most scratch resistant. For example, an 18K rose gold wedding band may consist of 75% pure gold, 22.25% copper, and 2.75% silver. 

gold rings

How Do Gold Karats Affect Durability? 

You now know that pure, 24K gold is too soft for everyday wear. It follows that the higher the gold content, the less durable the wedding band. All gold wedding bands are subject to scratches over time, however 10K and 14K gold rings are harder and more scratch-resistant than 18K gold rings.

Which Gold Ring Is Right For Me? 

Consider your lifestyle, budget, and how you like your wedding band to feel on your finger when choosing between 10K, 14K, and 18K gold wedding rings. 

14K Gold Wedding Bands have the most resistance to wear and tear, making it a popular choice among most couples. It’s also extremely affordable, with rings starting at just $249. If you want a traditional metal, but also lead a somewhat active lifestyle, 14K gold is a solid choice. 

If you’re someone who likes to feel a bit of weight on your finger, 18K Gold Wedding Bands are more weighty than 10K and 14K Gold Rings. The most expensive of the three is 18K Gold, as it contains the most of the precious metal. Generally, the more Gold that is in the ring, the more it will cost. You’ll see that wider Gold Rings are priced higher and thin rings, also due to the amount of gold used to create the wedding band. 

Ready to try on some wedding bands? With Hitched home try-on, couples can try out their favorite choices from the comfort of home. Ready to get started?  Shop Gold Wedding Bands