10k vs. 14k vs. 18k Rose Gold: What’s the Difference?

Gold is yellow. That claim is true, but not necessarily. The fact is that 24K gold is always yellow, but it is unusable for jewelry designing. Therefore, jewelers always add different alloys to get gold suitable for this purpose. As a result, added metal changes gold’s firmness and color.

For example, the copper and silver combination is a base for rose gold, while its firmness depends on different gold percentages. So, you can recognize 10k vs. 14k vs. 18k rose gold and choose the one you like the most. Let’s take a look.

Pure Gold vs. Solid Gold

Pure Gold vs. Solid Gold 1Pure gold is only the one without any alloys. Since it is too soft and impractical for use, you can often hear the term solid gold in the US referred to gold with purity above 10K.

Karat

Karat is an internationally accepted gold purity measure. The number you can see before the letter K describes how many parts of gold this particular piece has out of 24 total parts.

Gold Purity

Karat Purity Fineness Gold parts
9K* 37.5% 375 9/24
10K 41.7% 417 (416) 10/24
12K 50% 500 12/24
14K 58.3% 583 (585) 14/24
18K 75% 750 18/24
22K 91.6% 916 (917) 22/24
24K 99.95+% 999 24/24

*It is not recognized as gold in the US

Color

Color is the most noticeable difference between gold with various karats. Pure gold is naturally yellow, but this unique shadow fades after adding other metals.

For instance, silver will add some greenish shade to gold, while iron adds grey color, aluminum purple, and nickel white. If you are a red gold admirer, you should know that it contains copper while copper and silver combination get a rose and pink gold.

Hardness

Gold hardness directly depends on the alloy percentage. Therefore, 10K and 14K gold types are slightly harder than 18K, while 18K is denser. It’s up to you to make the best choice according to your preferences.

Rose Gold

Rose gold is a combination of 24K yellow gold with silver and copper. The rose shade you get will depend on the added alloy percentage.

When the copper content is higher, the final gold will be more reddish and vice versa. For instance, 14K rose jewelry is more rose pink, while 18K is champagne rose because of higher gold percentage.

This gold type is highly durable, thanks to added alloys. As a result, you can use rose gold to make any jewelry you want. Even though the overall cost is the same for yellow and rose gold of the same karat, its popularity increases the prices of this romantic variation nowadays.

10K rose gold

10K rose gold

10K rose gold (discount gold) contains 10 parts or 41.7%  of pure gold and 14 parts, or 58.3% silver, copper, and zinc mix.

Pros

  • This rose gold type is quite durable
  • Its price and maintenance costs are desirably low because of a high percentage of inexpensive copper
  • This sturdy gold alloy is highly resistant to scratches and other damages

Cons

  • Even though the rose gold color is increasingly romantic and stylish, it is not so vibrant in 10K variation
  • Gold purity level is low, making it the least pure and low-quality option in the US
  • It often causes metal allergies and skin sensitivity

14K rose gold

14K rose gold

With 58.5% pure gold, 14K rose gold is a quality, durable, and firm option with a deep reddish hue. Therefore, it is one of the most popular rose gold types you can find on the market.

Pros

  • This durable gold type provides a high purity gold level and a warm appearance
  • It is durable thanks to high silver and copper content so that you can wear it every day without fear of warping and scratches
  • Since it contains a lower alloy percentage, the risk of allergies is lower
  • This option is still affordable, and 90% of engagement rings sold in Western Europe and the US is made of 14K gold

Cons

  • Since it is not pure, its color is not rich as 18K rose gold and can be too deep for some skin hues
  • This rose gold is less durable than 10K variation

18K rose gold

18K rose gold

Rose gold of 18K is a trendy option nowadays. It contains a high level of gold mixed with 22.2 to 22.5% copper and traces of silver.

Pros

  • Jewelry made of this rose gold type is romantic and unique with a bit of vintage appeal
  • Thanks to copper content, it is durable enough for everyday use and easy to maintain
  • Engagement rings made of 18K rose gold are super trendy nowadays
  • It is unique, and you can’t confuse it with any other jewelry type
  • It looks excellent on almost all skin hues

Cons

  • It is a bit problematic option for people suffering from copper allergy
  • Thanks to high copper levels, your jewelry can become redder and darker over time
  • Unfortunately, this gold type is not easy to find because of its limited availability

10k vs. 14k vs. 18k Rose Gold

10k vs. 14k vs. 18k Rose Gold

Purity

As I have already mentioned, all rose gold types are made of pure solid gold and precisely determined copper and silver percentage. The purest option is 18K rose gold with 75% pure gold, 22.2 to 22.5% copper, and 2.5 to 2.8% silver, depending on the manufacturer.

Alloy content in rose gold

Gold type Karat Gold Silver Copper
Pure 24K 99.9% 0% 0%
Rose 18K 75% 2.5 to 2.8% 22.2 to 22.5%
Rose 14K 58.3% 8.2% 33.5%
Rose 10K 41.7% 58.3% combined

With 58.3% gold, 14K rose gold is the second purest, and it contains 33.5% copper and up to 8.2% silver. Only 41.7% gold content makes 10K rose gold the most inferior quality option of the three. It contains 58.3% silver, copper, and often zinc in a different ratio.

Color

Basically, the rose gold color will depend on the gold-copper-silver ratio and vary from champagne to reddish hue.

10K vs 14K vs 18K rose gold

Karat Purity Fineness Gold parts Red color Durability Price
10K 41.7% 417 (416) 10/24 *** *** *
14K 58.3% 583 (585) 14/24 ** ** **
18K 75% 750 18/24 * * ***

If you like the rich red-rose gold color, you should pick out a piece of jewelry made of 10K gold. About 58.3% copper and silver mix doesn’t provide the highest quality, but this jewelry intense reddish color is fantastic.

Since 14K rose gold contains only 58% pure gold, it is vintage-like with deeper pink color. On the other hand, a piece made of 18K rose gold with 75% gold has a warmer rose-yellowish or lighter pink tone.

Durability

Rose gold durability primarily depends on the copper content. In other words, 10K rose gold is much more durable and scratch-resistant than a similar piece made of 18K.

Basically, 10K gold will wear out slowly, and you can wear it much longer than the other two types. Even though 14K is also pretty durable, it won’t last the same, and you will see the first signs of wear earlier.

Since 18K rose gold is purer than the other two, you can expect jewelry made of this gold type to be softer and more susceptible to wear. Therefore, it will require more care and attention.

If you prefer its lovely color, you can use this jewelry every day but take it off whenever you take a shower, do the dishes, or go to the gym. However, it is crucial for rings, while earrings or necklaces made of this gold type require less care.

Hypoallergenic properties

Unfortunately, 10K and sometimes 14K rose jewelry are not options for people suffering from contact allergies. If you are sensitive to copper and zinc, you should avoid this jewelry type. Your best shot is 18K rose gold that contains a significantly lower copper percentage.

Tarnishing

Rose gold won’t tarnish regardless of whether it is 10K, 14K, or 18K. You can expect pieces containing a higher gold percentage to develop a patina over time due to copper oxidizing. It makes antique and vintage rose gold jewelry even more valuable and desired.

Price

Since 10K rose gold contains 58.3% combined metals, it is the most affordable type among the three available. However, it is not the most desirable option for fine jewelry like engagement rings. Therefore, you can’t find a wide selection of pieces you look for on the market.

Additionally, this rose gold quality is not exceptionally high. Jewelers often use it for pre-made rings with gems of questionable quality. Keep in mind that jewelry made of 10K rose gold is cheaper than those made of 14K rose gold, but the price difference is usually insignificant compared to quality differences.

Rose gold jewelry made of 14K is quite durable and scratch-resistant but less expensive than the similar piece made of 18K gold. For instance, an engagement ring made of 18K rose gold is approximately $200 to $400 more expensive than the one made of 14K, depending on its weight and thickness.

Summary

Since Peter Carl Faberge used rose gold for the first time in history, it became trendy because of its lovely, romantic reddish shades. American ladies adored it in the 1920s, and it is still one of the most desired gold types available on the market. All three common rose gold types are beautiful, and you can choose the best option for you based on your taste and needs.

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