We love a gold jewelry moment, but the range of options can get a little confusing. 10k vs 14k vs 18k gold plating—which one is right for you? We get it, there is so much out there, and we’re here to help you shop through it. Here you will learn how to identify the different types of gold plating in jewelry and find one that best suits your style and budget. 

Think of this as your ‘Gold plated jewelry shopping cheat-sheet’ (say it 10 times fast) that will tell you all you need to know when choosing between 10k vs 14k vs 18k Gold plating.

What is a 'Karat'?

To understand what 10k vs 14k vs 18k Gold plating is, we first need to understand what the ‘K’ behind each of these numbers stands for. ‘K’ is short for karat, which is the measure of purity of the gold.

Let’s break it down further, shall we? *Cue Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic.*

  • K is short for Karat and can be written as K, k or KT
  • Karats are marked on a scale that starts at 0 and goes to 24; meaning that 24K gold is gold in its purest form.
  • I.e. 24 out of 24 parts (karats) is 100% pure gold. 

Once we understand this, it's easier to grasp what 10k, 14k and 18k plated gold is. 

  • 10k gold - 10 parts gold, 14 parts alloy metals
  • 14k gold - 14 parts gold, 10 parts alloy metals
  • 18k gold - 18 parts gold, 6 parts alloy metals

Here’s a simple representation of this:

10K vs 14K vs 18K Gold

Jewelry plated in 10K gold, has the lowest content of gold, is the most durable and relatively cheaper than 14K and 18K plated gold jewelry.

On the other hand 14K and 18K gold plated pieces are purer forms that are used for special occasions as well as everyday wear. With the same lustre as real gold, 14K and 18K plated gold jewelry is a great option if you’re looking for durability, a luxe look and affordable price points. 

Don’t know where to start? Shop our favorite 14K Gold Plated Jewelry here

November 18, 2021 — Prashansa David