The metal you choose for your engagement ring setting determines its value and longevity. From platinum to white or yellow 14k gold and everything in between, it can be challenging to decide what precious metal you love the most.
Gold has forever been the most popular metal choice for engagement rings and fine jewelry. It is a favorite for many brides and grooms for its relatively abundant supply and luster.
Here, we discuss: What it is, what it costs, and how to care for your 14K gold ring.
First Things First: What Is 14k Gold?
The gold for engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry is rarely 100% gold. Instead, the metal comes in various purity levels, like 14k and 18k.
This is not to be confused with ‘carat,’ which refers to your diamond’s actual weight and represents its overall size; the ‘karat’ grading system describes gold purity. The more pure gold present, the higher the karat rating.
Any 14 karat gold jewelry is not pure gold. Pure gold, or 24k gold, is naturally precious, but its malleability is not always the best choice for jewelry.
To make 14k gold, pure gold is bonded with other metals to create a much stronger metal alloy. It may incorporate zinc, nickel, silver, or copper and is approximately 58% gold.
Deciding what gold color you want to feature on your ring is a personal preference. Jewelry in 14k gold comes in white, yellow, or rose gold — each beautiful and complementary to many ring styles. If you’re in the beginning stages of deciding between white, yellow, and rose gold, check out this guide to learn more about what color is right for you and your style!
Yellow gold was most popular in the ’90s but is making a comeback today with its beautiful soft yellow hue. This color is typically a mixture of pure gold, copper, and nickel, which gives it its warm look.
Yellow gold is the purest of white, yellow, and rose gold. It has a rich yellow color that is recognizable. Yellow gold jewelry is not always the same color. Many times 14k yellow gold has a less intense yellow color than 18 karat gold.
If you’re looking for a more silvery look, white gold is a perfect choice. White gold, while similar looking to silver, is a combination of pure gold along with a mix of other metals such as silver, palladium, and nickel.
It’s also common for white gold to have a rhodium coating. White gold has been the most popular of the golds for years, but with different trends and styles, that is starting to change slightly.
Rose gold is newer on the jewelry scene but becoming more and more popular. With its beautiful pink color, this metal is an excellent choice for unique or vintage settings and will really make your engagement ring pop!
The most popular choice of metal for engagement rings and wedding bands is 14k gold. Most jewelers, including Clean Origin, will recommend 14k gold for jewelry because it is durable and best for long-term wear. The most significant advantages of choosing 14k gold over 18k and 24k are its durability and value for money.
Durability of 14k Gold
Because of the added metal alloys, 14k gold is significantly more durable than 18k or 24k gold. This gives it resistance to scratches and dents.
If you wear your engagement ring or wedding band every day, it is prone to wear and tear. So, 14 karat gold will be the best gold choice to keep its beautiful shine and color. Remember, the higher the karat, the less durable the metal will be.
14k Gold Price
Choosing 14k gold is not only great for the durability of your ring, but it’s also a fantastic choice for your wallet. In general, 14k gold is the perfect balance of strength, longevity, and value for your money.
White gold, while similar in appearance to platinum, is significantly less expensive. The price will vary significantly depending on what metal you choose for your setting.
By choosing a lab-grown diamond, you’ll save an additional 20-40% on the diamond, allowing you to allocate that money toward a more elaborate setting or better quality diamond.
Disadvantages of 14K Gold
Every precious metal has its disadvantages. For 14k gold, the biggest disadvantages are that it will need to be polished over time to maintain its shine and beauty.
No metal is invincible (even platinum needs some TLC every now and then). This is something to keep in mind, but yearly maintenance and cleanings are encouraged for your engagement ring to keep it in tip-top shape. So, putting in a little extra effort to keep the gold looking its best shouldn’t be too difficult.
Another downside of 14k gold is that it can trigger some people’s skin irritations or allergic reactions. Because 14k gold has a mixture of other alloys (nickel, copper, etc.), those who suffer from allergic sensitivity to one or more of these metals may experience irritation.
How To Care For 14k Gold
Although not the softest and most fragile of precious metals, 14k gold still requires some care on your side. A few tips will help keep your favorite pieces looking great and lasting for a lifetime, even with everyday wear.
- Tip #1: Be mindful when wearing your fine jewelry during high-contact sports or more hands-on activities. Take off your jewelry pieces and keep them in a safe place, to avoid any dings or scratches to the metal.
- Tip #2: Avoid chlorine at all costs when wearing 14k gold jewelry! Chlorine will weaken your metal and can eventually cause major damage to your ring. If you can manage, don’t wear your fine jewelry when swimming or if you’re around harsh chemicals in general.
- Tip #3: Be mindful of your daily routines. Simple activities such as bathing, washing dishes, putting on lotion, etc., can cause products to build upon your ring and around your diamond. This will make not only your diamond look less shiny but also can dull your metal. We recommend you clean your jewelry, especially your engagement ring, often to avoid damaging your setting or diamond and keep it looking new!
Is 14k gold the best for engagement rings?
At Clean Origin, we offer both 14k gold and 18k gold and platinum for most of our jewelry.
White or yellow 14k gold is by far the most popular and affordable option while also providing the most durability.
The higher the karat, the softer it will be because it will have more pure gold present in the ring. Soft rings are more prone to scratching or other damage, which is why, for its price and durability, we highly recommend 14k gold to many of our Clean Origin customers.
How to care for 14k gold jewelry
Although not the softest metal, if you wear 14k gold, avoid handling harsh chemicals (like chlorine or bleach), remove your rings during high-impact sports or activities, and take your ring to get professionally cleaned once a year. We also recommend doing light cleanings yourself at home to keep your ring looking new!
What is the difference between 14k, 18k, and 24k gold?
The difference between 14, 18, and 24 karat gold is the amount of pure gold present. Any 14k gold jewelry has about 58% pure gold, and 18k jewelry has about 75% pure gold.
The more pure gold, the softer the metal will be. This is why we do not recommend 24k gold for your engagement and wedding ring because it will scratch and ding easily. Also, the more pure gold present (for yellow gold especially), the richer or brighter, and the more yellow the color will appear.
What is more expensive, 14k or 18k gold?
Because of its higher gold percentage, 18k gold is more expensive than 14k gold by a few hundred dollars depending on the setting you choose. A 14k halo setting will cost you more than a 14k solitaire setting. The most expensive gold is 24k gold, but it will not stand up to daily wear.
No matter what type of gold you choose, we hope you find the best jewelry for your special occasions. Clean Origin is proud to be a part of these moments you share with the people you love.