The metal you choose for your engagement ring setting will be a personal choice. From Platinum to Gold and everything in between, it can still 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 for its relatively abundant supply and luster. It is a favorite for many brides and grooms. However, not all gold is the same, and depending on your budget, lifestyle, and color preferences, it’s important to keep this in mind when you start shopping for your engagement ring or wedding band.
Here, we discuss 14K gold: What it is, what it costs, and how to care for your 14K gold ring.
First Things First: What Is 14k Gold?
The gold used for engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry is rarely ever 100% gold. Rather, gold comes in a variety of purity levels, like 14k and 18k. 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’s purity. The more pure gold present, the higher the karat rating.
14 karat gold is not actually pure gold. 24k gold is naturally very valuable, but due to its malleability, it is not always the best choice for jewelry that one might want to wear on a daily basis. 14k gold, therefore, is bonded with other metals to create a much stronger metal alloy. 14K gold may incorporate zinc, nickel, silver, or copper, and is approximately 58% gold.
OK. Now that we have an idea of what 14k gold is and why it’s used in jewelry, let’s talk about color.
From choosing the perfect diamond shape to setting style, deciding what gold you want to feature on your ring is a personal preference. 14k gold comes in yellow, white, and rose — 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!
14k Yellow Gold
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. 14k yellow gold has a less intense yellow color than 18 karat gold. Yellow gold is the truest color of gold, and is the purest out of white, yellow, and rose gold.
14k White Gold
If you’re looking for a more silvery look, white gold is the perfect choice for you. White gold, while similar looking to silver, is actually 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. Still, at Clean Origin, white gold remains the most popular for our engagement rings. If you’re deciding between white or yellow gold, our guide will help you learn more about these two solid choices.
14k Rose Gold
Rose gold is newer on the jewelry scene, but becoming more and more popular. With its beautiful pink color, this metal is a great choice for unique or vintage settings, and will really make your ring pop! If you’re in the beginning stages of deciding between white, yellow, and rose gold, check out our guide to Rose Gold vs. White Gold.
Why 14k Gold?
14k gold is the most popular choice, in terms of purity, for engagement rings and wedding bands. Most jewelers, including Clean Origin, will recommend 14k gold for your jewelry, because it is the best for long-term wear while still keeping its luster. The biggest advantages of choosing 14k gold over 18k and 24k are its durability and value for money.
Durability of 14k Gold
14k gold is significantly more durable than 18k or 24k gold, because of the mixture of metals, which give it its resistance to scratches. If wearing your engagement ring or wedding band every day, it is prone to wear and tear; 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. 14k gold is much more affordable than 18k. White gold, while similar in appearance to platinum, is significantly less expensive. Price will vary significantly, depending on what metal you choose for your setting. Our Tapered Solitaire Setting will cost $653.00 for 14k gold, $845.00 for 18k gold, and $1,221.00 for platinum. As you can see, the price varies greatly, and by choosing 14k gold, this will save you hundreds of dollars. But remember, a lower price will not get you a lower quality ring, 14k gold is a very desirable choice for your jewelry. Plus, 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 anyway, 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 skin irritations for some people. 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
14k gold, although not the softest and most fragile of precious metals, still requires some care on your side. If you choose to wear your 14k gold jewelry on a daily basis, there are a few tips that will help keep your favorite pieces looking great and lasting for a lifetime.
- 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, and especially your engagement ring, often to avoid damaging your setting or diamond and keep it looking like new!
Is 14k gold the best for engagement rings?
At Clean Origin, we offer both 14k gold and 18k gold, as well as platinum. 14k gold is by far the most 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. 14k gold has about 58% pure gold, 18k has about 75% and 24k has 100% 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 more yellow the color will appear.
What is more expensive, 14k or 18k gold?
18k gold is more expensive than 14k gold, by a few hundred dollars depending on the type of setting you choose. A 14k halo setting will cost you more than a 14k solitaire setting. The most expensive gold is 24k gold, but Clean Origin does not offer it.