In 2020, new brides and grooms are lucky enough to have nearly limitless choices when it comes to designing their wedding bands and engagement rings. From choosing the diamond shape to deciding if they want a minimal or elaborate setting, to what metal they want that setting to be made of, there are many things to consider when shopping for rings. With all these choices, it can get complicated to know what the best choice really is. And while there is no “right” choice, when it comes to your diamond shape, and metal, it’s always good to do some solid research and educate yourself on all your options!
An important decision to make is what type of metal you’ll choose for your ring or band. Engagement rings come in a variety of precious metals, including platinum, titanium, and others. That said, far and away the most popular metal choice is gold.
Beautiful, valuable, and a perfect match for essentially any setting or stone, gold is available in multiple colors. However, if you have your heart set on gold, be aware that that’s not where the decision making ends. You also need to consider the purity of the gold, and that means considering karat. While 14k and 18k gold are the more popular and recommended gold choices, it’s important to understand why engagement rings are often not available in 24k gold.
What Does 24k Gold Consist Of?
What is 24k gold? 24k gold is non-alloyed, making it the rarest of all gold available. “Is 24k gold pure?”, is a commonly asked question, and the answer is yes. 24k gold is 100% pure gold. 24k gold is especially loved for its rich yellow appearance. The more gold present, the richer (or more yellow-orange) the color of the metal will appear. As such, 14k and 18k gold will look slightly less yellow, by comparison.
Although beautiful, 24k karat gold is not recommended by jewelers for your engagement ring or wedding band. This is because the high percentage of gold makes it extremely malleable — a characteristic you do not want in a piece of jewelry you’ll be wearing all the time. Simply put, 24k gold adds an extra starry shine, but the softness creates a dilemma in keeping it that way.
While 10, 14, and 18 karat gold is available in white, yellow, and rose gold, 24k gold is only available in yellow gold. This is because 24k gold is 100% pure gold, meaning it has no mixture of any other alloys or metals. Some of the most common metals used to mix with gold are copper, silver, nickel, palladium, and zinc. Depending on what metals are used and the percentage that they’re present will result in these three common colors. White gold has more nickel and zinc, while rose gold contains more copper. Without the mixture of other metals, 24k gold can only be yellow gold.
Unlike other precious metals such as Platinum and Palladium, gold comes in a variety of purity levels, like 14k, 18k, and 24k. Karat measures the gold’s purity, and should not be confused with the better known ‘carat’, which refers to your diamond’s actual weight, and is part of the 4 C’s of a diamond.
The grading system of gold is based on the karat system, which measures the purity and ratio of pure gold vs. other metals in jewelry. The higher content of gold, the higher the karat rating. The highest karat rating available for gold is 24k, which is why it is the purest form of gold. But does understanding the karat system truly make a difference when shopping for your engagement ring or wedding band? Yes, it does!
As you know by now, 24k gold is 100% pure gold. Without the mixture of other metals, 24k gold is prone to being extremely soft and can easily scratch and bend. For that reason, jewelers do not recommend using 24k gold for your engagement ring, wedding bands, or any other fine jewelry. Pure gold simply does not last when faced with normal wear and tear.
Since 24k gold has the highest percentage of pure gold, it is also the most expensive gold available! The price of gold changes year to year, but at the time of this article’s writing, 24k gold is being sold for $1,780.75 USD an ounce. Compare this to 14k gold which is currently priced at $1,035.3 USD an ounce. Clean Origin only offers 14k and 18k gold — not 24k gold. If you’re looking to buy a gold setting or band that has the highest possible gold content, while still durable enough for daily wear, 18k gold is a great choice. However, 18k will still be a few hundred dollars more expensive than 14k gold. For example, our simple Quiet Beauty Solitaire ring will cost around $740 for 14k gold and $1,065 for 18k gold.
Should I Choose 24k Gold?
Although prestigious and beautiful, 24k gold is not a recommended choice for engagement rings, wedding bands, or any other fine jewelry you tend to wear daily. If you’re looking for a setting made of gold, we would recommend choosing 14k gold. Not only is 14k gold more affordable than 24k gold, but it is also more durable and is more resistant to daily wear and tear. 14k gold also comes in a variety of colors such as white gold and rose gold, which gives you more options to choose from! Platinum is also a great precious metal for engagement rings and wedding bands, silver-ish in color, and much more durable than gold, but also more expensive. If you’re still contemplating which metal to go with for your setting, reach out to our team.