If you’ve ever bought or been given a piece of fine jewelry, you might have heard the term 14 karat gold. But it can be difficult, without a frame of reference, to know what that means or how much 14 karat gold is actually worth.
What is 14 karat gold?
Karats measure how pure a piece of gold is. Fourteen karat gold tells you that the gold is at least 58.3% gold, mixed with other metal alloys. Other common karat amounts you might come across when buying or selling gold are 10 karat, which is 41.7% gold, and 18 karat, which is 75% gold. Pure gold is also called 24 karat gold.
Is pure gold ever used in jewelry?
Fourteen karat gold is one of the most common gold alloys used to make fine jewelry. You will almost never see 24 karat or pure gold used to make jewelry because gold is actually a very soft metal, and any jewelry made out of pure gold would be too prone to damage. Jewelry made out of pure gold simply wouldn’t last.
Even jewelry made out of 18 karat gold can be easily damaged, so 14 karat gold is often used instead. This gold level is considered to be very high quality, and its added durability means its perfect for jewelry that might be worn for a long time or passed down through generations, such as rings.
In addition, 14 karat gold often looks just as dazzling as pieces made with higher gold content.
How can you identify 14 karat gold?
Looking for a mark is the easiest way to identify what type of gold something is. If the mark is stamped onto the jewelry itself, this mark is called a hallmark. In the United States, jewelry doesn’t need to be stamped, but there needs to be a mark somewhere near the jewelry piece, such as on its tag or packaging, that tells buyers what karat gold the piece is made of.
There are a few different marks that can tell you that a piece is 14 karat gold. Many pieces are simply stamped ’14K’ or ’14Kt.’ Other pieces will have a 14K or Kt mark with the name or abbreviation of a country, city, region, or company next to it, which tells you where the piece came from and who made it.
Some pieces are stamped ’14K P.’ In this case, the P stands for plumb, which tells you that the piece contains 14 karats of pure gold per 24 parts. Other times, you might see a piece marked with the number 583 or 585. This is another way to say the piece is 14 karat gold. The 583 relates to the 58.3% purity that 14 karat gold must have.
Some jewelers prefer to use gold that has more than 14 karats per 24 parts, or more than 583 grams per thousand grams, which moves the purity level closer to 58.5%. When a percent closer to 58.5 is used, the 585 mark is used on the piece.
If a piece is marked 14K followed by a GP, it means that the piece has a core made of another metal but it has been plated in 14 karat gold. A GEP or GE mark tells you that the gold plating has been applied using an electroplating process.
The mark GF indicated something similar to the GP, GE, and GEP marks. A GF mark stands for gold-filled and indicated that a piece is 14 karat gold on the outside but has a filling that’s a different type of metal.
Some 14 karat gold isn’t marked at all, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Instead, it means it has come from a country or region that doesn’t have strict hallmark laws. A skilled jeweler or metal dealer can often help you determine if a piece is actually 14 karat gold.
How much is 14 karat gold worth?
The value of 14 karat gold fluctuates depending on what the market is like, what the demand for gold is, and what inflation is like at the time. However, in general, 14 karat gold is usually worth around $35 per gram, and currently, a single gram of 14 karat gold is worth about $34.26.
Wedding rings usually weigh between 1 and 9 grams, so a wedding ring made of 14 karat gold could be worth between $34.26 and $308.34.
However, this price is for the metal only and doesn’t take into account any stones, decorations, or craftsmanship, all of which can greatly increase the value of a piece of jewelry.
What gold colors are available?
Fourteen karat gold is available in several colors. Yellow gold is the most common, and it has a beautiful yellow hue. White gold looks similar to silver or platinum. Rose gold has a slight reddish tint. The color of gold is determined by what other metals the gold has been mixed with.