What is 14k gold? The gold karat system:

a guide for buying and selling gold in Chicago


At Royal, we often get asked the difference between 14K and 18K gold. Here’s how to understand the karat system used in the US and Canada.

Karats are measurements of purity in relation to the mass of an object.


Visualize a scale of 1 to 24; 24 is the top. 24K has 24 out of 24 parts gold. It is 100% pure gold (99.9%). In comparison, 14K indicates that there are 14 parts gold out of 24 total parts (14/24). That means that your 14K gold ring is 58.33% gold and 41.67% some other alloy.

Here’s a table of Karats
22K = 91.66% gold
20K = 83.33% gold
18K = 75% gold
14K = 58.33% gold
10K = 41.66% gold

Example: a 10K ring, weighing a total of 10 grams will contain 4.166 grams of gold.



24k gold is very soft. As such gold is usually mixed with base metals when making jewelry. The metals are mixed to create what is called an alloy.

Gold may be mixed with copper, silver, palladium, zinc, nickel or other metals. While pure gold is a metallic yellow, many other “colors of gold” can result when alloyed with a base metal. For example, an abundance of copper alloyed to gold will create a red, copper cast. This is usually called rose gold. White gold is gold that has been alloyed with nickel or palladium, or sometimes nickel, zinc and copper. Even blue and purple gold can be made by alloying gold with iron or aluminum.

While some gold alloys may hold a higher value than other alloys. The real value in your gold jewelry is in the amount of gold it contains. More weight + more karat, usually = more value.

Click here for gold spot prices.