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Gold quality rating, karats and percentage? 14 karat gold vs 18 karat gold vs 24 karat gold etc?

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I was wondering what the karat numbers mean for gold? I know it has something to do with the amount of actual gold, but what does each # equate to?

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jason neath [ Editor ]

Basically it's math. There are 24 karats(parts) total. So whatever karat gold you have, you just divide that by 24 to find the quality.

So:

  • 24 karat gold = pure solid gold = 24 parts/24 total = 100% gold.
  • 18 karat gold = mix gold + other = 18 parts gold + 6 parts other = 75% gold(gets stamped .750)
  • 14 karat gold = mix gold + other = 14 parts gold + 10 parts other = 58.3% gold(gets stamped .585)
  • 10 karat gold = mix gold + other = 10 parts gold + 14 parts other = 41.67% gold(gets stamped .417)

Basically the non-24 karat gold is mixed with other alloys (silver, copper, zinc), and since gold is very malleable, the less karat you have, the stronger the gold will be.

Hope that helps

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