The purity of gold can be measured using karat, a unit of measurement. One karat is 1/24 parts or 4.1667% of the total gold alloy.
Thus, 24 karat gold would be the purest form of gold, which contains only gold. Gold, pure as it is, is extremely fragile.
Pure gold is the most malleable metal and also has a high degree of ductility. Pure gold, therefore, would not be very useful in making jewelry, utensils, etc., since it will have no strength at all.
24-karat gold is, therefore, best used as an investment. Impure forms of gold came to be as a result of this process, and are now widely available on the market. To make pure gold harder and stronger, these impure forms of gold are mixed with different alloys.
There are two variations of impure gold that are widely used: 18k gold and 22k gold.
- 18K gold contains 75% gold and 25% alloy metals, while 22K gold has a higher gold content of 91.67% and only 8.33% alloy metals.
- 22K gold is softer and more malleable than 18K gold due to its higher content, making it less suitable for intricate jewelry designs.
- 18K gold offers more durability and resistance to wear, while 22K gold provides a richer yellow color and higher value.
18k Gold vs 22k Gold
The difference between 18k gold and 22k gold is that in 18k gold, there are 18 parts of pure gold with the rest made up of other metals and alloys, whereas in 22k gold, there are 22 parts of pure gold with the rest made up of other metals and alloys.
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An item made of 18k gold indicates that it contains 18 parts of gold. The remaining 6 parts are made up of different alloys and metals, which are determined by what the gold will be used for.
The addition of these metals makes 18k gold much tougher and more durable than pure gold. As a result, 18k gold is better for jewelry embedded with different stones, including diamonds.
Likewise, 22k gold indicates that it is made up of 22 parts of gold. The remaining 4 parts are made of different alloys and metals, which vary depending on the purpose of the gold.
22k gold is stronger than pure gold, but not as durable as 18k gold because of the addition of these metals. Therefore, 22k gold is best suited to making plain gold jewelry without embedded stones.
|Parameters of Comparison||18k Gold||22k Gold|
|Parts of gold||18k gold consists of 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of other metals.||22k gold consists of 22 parts of gold and 4 parts of other metals.|
|Purity||18k gold is 75% pure.||22k gold is 91.67% pure.|
|Other metals added||The remaining 25% consists of metals such as copper, silver, etc., and other alloys.||The remaining 8.33% consists of metals such as silver, zinc, nickel, etc., and other alloys.|
|Hardness||18k gold is harder as compared to 22k gold.||22k gold is harder as compared to 24k gold but softer as compared to 18k gold.|
|Cost||18k gold is less expensive as compared to 22k gold.||22k gold is more expensive as compared to 18k gold.|
|Used for||18k gold because of its hardness is most commonly used for making stone-studded jewelry.||22k gold is most commonly used for making plain gold jewelry as it is not very strong to be embedded with stones.|
What is 18k Gold?
The 18k symbol simply indicates there are 18 parts in the gold item. The remaining 6 parts are made up of other metals and alloys.
According to what gold is going to be used for, different metals and alloys are preferred. Metals like copper, silver, etc. are commonly used for this purpose.
The added metals are added to increase the hardness and durability of 18k gold. In terms of percentage, 18k gold contains 75% gold and 25% impurities.
18k gold is ideal for making jewelry embedded with gemstones such as diamonds because of its hardness and toughness. If one wishes to wear them every day, 18k gold jewelry will also be durable enough.
Yellow is the predominant color of 18k gold. It is composed mostly of pure gold.
With a decline in karat, gold’s yellow color becomes faded. 18k gold is still as pure as it could be, while at the same time being practical enough to be used.
The 18k gold is not only beautiful, but it’s also suitable for jewelry. Due to 18k gold’s 75% purity, it tends to cause less skin irritation to people who are allergic to nickel and other metals.
One disadvantage of 18k gold is that it is very vulnerable to scratches.
What is 22k Gold?
If a gold item is marked 22k, it means that it is made up of 22 parts of gold. The remaining 4 parts are made up of other metals and alloys.
Metals and alloys are selected according to what the gold will be used for. Silver, zinc, nickel, etc are the most common metals used for this purpose.
As a result of the added metals, 22k gold is more durable and harder than pure gold, but still softer than 18k gold. In terms of percentage, 22k gold contains 91.67% gold and 8.33% impurities.
To create plain gold jewelry, 22k gold provides the best hardness and durability. Although, it cannot be used to make jewelry that is encrusted with gemstones.
22k good is not the ideal type of gold for investment. At the time of selling, being only 92% pure, 22k good would not fetch the same price as 24k gold.
Although, 22k is the most suitable for making jewelry as it can easily withstand all kinds of wear and tears better than pure gold. 22k contains even fewer amounts of alloys and metals than 18k gold.
Thus it is even better to be used in jewelry for people that have allergies to nickel and other metals and can wear it as frequently as they like to.
Main Differences Between 18k Gold and 22k Gold
- 18k gold is composed of 18 parts of gold and 6 parts of other metals. In contrast, 22k gold is composed of 22 parts of gold and 4 parts of other metals.
- The purity of 18k gold is 75%, while that of 22k gold is 91.67%.
- The rest of 25% is made up of copper, silver, etc., and other alloys, while the rest of 8.33% consists of metals such as silver, zinc, nickel, etc., and other alloys.
- 18k gold is more rigid than 22k gold, but 22k gold is softer than 18k gold.
- 18k gold is less expensive than 22k gold, whereas 22k gold is more expensive than 18k gold.
- 18k gold because of its hardness is most commonly used for making stone-studded jewelry. While 22k gold is most commonly used to make plain gold jewelry. Due to its low strength, it cannot be embedded with stones.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.