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What gold karat to choose?

Hello everyone,

I am beginning my first online store soon. To start off I will be putting mostly silver pieces but I would like to include a few gold ones aswell. I cannot afford to tie up to much money on inventory and so can only spend a limited amount (under $1000) on the gold. I am wondering what Karat I should use. 18K is the best gold karat, but I fear the high price and percieved softness might make it not sell as fast? On the other side of the spectrum, 10k would mean I can make my limited amount of gold go furthest however would the lower perceived value make the 10k not sell either? 14k might be a happy medium then? More glamorous than 10k but super expensive, not to mention it lacks the perceived softness of 18k? I don’t know and am interested in hearing all of your input. Thank you for any feedback,

Argentum Moon

You will not get much of any karat of gold for a hundred bucks. Better to think about combining a little gold in your silver work.

I can get about 15-30 grams or so (depending on the karat) I plan on spending around 600-800 dollars.

I definitely plan on adding bits of gold to my silver pieces aswell. That a good idea! :slight_smile:

I work with gold and silver and usually in a combination. I find that I think 14 K looks best in combination with sterling and there are similar working properties with the two metals. With two dissimilar metals being combined in one piece similar working properties can be very important.

Apropos of nothing I will finish with this. I once asked a friend who was also a customer if she preferred 10 K or 14 K in jewelry. Her reply was, “When it comes to being a gift from my husband, that it is gold is all that matters.”

Good luck.

Don Meixner

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I work with gold as a solo metal and in combination with sterling, bronze, steel, etc.

For me there are several reasons to choose gold.

1: Nobility/stability or resistance to tarnish.

2: Perceived and real value.

3: color.

I want my work to retain the qualities long term that I built it with. (Understanding the realities of wear.) 14k and 18k yellow gold is the better choice here than brass which has a similar color. Which is why I might choose rise gold over copper for accents.

Adding a touch of gold is also a selling point that can help to add or solidify the value of the piece.

Color is another important choice which is why I often choice 18k yellow which, to my eyes is a much stronger yellow than 14 and especially 10 j gold which are much browner. Contrast can suffer with the lower carat.

Even within yellows there are strong yellows, redder yellows and greenish yellows. Even before we move to rose and green golds.

For yellow gold rings I try to encourage clients to opt for 18k. This can be a softer gold which I don’t like so I found a Hoover and Strong yellow alloy which is a mice strong yellow and stiff. A little harder to work but a more durable product.

Hope that helps.


Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…


Yes that’s very helpful, thanks!

I probably don’t have as much experience as Don, but my limited experience has been 14k can get lost in the silver. Of course it depends on how it’s incorporated, but I patina the piece and polish the gold to help it pop. I use small amounts simply to keep my overhead down. I recently made a grouping using sterling with14k and sterling with 18k. I’m talking about 1-2dwt on each piece so it’s fairly affordable, and I wish I used 18k on the other pieces.

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@matthewfullum, are you saying the 14k gets lost by not being enough of a color contrast with the silver or are you saying the 14k gets lost by being absorbed by the silver …like an unintentional alloy?

Matthew, I agree that small accent pieces need to pop and freshly polished 14 K and silver do “blend” a bit". But two weeks later when the atmosphere has had its way with things I find the gold is quite present in the piece. That said I would consider using 18 K if I were adding a few Granules to a pair of earrings, maybe. That way there would be a distinct visual from the gold right off the bench.

Where I use 14 K wire would be when using equal amounts of 10 ga. silver and gold wire and they need to ave the same degree of manipulation at the same time.

Don Meixner

DHF offers a darker richer shade of 14kt that provide more contrast and may pop out when compared to silver. This 14kt Regal has more copper then your typical standard 14kt yellows that you might find at a mall chain jewelry store.
Ken B.
DHF Inc.

That the color contrast makes it “get lost” in the silver. I advocate to have your own experiences and try whatever you want. But look at the difference between these two rings. They are both a sterling silver shank with 14k gold. I double checked another piece and 18k is more noticeable but still hard to see. image|500x500

Here is an example of 14k and 18k bands.
The bottom is 18k yellow, the middle is 14k yellow and the top is 14k rose.

Can’t recall which alloy or refiner they come from. It’s been a while since I bought 14k yellow for fabrication. But I believe that the 18k on the bottom is Hoover & Strong Standard Yellow. And I know that the rose is from AAA refining, which I think gets their rose alloy from United Precious Metals.
In any case, the bottom and the middle are both yellow gold alloys. This image is from a lecture that I did on gold.I fabricated bands in different karats and alloys to show the color difference. To my eye, the 14k yellow is quite brown.


Great picture thanks!