In 4000 BCE, an Eastern European group of people began to use gold to decorate different objects. Over the course of the next couple thousand years, the use and perceived value of gold spread to just about every corner of the world.

Throughout its long history, many variations of gold have developed. Today, karats help classify gold into different categories. But what are karats, and how are they different from one another?

Keep reading to learn all about what the different gold karats mean, as well as how you can go about choosing the right one for you or someone you care about.

What Are Gold Karats?

Karats are numbers that manufacturers stamp onto gold pieces. They range from 0 to 24 and measure the ratio of gold with other alloys. These other alloys are usually either copper, palladium, or silver.

24-karat gold contains about 99.9% pure gold, and lower karat numbers contain lesser amounts. As a general rule, the higher the number, the more expensive the piece of gold will be!

Why Is Gold Mixed With Other Elements?

When most people shop for gold, they want to buy pure gold. So why do manufacturers add extra metals into many gold products?

In its natural and pure state, gold is malleable. It’s too delicate for manufacturers to use in most products. Adding an alloy like copper or silver helps to strengthen it, increasing the number of ways that people can use it.

In other cases, manufacturers add alloys to change the color. For example, rose gold contains gold and copper. Wholesale Sparkle has an amazing selection of wholesale jewelry that features rose gold and other pieces.

Gold Purity Conversion

As mentioned, lower karat numbers contain lower amounts of pure gold and higher amounts of alloy, while higher karat numbers work oppositely.

24k gold is the purest gold. While you may think this is the best, it comes with the caveat of being susceptible to damage. This makes it impractical for most people to wear in day-to-day settings.

14k is what most people wear. It features 58% gold, and 42% metals. The added alloys give it enough strength to survive day-to-day wear. Most wedding bands and engagement rings are made of 14k gold.

Which Karat Is Best?

As mentioned, higher karat gold isn’t “better”, but the gold is purer. This means that it’s worth more, although you won’t be able to wear it as often due to its softness.

On the other hand, lower karat gold pieces contain less pure gold, but are stronger. For some people, these may be the better option, as they get to wear them more without worry.

Shine Bright With Different Gold Karats

Gold will always be timeless and classic, regardless of what shape it comes in. While all gold is beautiful, pay attention to the karat number the next time you buy it. Remember that higher gold karats have purer gold, and are therefore more expensive!

Do you now have a better understanding of the different types of gold karats? If you do, make sure to take a look at some of our other articles for more helpful guides and tips.