Understanding gold karat

Why it’s important to know the meaning of karat when you decide to buy a gold jewel.

When you buy jewels the first thing to understand is the gold karats, because define its value and quality. Thant’s why it’s important to know the difference in gold mixing to have a useful insight when you plan to buy a jewel.

Taking reference from pure gold, that is define as 24 karat ( please notice that outside US or Canada is called “carat”) means that in 24 parts of gold it is 100%.
The most used karats in jewelry are:

22 karat (22 parts gold, 2 parts other metal)
18 karat (18 parts gold, 6 parts other metal)
14 karat (14 parts gold, 10 parts other metal)
10 karat (10 parts gold, 14 parts other metal)
9 karat (9 parts gold, 15 parts other metal)

Why Mix Pure Gold With different Metals?

The reasons for mixing other metals with gold are essentially two: hardness and cost.


Pure gold is an incredibly soft metal and bruises and scratches very easily.
This does not make it suitable for wearing it in everyday life. If pure gold is mixed with a harder metal, gold becomes much more resistant, especially for the manufacture of rings that can be damaged in normal use.

Gold that has been mixed with other metals also has a longer life than pure gold artefacts, making it more congenial for everyday use.


Mixing pure gold with other less expensive metals the price of raw materials goes down. This greatly affects the price of the finished jewelery product. So for example a 9 carat pendant costs much less than the 18 carat version.

Identifying Karat

All jewelery items must be stamped indicating which gold carat was used and the manufacturer’s mark, both stamps must be clearly visible. This stamp will indicate the carat by number, for example 14 carats or 14 k, from a three-digit figure representing the parts of gold per thousand or as a percentage. This might seem confusing, however, as the following table shows the higher the figure the greater the percentage of gold included within the metal.

22 karat (916) 91.6%
20 karat (833) 83.3%
18 karat (750) 75%
14 karat (585) 58.5%
10 karat (417) 41.7%
9 karat (375) 37.5%

It is useful when buying jewelry to make a note of all three karat measurements as different jewelers will stamp their jewelry in different ways. This is particularly important when buying jewelry from abroad.

Personally at Ubaldi gioielli we use 18 karat and 9 karat gold versions, and we stamp it as…

Karat and Color

Mixing with other metals in gold also involves different colors than the standard yellow gold color. The typical colors of gold and metals that create them are:

White Gold – Palladium, silver, nickel
Red Gold – Copper
Green Gold – Silver

At Ubaldi gioielli you can find mainly Red gold and White gold items.

Which karat should I choose?

When you want to buy a jewel, the choice of carat is a very personal thing. This will largely be a choice imposed by the budget, but there are also other considerations. The most mixed golds, that is with the greater presence of other metals are certainly more resistant and unassailable, much more suitable to be worn often and with activities that could damage it.

Other important information about karat

If you believe you have an allergic reaction to gold jewelry, it is most likely the metal used to mix it that generates this intolerance. Those who feel they have problems wearing low carat golds will most likely find that the reaction disappears with jewels of higher carats. At the same time, the light patina that is left on the skin when wearing low carat golds will disappear when wearing higher quality golds.

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