18ct Gold vs 9ct Gold
When you start looking at any type of gold jewellery, particularly when it comes to wedding rings, you are going to come up to the carat problem. You will be looking at almost identical pieces of jewellery and wondering why the heck one costs so much more than the other, and the seller will be talking about carats as though that is supposed to mean something important.
In this article, we look at the carat conundrum so that you know what a carat is, why they matter and what is the best number for you to look at and, unlike many other things we buy there is an obvious best choice to be made!
What Are Carats?
In jewellery, there are two kinds of carats. In the UK we make life even harder by spelling them the same, elsewhere in the world there are two different spellings carat and karat.
Diamonds are sold by weight, measured in carats. In the case of gold, carat (karat) is a measure of the purity of the gold used in the jewellery that you buy.
In the UK every item made of precious metals such as gold, weighing one gram or more, must be stamped with a hallmark that attests to the purity of the gold in the piece. With a magnifying glass, you can check the hallmark to make sure that you get what you are paying for.
The Gold You Buy Is Not Pure Gold!
Pure gold is a very soft metal, is bends very easily, making it impractical for items of jewellery that are to be worn daily such as wedding or engagement rings. To make gold suitable for a hard life as a piece of jewellery, manufacturers add other metals to gold to make it stronger.
Pure gold is 24 carats, it is too soft and too expensive for regular use. The most common forms of gold used in jewellery in the UK are 18-carat and 9-carat gold.
9-carat gold has just 37.5% of gold in the alloy. The benefit of this is that the metal is durable and resistant to wear. The price is much lower than 18-carat gold, which has 75% gold. The difference in the amount of gold means that an 18-carat ring will cost around twice as much as a 9-carat ring. Whether you buy 9 or 18-carat gold, you are purchasing a mixture of 37.5 or 75% gold with silver, copper, zinc and nickel in varying proportions to suit the manufacturer's needs.
The mixture of metal added to pure gold tends to dilute the colour. 18ct gold looks very similar to pure gold with a deeper yellow colour. 9ct gold is paler, less saturated and less like gold. The degree to which this happens depends upon the exact mixture of metals used, but always, in comparison with 18ct gold, there will be a visible difference.
If your skin is sensitive to metals other than gold 9ct gold may present an issue and cause irritation.
If Its Gold And It Costs Less – Is 9 Carat Gold A Better Buy?
Simple answer: 9-carat gold is not the best choice. Buy 18-carat gold for your jewellery. Here's why.
9-carat gold contains far less gold. In many countries, including the United States, it is not legal to describe 9-carat gold as being gold!
Because of the other metals mixed into the gold, 9-carat gold tends to be a light colour, it isn't very 'golden', it looks cheap! Gold is hypoallergenic, very few people suffer from sensitivities or allergies from gold in contact with their skin. 9-carat gold is so impure that some people are sensitive to the other metals. Tarnishing can be an issue with 9-carat gold as it ages. This depends upon the other metals used in the alloy, but do you want to take the chance on your wedding rings changing colour and dulling over the years?
Although it will cost you more money, the lustre of real gold is hard to ignore, it is why we buy gold. We don't buy a pale imitation of the stuff!
18-carat gold is perfectly strong enough to wear every day without damage.
18-Carat Gold Is The Right Choice!
18-carat gold gives you everything that you want from gold jewellery. The colour is unmistakably that of real gold. There is enough of other metals to make the alloy durable for daily use without needing to have it professionally polished every few months. Most importantly, you will know that you have made the best choice for an important piece of gold jewellery.
Do you really want to be wearing 9-carat 'gold'jewellery that, in many countries, cannot even be called gold?
The only time to buy 9-carat gold jewellery is when the price is the most important factor in the purchase.
18-carat gold is the right answer to the salesperson's questions about the type of gold you are looking for.