A metal which is ‘pure’, i.e. 100% gold, is 24 carats: 24ct.
Pure gold isn’t suitable for making jewellery so it is ‘alloyed’ - mixed with other metals. The quality and properties of the alloy will vary depending on what these ‘other metals’ are. The higher the carat the more malleable the metal to work which people confuse with it being soft. However the higher carats are denser and therefore wear much better over time.
9ct yellow gold
The lowest gold alloy we make jewellery out of in the UK is 9ct. This is 37.5% gold and the other 62.5% are other metals which can vary so the quality of 9ct gold can vary hugely.
Contrary to popular belief, 9ct is NOT harder wearing than 18ct as it is less dense.
14ct & 18ct yellow gold
We also work with 14ct and 18ct gold alloys.
These are higher quality than 9ct; they have a high gold content so are denser, yellower and have a high intrinsic value.
14ct can be a nice compromise between 9ct and 18ct in terms of price and properties.
22ct yellow gold
The highest gold alloy we make jewellery out of in the UK is 22ct. This is 91.6% gold.
A 22ct gold wedding band will without doubt out last a 9ct gold one of the same volume as it is significantly more dense.