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What Is Gold Purity and How Is It Measured? Comparing 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K and 10K Gold

Sep 25, 2023
What Is Gold Purity and How Is It Measured? Comparing 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K and 10K Gold

What Is Gold Purity and How Is It Measured? Comparing 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K and 10K Gold

Are you curious about what is gold purity and how is it measured? Well, you aren’t the only one. The most precious metals that can be commonly bought and used, it is widely popular among people.

Whenever you are buying gold or considering doing so, there is one thing that confuses a lot of people, it is gold karats, also denoted as K. So, what is gold carat? And what is the difference between 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K, AND 10K Gold?

Well, if these are the questions that you are looking to answer, this blog is for you. Here, we shall be discussing all you need to know about gold purity, how it’s measured, and the difference between different karats. Let’s get right into it:

Understanding Gold Purity

Let’s answer the most important question first, what is gold purity? Well, the term “Gold purity”, often referred to as fineness, is a measure of how much pure gold is contained in an alloy. And the purity is in karats (K) or as a percentage. As a general rule, the more the Karat is, the purer gold will be. The maximum purity you can get in gold is no more than 99.9%.

And there is a good reason behind it: in its 100% pure state gold cannot be used in day-to-day wear, thus, leading to use of other materials with it to form an alloy. This makes it more durable and wearable.

Now, it’s time to answer another question, what is the difference between 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K, AND 10K gold? We shall answer just that, in the section below.

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Comparing 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K, AND 10K Gold

Are you confused between different karats of gold? Well, it is a common practice for people who buy and sell gold ornaments. For instance, let’s start with the purest state of gold: 

1. 24K Gold (99.9% Pure Gold)

24K gold is the purest form of the metal, standing at 99.9%. When it comes to this precious metal, it doesn’t get any better than this, thus leading to the name, “pure gold”. However, one of the downsides of 24K gold is, it is extremely soft and malleable. And because of that, it is not suitable for everyday jewelry due to its lack of durability. But it is used to make coins or bars which are mainly used for investment purposes. This is the least common type of gold that you can find. 

2. 22K Gold (91.6% Pure Gold)

This is the second purest and something that is more commonly used in India to make jewelry. It is known as 22 K, since it contains 22 parts gold and 2 parts other metals (typically copper and silver) to enhance strength. Moreover, it is 22K karat of gold that possesses the distinct bright yellow color that we are all so fond of.  In addition to good looks and its purity, it’s also actually durable thanks to it being an alloy.

3. 18K Gold (75% Pure Gold)

18K gold is more commonly used at 75% purity to make high-quality jewelers. Partly because it is much more affordable than the previous two options. Since it comprises 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals, this form of gold offers a balance between purity and durability.

4. 14K Gold (58.3% Pure Gold)

You must have heard a lot of people ask how much is a 14K gold worth? Well, that is because this 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal alloy is more commonly used to make wedding bands and other fine jewelry. In fact, this is the gold that is suggested for daily wear since it is highly durable.

5. 12K Gold (50% Pure Gold)

This is the type of gold which is often also known as Rose gold, due to its pinkish hue. As you can see, it is only 50% gold. i.e., it comprises 12 parts gold and 12 parts other metals. Due to its low purity it was rarely used for jewelry making traditionally, but the pink hue is growing more in trend these days.

6. 10K Gold (41.7% Pure Gold)

Lastly we have 10k gold, which is 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals. This is the lowest alloy of gold that you can find in. And again, it is used to make jeweler or particular sort. Also mainly due to the fact that this form of gold is highly durable. So, this is how all the different karat types of gold compare to each other.

How Gold Purity is Measured? 

Don’t know the purity of your gold ornament or what karat it is? Well, there are actually few tests which help you determine the purity of gold. In this section of the blog, we shall be looking at these three tests, starting with:

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1. Acid Testing 

The first one is acid testing. As the name suggests, this form of gold purity testing involves nitric acid. The acid is applied to the gold and then the reaction is observed. The higher karat the gold is, the lesser and slower it will react to the acid. On the other hand, lower karat will react more. It is a simple test with low accuracy.

2. X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)

As one might assume from the name, this is a rather advanced form of gold karat or gold purity test. There is a machine called XRF machines that use X-ray technology to analyze the composition of gold without damaging the item. Moreover, It provides precise measurements of gold purity. The best part is, unlike acid testing, there is no damage to the material and results are also more accurate.

3. Fire Assay

Lastly, we have the oldest way of testing gold purity, called fire assay. And let us tell you, it is highly accurate. Here a sample of gold is melted and chemically analyzed to determine its purity. So, these are the different tests which can be used to test gold purity.


Gold purity is a fundamental aspect of the precious metal that influences its value, appearance, and durability. In India, where gold holds immense cultural and economic importance, understanding the differences between 24K, 22K, 18K, 14K, 12K, and 10K gold is essential. 

READ MORE:- How Much Is 14 Mg Of Gold Worth?

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