At Tasmania by Claudia, we aim to help our customers feel informed when building their collection of fine jewellery. We often get asked what the difference is between 9K gold and 18K gold, whether one is stronger than the other, and whether they can be worn together. Today we're answering these questions and more in our 'Complete Guide to Gold'.
What does 'karat' mean?
You may have heard the term ‘karat’ used in relation to gold (note the distinction from "carat" when referring to diamonds and stones). This refers to the gold content. The purest form is 24 karat (or 24K) gold, this is 100 percent gold. It is a soft metal, which is why when crafting jewellery, we mix it with other metals (making it an ‘alloy’) to make it harder and more durable. Rose gold has a larger copper component and white gold has a larger palladium content.
What is the difference between 9K and 18K gold?
18K alloy contains 75 percent gold content and 25 percent other metals, while 9K contains 37.5 percent gold and 62.5 percent other metals. Because of its higher gold content, 18K is synonymous with luxury and quality. Visually, the colour of yellow gold is richer and more vibrant and in the case of rose gold, softer and less coppery.
Can 9K and 18K gold be worn together?
If you're layering two necklaces with different gold content to wear as a one-off, or just during the day (for example, your Stella and mini Nothofagus necklaces), there should be no damage to either item.
However, if you're wearing two rings with different gold content, stacked next to each other for long periods of time, there is a risk of the 9K ring scratching the softer 18K piece. We recommend you avoid wearing them together like this.
Is 9K gold more durable?
There’s a common misconception that 9K gold is harder wearing because of its low gold content, however, this is not necessarily true. All metal will wear over time. This is why we recommend that all jewellery be worn mindfully (for example, not while lifting heavy objects, gardening, or at the gym).
Is white gold naturally white?
What you may know as white gold, is actually yellow gold which has been combined with another material, commonly rhodium. Over time this plating will wear away. We recommend that you bring your jewellery in regularly (at least a few times each year) to be cleaned and checked by our jewellers to ensure this lasts as long as possible.
White gold should be serviced and rhodium plated to retain the beautiful, wintery white appearance once approximately every 12-18 months.
If you your questions wasn't answered here, please get in touch with our team - we love to chat!