18k, 9k - What's deal with Gold?

18k, 9k - What's deal with Gold?

What do the numbers 9k or 18k really mean?

Do you know what you are actually holding when you are holding gold jewellery?


Let's break it down...

24k - 24 parts of gold out of 24 parts.

This gold is bright yellow and very soft. Too soft actually, for jewellery. So to counter that 18k was developed to be a stronger metal that doesn't bend so easily.

18k - 18 parts of gold out of 24 parts.

9k - 9 parts of gold out of 24 parts. 

Given that there is twice as much gold in 18k than in 9k I think it explains why 18k is so much more expensive than 9k! South Africa is an unusual market with 9k gold being the most popular option by far. However when we consider that gold is traded in dollar terms and the strength of (or lack of strength) ..of our Rand, one can see the appeal of 9k. 

When to buy 9k gold?

For jewellery 9k gold is far superior to plating or vermeil. It is real gold and will stand the test of time far better than any plated option. 9k gold will not chip or peel, it will always be gold. If it loses some sheen it is easily polished back to new. This is a stronger metal than silver, which is super soft and light. At the end of the day, it comes down to budget and 9k is the accepted entry level of real fine jewellery. For some chunky pieces not only is the price easier to consider but the weight of the jewellery will be easier to wear. When you purchase 9k from our hand-made selection you can be sure that allergies will not be an issue. We personally create our 9k gold and very deliberately avoid using cheap, allergy-causing alloys. Hand-crafted 9k gold can occasionally cause allergy in ear piercings. Hand-crafted pieces are partly machine produced and then finished off by hand and the alloys in the CAD process are variable. Read more about hand-made v hand-crafted here. We mainly produce hand-made items but a few of the popular styles are hand-crafted to keep them competitive in market pricing. We can always make up any of our pieces by hand on request. 

Understanding vermeil and plating:

Plating is typically marketed as 18k gold plating, and 'good quality' plating is considered to be anything above 1micron, which is just 0.001 of a millimeter.  This is useful for trendy jewellery. It should not be expensive, it should look almost as pretty as real gold when you purchase it but it will always be fast fashion. It is designed to look lovely for a moment in time (be that weeks or months or maybe a year), it is not designed to last. Sometimes it can be replated. The better brands will do that for you. Chains however cannot be properly replated. 

The Queen of gold:

18k is without question the queen of the gold parade! She comes with a queenly price too. Let me say it again... Selection comes down to budget. If your budget allows for 18k it is always the better, brighter and most giving gold of all. In yellow and rose it will never tarnish, in white gold it will still need a polish at some point. White gold contains palladium which is what makes it white, and also what makes it more expensive than either yellow or rose gold. The actual gold quantity is always of the same ratio as the others. 

For heirloom pieces, particularly engagement pieces then we do think 18k gold is the bees knees. However we can create magnificent pieces in 9k gold too. So we have your back, whatever your budget!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published