Gold has always been a popular choice when it comes to wedding bands. Made in various shades and various “karats,” it’s important to know the ins and outs of our choices before we decide whether to invest in a 10K rose gold design or a 24K white gold band.
This is your forever and ever piece of jewelry, so make sure you learn exactly what you’re buying into before you make the final decision.
Gold Purity is Measured in Karats
If you have no idea what a karat is, don’t worry, we’re here to help you out a bit.
Karats are how we measure how much gold is actually in a gold piece of jewelry. From “just a little” to “pure”, there are varying degrees. And for every 1 karat, there is 4.167 of gold content.
Pure gold is usually too soft to be used in jewelry making so these alloys – or varying karats – are mixed with other metals to create something more durable for everyday wear.
10 Karat Gold
You’ll find that a lot of gold bands will come in 10K gold. With these designs you’re getting an alloy made of 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals such as, copper or silver.
Although 10K gold has less gold than other alloys, it’s sometimes seen as the smarter choice because of its price point and durability.
Jared – Women’s Wedding Band 10K White Gold |$149.99
Zales – Diamond Accent Migraine Anniversary Band 10K Rose Gold |$339
Kohl’s – Cherish Always 10K Gold Two-Tone Wedding Band |$625.00
14 Karat Gold
14 Karat gold jewelry has a bit more gold involved in its creation. For example, if you choose to go with a 14K gold band you’ll get a piece that is 14 parts gold and 10 parts non-gold metals.
It’s also one of the most popular choices among newlyweds as it fits in a good price range without the feeling that you’re slacking on purity.
Ellyn Blue Jewelry | Etsy |$485+
ArtCarved |style # 11-WV8875W65
Jared – Men’s Wedding Band 14K Yellow Gold 4mm |$289.99
18 Karat Gold
And then there’s 18K gold. This choice will get your closer to purity without falling away from the durability you need in a ring to last a lifetime. With an 18k gold piece, you’ll get something that’s 18 parts gold and 6 parts that are made of other metals.
Fortunately, the more you climb towards a pure gold piece, the closer you get to a pure gold color. Also, it’s less likely that you would have an allergic reaction to the non-gold metals used in creating the alloy – such as nickel.
ArtCarved |style # 11-WV8878Y65
Jared – Wedding Band Platinum & 18K Yellow Gold 6mm |$1299.99
Guy Cohen Jewelry | Etsy |$437+
24 Karat Gold
Finally, we have 24K gold bands. These are the “purest” bands; the ones made with the most amount of gold. But because pure gold isn’t the best choice for wear, it’s rarely used without the addition of other metals to strengthen it.
If you do decide to go with a 24k ring, know that they are more likely to scratch or bend. Although, the plus side is that the color of your band will be that of real, honest gold.
Tiny Sparkle Studio | Etsy |$500
Brightsmith | Etsy |$890.00+
Jewelry by Johan | Etsy | $1899.00
Yellow Gold, White Gold, or Rose Gold?
When choosing a wedding band, a gold wedding band, you’ll not only have to choose a karat size but also a color. Are you a classic yellow fan? Or are you more of a contemporary white gold lover? Maybe, you’re a little more trendy and prefer rose gold. Let’s learn a bit more about all three.
Pure gold is really yellow. Actually, it’s really, really, really gold. So the color you end up with actually depends on the karats you decide to go with and what other metals have been used to “harden” up your piece.
But out of the three gold colors you can choose from, yellow is the closest to the real thing. Silver, copper and zinc are the most common metals used in mixing with yellow golds
Warren Goods | Etsy |$225
Brilliant Earth – Carrick Wedding Ring in 18K Yellow Gold |$1190
Blue Nile – Matte Mid Weight Comfort Fit Band |$390
White gold is created using a combination of metals that are a bit different than what we see with yellow designs. Gold, silver, nickel and palladium come together to form what we all know – and a lot of people love – as “white gold.”
Most white gold jewelry is finished off with a “dipping” of rhodium to solidify its final tone. Which is why, after lots of wear, you’ll starting to notice a slight yellow tint and will have to get your band “re-dipped” to get that shining, new look back.
Tiffany T Two Ring in 18K White Gold |$2950
Blue Nile – Knife Edge Wedding Band |$330
Gemvara – Men’s 14K White Gold Ring with Diamond |$1350
And then there’s rose gold. This beautiful “pink-tinted” gold is created by mixing pure gold and copper. Sometimes you’ll hear these pieces referred to as “pink” or “red gold,” as well. The slight difference you’ll see in these tones is from the amount of copper that’s been added throughout the alloying process.
Robbins Brothers – 14k Rose Gold 6.1mm Men’s Wedding Band | $495
Hello Ring | Etsy | $388+
Jared – Neil Lane Diamond Band 1/4 carat tw 14K rose gold band |$899.99
A Quality Wedding Ring is About More Than Price
As we’ve learned, you can spend a lot more on a pure gold band but end up with a longer-lasting piece of jewelry by choosing a 10k or 14k piece. Don’t be blinded by dollar signs in either direction. Weigh your pros and cons, weigh your likes and dislikes and don’t make rash decisions about a piece of jewelry that you want to last a lifetime.
And you also have to think about whether or not you want a band with embellishments. Do you want to add diamonds, or even some sapphires? This is all included in the decision and the kind of ring you want. You may have a ring that’s worth a lot in cash, but you could also end up with something that’s too precious to endure years of adornment.
Still Unsure of Which Type of Gold is Best For You? Here’s a Practical Guide.
Purity vs. Durability: It’s All in the Karat
Are you more concerned about the purity of your ring or the durability of the design? If you want something that won’t be easy to scratch or bend, consider a band alloyed with some other non-gold metals like a 10k or 14k piece.
If you’re more concerned with its purity and that you’re buying into a solid piece of gold think about choosing an 18k piece or greater. 24K is pure gold and also great for those with nickel allergies or those that have had a reaction to other non-gold metals.
- 10k – Most Durable, Least Pure
- 14k – Most Popular Choice, Durable, More Gold Than Non-Gold Metals
- 18k – More Expensive, Less Likely To Cause Allergic Reaction, Brighter Tone
- 24k – Pure in Color, No Allergic Reaction, More Expensive, Easily Scratched/Bent
Yellow vs White vs Rose
Consider your style.
- Yellow – Traditionalists love a beautiful, yellow gold band. They can easily have a more vintage vibe as well, and they always carry a warmer tone with them.
- White – Those with a more modern style usually choose a white gold design. It’s a brighter, chicer and cooler-hued option.
- Rose – Rose gold will always bring in a richer, warmer tone but it’s also the perfect choice for those with a quirkier, more untraditional style.