The most common metal used for jewelry is gold, famous for its durability, workability, and beauty. Pure gold is very soft and pliable, so jewelers use alloy gold (gold in combination with other metals) to increase its hardness and provide a variety of different colors. The gold content of the alloy is measured by the term Karat (K), with pure gold containing 24/24 portions.
10K = 10/24 = 41.7% pure gold
12K = 12/24 = 50.0% pure gold
14K = 14/24 = 58.3% pure gold
18K = 18/24 = 75.0% pure gold.
Data source: Beyond4cs.com
The gold mountings used in the U.S.A. for diamond jewelry are generally either 14K or 18K, in yellow or white colors. It is the composition of the other metals that provides the end-color, with mostly silver and copper yielding the yellow and nickel and zinc the white.
There is a small price difference between yellow and white gold jewelry of the same karat – the white gold is about 10% more expansive than the yellow. Quite a number of jewelry items come in two-tone colors, with both yellow and white gold. Because of the higher gold content in 18K jewelry, as compared to 14K, its price is about 20% higher.
In recent years another metal became once again fashionable for high-end diamond jewelry – platinum. With its durability and deep luster, it rivals gold, but it has also strength and there is no need for alloying it. Platinum jewelry is more expensive than either 14K or 18K gold, due to its purity and the difficulty of workability. Again, a selection of two-tone color jewelry, combining 18K gold and platinum, is available.
You can combine gold settings with the beauty of a gemstone to make them great jewelry for everyday wear. With different gemstone selections, you can also makes them lovely and lasting gifts for various dress attires!