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A Guide to 24K Gold

The advantages, disadvantages, price and purity of 24k gold

By Mike Fried,

Bottom Line Recommendation

24K gold is the purest type of gold available. Unlike 10K, 14K and 18K gold, which are all made from an alloy of gold and other metals, 24K gold is made of 100% pure gold. This gives it a rich, bright and powerful color that immediately attracts the eye.

While 24K gold is extremely valuable, it isn’t widely used for engagement rings. Because gold is such a soft metal, 24K gold bends and scratches easily, making it an impractical metal for a ring that you or your fiancé-to-be will wear daily.

Most engagement rings are made from 14K gold, which offers a good combination of purity and durability. If you’re looking for the purest gold that’s still practical for everyday use, you can also consider an 18K gold engagement ring.

Good settings include this timeless 18K yellow gold solitaire engagement ring from James Allen or this gorgeous 18K white gold French cut pavé diamond engagement ring from James Allen. These settings are both made from 18K gold, making them as pure as possible without being too easy to scratch. 

Are you looking to sell your gold? This article is geared towards helping people looking to purchase jewelry. If you are looking to sell your gold, feel free to hop on over to our Selling Your Jewelry page. If you are looking to sell your diamond engagement ring, we have a specific article for Selling Your Diamond Ring

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For personalized advice, feel free to contact our experts. We can help you choose the right type of gold and the perfect diamond or gemstone for your engagement ring and other jewelry. 

Triple Band Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring
This unique engagement ring in 14K white and yellow gold is true elegance.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

What is 24K gold?
What is the purity of different types of gold?
How many gold colors are there?
How much does 24K gold cost?
When to purchase 24K gold

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

What is 24K Gold?

“‘Caratage’ is the measurement of purity of gold alloyed with other metals. 24 carat (or karat) is pure gold with no other metals. Lower caratages contain less gold; 18 carat gold contains 75 per cent gold and 25 per cent other metals, often copper or silver.” World Gold Council

When it comes to engagement rings and other fine jewelry, gold is almost always the material of choice. 

Gold comes in a variety of purity levels. These levels are categorized using the karat system — a system that measures the purity of gold used to produce jewelry based on the total gold content per 24 parts. 

The most common type of gold used in jewelry is 14K gold, which contains 14 parts of pure gold per 24 parts. The remaining 10 parts consist of alloy meals, such as silver, nickel, palladium and copper. 

18K gold, as you might expect, contains 18 parts pure gold. Like 14K gold, the remaining parts are made up of a combination of different metals. Other types of gold commonly used for rings and other jewelry include 10K gold, which is the least pure gold sold in the United States. 

These types of gold are often alloyed with additional metals to affect their appearance, creating colors such as white gold, yellow gold and rose gold.

24K gold is pure, non-alloyed gold. This type of gold only contains gold, without any silver, zinc, nickel, palladium, copper or other metals. It’s the purest type of gold available, with all 24 out of 24 parts consisting solely of gold. 

Compared to 10K, 14K and 18K gold, 24K gold has a bright, rich orange-yellow color that looks quite different to the gold most people are accustomed to seeing. 

Because pure 24K gold isn’t alloyed with other metals, it’s a soft metal that can bend, warp and scratch easily. Because of this, it generally isn’t used for engagement rings, wedding bands or other gold jewelry. 

Instead, 24K gold is often used for decorative wedding jewelry, particularly in countries such as China, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. It’s also the preferred form of gold for investors, who often purchase 24K gold as bars, bullion and coins. 

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24K gold is 99.99% pure, meaning it contains no alloyed metals. There is no higher level of gold purity than 24K. In comparison, 18K gold is made up of 75% pure gold, while 14K and 10K gold contain 58.3% and 41.7% pure gold, respectively. 

The extremely high purity level of 24K gold gives it different characteristics from the 14 and 18K gold that’s commonly used in jewelry. 

difference between gold purities


Unlike 10K, 14K and 18K gold, which come in a wide range of colors, all 24K gold has the same bright, eye-catching orange-yellow appearance. 

This is because 24K gold doesn’t contain any additional metals. White gold is made by alloying pure gold with metals such as silver, zinc and palladium, Rose gold is made from a mix of gold, silver and copper.

Because these metals can’t be alloyed with 24K gold without reducing its purity level, there’s no such thing as 24K white gold or rose gold. 

Price of 24K Gold

24K gold is the most expensive type of gold. Its price can vary based on a wide range of market factors. At the time of publishing this guide, pure 24K gold was selling for approximately $1,528 per ounce. You can view more about selling gold and its prices here.

Because 24K gold isn’t widely used for engagement rings, wedding bands and other jewelry, it’s hard to directly compare its price to 14K and 18K gold. Online jewelry vendors such as Blue Nile and James Allen do not offer 24K gold as a choice of metal for their settings. 

When is 24K Gold the Right Choice? 

If you’re interested in gold as an investment, or if you’re looking specifically for 24K jewelry for a wedding party or traditional wedding gift, then 24K gold is typically the right choice. 

However, for engagement rings, wedding bands, earrings, wristwatches and other jewelry, 24K gold isn’t a good option. Although it’s extremely pure, it’s far too soft and easy to scratch for it to be a practical choice of metal for jewelry that you or your fiancé-to-be will wear often.

As the Times of India explains, 24 karat gold is way too soft for a jewelry metal. 24K gold is extremely soft, meaning a ring made out of gold this pure could easily warp and become unwearable.

If you’re looking for the purest gold that’s still practical for an engagement ring, wedding band or other jewelry, we recommend choosing 18K gold. With a 75% gold content, it offers a rich, warm appearance while still providing an acceptable level of scratch resistance and durability.

For example, this stunning Petite pavé diamond ring in 18K white gold from Blue Nile offers a high level of purity and the warmth of gold at a more affordable price than 24K jewelry (and without its durability issues).

If you’re on a strict budget or you care more about durability than purity, 14K gold is also a good option. A setting such as this stunning yellow gold pavé engagement ring from James Allen looks beautiful while offering excellent durability and value for money. 

Finally, if you’d like personalized help choosing the right engagement ring or any other piece of fine jewelry, feel free to contact our experts. We can help you find the ideal setting, diamond or other gemstone based or your needs and budget. 

FAQs About 24K Gold

Is 24K or 14K better?

24K gold is easily a higher-quality gold than 14K. 24 karat gold is pure gold – 100% gold, with no other metals present. 14K is only 58.3% gold. This makes 24K more valuable, however, it is not as well suited for jewelry, as it’s softer than 14K and too easy to scratch or dent.

Should I get 18K or 24K gold?

18K or 24K gold It depends on what you’re buying it for. 24K gold is more valuable, better as an investment or store of value. But 18K gold is the better choice for jewelry, as it’s more durable, and better able to resist the rigors of everyday wear.

Which karat gold is the best?

24 karat gold is the most valuable, as 24K gold is 99.9% pure gold. However, “best” depends on the purpose. As an investment or store of value, 24K gold is the best, but for more practical uses, 10-14K gold may be better.

Here are more specific metal topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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