In order to make durable and long lasting gold wedding bands, jewelers combine gold with other alloys that strengthen the metal and change its color. While alloys result in a stronger metal, it dilutes the value of the gold and may cause jewelry items to tarnish and/or cause allergic reactions. To achieve the best balance between the strength of alloys and the value of gold, jewelers standardized three different karat gold combinations: 18k, 14k and 10k. All three karats are available in white gold or yellow gold.
White gold alloys are typically stronger than yellow gold alloys, so a white gold wedding band will be slightly stronger and more durable than a yellow gold wedding band. For a much stronger, practically scratch-resistant metal, try a tungsten wedding band.
18k Gold Characteristics
18k gold wedding bands contain 75% gold and 25% alloy. 18k gold is the softest and purest of these three grades of gold and is the most expensive because of its high gold content. Typically used in higher-end jewelry like diamond rings or platinum, it is the most resistant to tarnishing of the three types of gold alloy material. Although 18k gold wedding bands will show wear marks sooner and wear out slightly faster than 14k and 10k gold bands, it is still the preferred quality of gold
14k Gold Characteristics
14k gold wedding bands contain 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy. Considered the ideal karat gold for rings, 14k gold makes up 90% of all the gold engagement rings and wedding bands sold in the United States. It still has a good yellow color for those wanting yellow bands instead of white, and when choosing the best karat gold for wedding bands based on all-around beauty and practicality, 14k gold is the standard.
10k Gold Characteristics
10k gold wedding bands contain 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. As the only karat gold that contains more alloy than gold, 10k gold wedding bands are the least pure and therefore the most affordable of the three karat grades. Typically the preferred metal for class rings and other jewelry pieces where a lower cost is desired, 10k gold has a greater chance to tarnish and reveal a more dull color compared to 18k and 14k gold jewelry. Due to the characteristics of 10k gold, Larson Jewelers does not recommend 10k gold to customers who wish to use it for a wedding ring. If you still wish to purchase a 10k gold wedding band, we can accommodate your request. Please contact us for pricing.
White Gold Wedding Bands
White gold jewelry is usually yellow gold mixed with nickel. The use of nickel does two things; first, it makes the color whiter, and second, it makes the gold harder and more durable. After alloying gold with nickel, it is still not completely white. It still has a yellowish color to it. So, a reflective and tarnish free metal called rhodium is coated over the gold alloy to make the final product look white. While white gold wedding bands give off a similar shine as platinum rings for a fraction of the cost, rhodium contains nickel, which isn't the best option for some skin types.
For a stronger, whiter, hypoallergenic metal, try the selection of Larson Jewelers palladium wedding bands and platinum rings.
Gold is the only metal in the jewelry industry that is most frequently mixed with other metals to change its color. Other metals tend to be prized for its pureness, like platinum or palladium, in order to keep it as close to its natural color as possible. One such mixture that is quite common is rose gold, which has a pinkish to reddish color. The reddish color is achieved by alloying gold with copper. 18k rose gold is 75% gold and 25% copper. 14k rose gold is 58% gold and 42% copper. The higher the copper content, the redder the color. There are not many styles of wedding bands that are completely made of rose gold. Usually, the basic styles are available from manufacturers. It is normally used to make two tone wedding bands. White gold wedding rings with rose gold worked into the ring to give it a unique look is very common.
Green gold is achieved by mixing gold and silver together. Although silver does not have a green color by itself, when mixed with gold it creates a greenish color. It is actually a greenish-yellow color, not green. Cadmium in small amounts can also be added to gold to make it have a greenish color. Green gold does exist naturally and its use in jewelry has been around for almost 3,000 years. Even fewer wedding ring styles are available in green gold. Usually just the plain domed style is available from most manufacturers.