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10K vs 14K Gold Chains: Key Similarities & Differences

Posted on October 08 2020

gold chain necklaces on display

Source: PARINYA ART/Shutterstock.com

If you’re new to the world of hip hop jewelry, or jewelry in general, it can be a bit confusing learning to navigate all the terminology—karats vs. carats, rose gold vs. white gold. Where do you even begin? Well, lucky for you, we’re here to dish out everything we know about mastering that sense of style that every true baller seems to have when he puts on his favorite chains.

Anyone shopping for a new chain is probably wondering about the difference between 10K vs. 14K gold chains. Both are equally great options as a first chain—a chain you wear every day—but there are a few important differences.

The Karat System

Anyone who isn’t an avid jewelry collector may feel a bit confused by the karat and the carat system. Both scales are used when referencing jewelry, but they are used to measure very different things. The carat (ct) scale reveals the weight of a gemstone, and most often it’s specifically used to describe diamonds. This measurement has been perfect, so that jewelers can make extremely precise estimates of a diamond’s weight. Karats, on the other hand, refer to the percentage of a piece of jewelry that is made from real gold.

You may be surprised to learn that pure gold jewelry is extremely rare—and not for the reasons you think. Raw gold is an extremely malleable material, meaning it can easily become misshapen, dented, or damaged in some way. For this reason, it makes little sense to create a piece using 100 percent pure gold.

Instead, gold is mixed with other metal alloys such as silver, copper, and zinc. At times, platinum is used as an alloy, but platinum itself is more valuable than gold, which could raise the price of the entire piece. Metal alloys not only improve the durability of gold jewelry but can also change the color. For example, silver mixed with yellow gold creates white gold and copper mixed with yellow gold is how you get rose gold.

Hollow Diamond Cut Miami Cuban Link Chain

14K Gold Chain - Hollow Diamond Cut Miami Cuban Link Chain

10K vs 14K Gold Chain

Now that we understand what the karat system measures, we need to understand the difference between 10K vs 14K gold chains. The number used before the “K” denotes what portion of the jewelry is made from pure gold out of 24 parts. So, 24K would mean that a piece of jewelry is 100 percent gold—or 24 parts gold. With 10K jewelry, the gold chain is made from 10 parts gold, 14 parts metal alloy.

When it comes to 14K gold chains, it’s just the opposite—14 parts gold, 10 parts metal alloy. Essentially, the biggest difference between 10K vs. 14K gold chains is that the 14K features a greater percentage of gold, making the 10K gold chain less expensive.

How to Choose Your Gold Chain

  • Consider Your Budget

When choosing between 10K and 14K gold chains, it’s best to consider your budget. If you’re not trying to drop a ton of dough, but you’re in the market for something fly, go for the 10K. It looks just as glamorous and no one needs to know it’s only 10K gold, but the price tag will likely be a little cheaper than the 14K. If you’re on the opposite side of the argument, you’re looking to treat yo’self to something nice—go all out and get the 14K. It’s all good; you deserve it.

  • Pick Quality over Quantity

This is an edict we try to keep in mind when shopping for anything. Yes, cheaper might seem better in the moment, but it’s a much better investment to spend a little more money for a product that’s going to last longer. That doesn’t mean that 14K jewelry is necessarily going to last longer than 10K jewelry, but it does beg the question of quality. Just make sure you’re buying from a brand you trust, like Frost NYC, so that your pieces will last for years to come.

Up Your Iced Out Chain Game

hands in pocket gold chains on wrist

Source: shiv.mer/Shutterstock.com

Get Your Chains On

Whether you’re a new hip hop jewelry collector or you’ve got an extensive collection already, you could always use a new chain. At Frost NYC, we have one of the great selections of gold-plated and solid gold chains, bracelets, pendants, rings, and more. Our jewelers craft each piece with care to make sure all of our customers are the flyest dudes and ladies on the block. All our jewelry is coated with a special high-quality finish that makes sure your chain stays fresh for years to come whether you opt for the 10K or the 14K gold necklace.

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