14K gold is the most common type of karat gold used in jewelry manufacture in the United States. Gold in its pure form (24K) is too soft and malleable for everyday wear. But 14K gold, which is comprised of gold alloyed with other metals, is well suited for jewelry because of its strength and durability. Most of the scrap gold purchased by GoldFellow® is 14K Gold.
To produce 14K karat gold, 58.3% pure (24K) gold is alloyed with 41.7% other metals like silver and copper. The other metals add strength and impact the color of the gold. In the case of yellow and rose colored 14K gold, the alloyed metals are silver and copper. White 14K gold contains 58.3% gold alloyed with nickel, zinc, silver and palladium and is often plated with rhodium.
The amount of gold in a piece of jewelry is represented as a percentage of 24K (pure gold). For example 14K (14 ÷ 24 = .583) means 14K gold jewelry contains 58.3% pure gold. Jewelry marked with a higher number such as 18K or 22K contains more gold than 14K and is therefore more valuable.
14K gold jewelry may have any of the following markings: 14K, 14KT, 14K-P, 14 Plumb, 14/24 and .585.