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Is 10k or 14k solid gold better? Is there a real difference (other than price)? | GLDN

Written by GLDN Team — March 03, 2023

Is 10k or 14k solid gold better? Is there a <i>real</i> difference (other than price)? | GLDN

You ask: 10k vs 14k gold? We say: 10k solid gold is one of the jewelry world’s best-kept secrets. It looks, wears and holds up almost exactly like 14k solid gold…but it’s way more durable and affordable to build a collection around.

Don’t get us wrong—we also adore 14k solid gold—but 10k deserves its time to shine, too! Though, at the end of the day, we want to help you find the solid gold jewelry that’s right for you.

Read on to learn what solid gold even means, compare the benefits of 10k and 14k solid gold, determine how to choose the heirloom metal for you and discover the underrated brilliance of 10k solid gold (including all of our favorite GLDN pieces). ✨


10k Solid Gold Flow Ring


Your 10k questions, answered.

Is 10k solid gold worth buying?

In a single word: Y-E-S! We consider it the perfect compromise between cost and quality—real gold jewelry with all the benefits of 14k, but with a kinder price tag. *Best of Both Worlds by Hannah Montana plays*


Is 10k solid gold durable?

It’s actually even more durable and scratch-resistant than 14k solid gold! Like we mentioned earlier, pure 24k gold is extremely soft and malleable, so jewelers add in other metals to strengthen it. This means that 10k gold is the hardest, most scratch-resistant solid gold offering (since it has the highest percentage of other metals added to the alloy).


Is 10k solid gold real gold?

Yes, it is! This lovely metal has always been misunderstood as being inferior—but we’re here to change that. Get this: gold materials can’t legally be sold as “real gold” or “solid gold” unless they use at least 10 karats of pure gold. 10k solid gold has even been globally recognized by the Federal Trade Commission as being real, and can be sold and marketed as such. We love an underdog queen.


10k Solid Gold Tiny Studs

Does 10k solid gold look like 14k?

It does! When you see both metals side by side, you might notice that the 10k solid gold is slightly less yellow than the 14k solid gold (but only the tiniest bit). It’s just as radiant and shiny as 14k solid gold, and can be polished all the same, too. Truly, if you saw them from a distance, they’d be pretty indistinguishable!

(Side note: You’ll find some jewelers plating their 10k solid gold with another higher-karat gold (like 18k) to get that intense yellow color, but we personally prefer the buttery yellow hue of 10k solid gold as it is—no plating necessary, in our opinion.)


Is 10k solid gold waterproof?

Sure is! Wear it 24/7, shower in it, sweat in it. But just like with 14k solid gold, we recommend keeping it away from chemicals (like the ones found in hot tubs, chlorine pools and harsh cleansers!) as it can dull the shine of your gold. You can always clean and polish your 10k solid gold pieces, though, to get them looking new again. We truly can’t recommend waterproof jewelry enough—it’s low maintenance, fuss-free and easy to take care of.

We wrote an entire journal on waterproof jewelry and how to care for your pieces, if you’re so inclined!


Is 10k solid gold better than 14k?

It really depends on what you’re looking for! 10k solid gold is more durable and affordable than 14k solid gold, but it has a slightly softer yellow hue in comparison. 10k solid gold is just now starting to gain in popularity here in the U.S., though some other countries (like Australia) have been on the 10k gold train for some time now!


Are some pieces of jewelry better in 10k vs 14k gold?

Our answer: yes and no! Like we mentioned before, 10k is more durable than 14k gold—so if you need a piece that’s super durable for everyday wear, we’d suggest 10k gold. Think pieces like rings that are more prone to scratching or denting, or bracelets that might come into contact with more items than a necklace would.

If your only priority is appearance, though, we’d suggest 14k gold as it does have a slight leg up in terms of color and shine. Pieces that don’t experience much wear, like earrings or necklaces, might be best in 14k gold—but it really depends on your priorities and how much you’re looking to spend.


Is 10k and 14k gold jewelry a good investment?

When it comes to jewelry, we always suggest going for the solid gold. No matter its purity, gold is a great investment for so many reasons: it’s durable enough to last a lifetime, it can be sold down the line (if you so choose) and it can be passed down to future generations as an heirloom—this goes for both 10k and 14k gold!


10k Solid Gold Featherweight Hoops and Liquid Gold Chain


Next, let’s learn more about karats, alloys and the color of gold.

All about solid gold karats.

To understand the difference between 10k and 14k gold, let’s turn to the karat system—how the purity of gold is measured. That’s what the k refers to in 10k, 14k and so on! The higher the number, the more gold in the piece. Pure gold is 24 karat, meaning all 24 parts of the jewelry are gold, without any other metals added in, but more on that later.

Take this same idea and apply it to 14k or 10k solid gold: 14k means that 14 parts (out of 24 parts total) are pure gold, while the remaining 10 are other metals. For 10k solid gold, this means that 10 parts are pure gold, while the remaining 14 are other metals.

Making sense so far? Just pretend you’re back in elementary school match doing fractions—that’s basically all this is!


10k vs 14k vs 18k vs 24k Comparison


All about solid gold alloys.

Alloy = a combo of multiple metals. Though it’s waaaay expensive, pure 24k gold is too soft to wear daily—and too orange for most people’s tastes—so jewelers started adding in other metals to strengthen it and alter its color to something softer and more flattering. 🙏

Typical metals added to yellow gold are silver, copper, zinc and nickel, though it really changes from place to place and piece to piece. The majority of our 10k solid gold jewelry doesn’t include nickel (since we know it isn’t hypoallergenic) but if you have questions about a specific piece, reach out to our Customer Care team!


All about solid gold color.

Finally, something you’ll truly care about (😉): how the karat affects the color of 10k vs 14k gold! Essentially, the higher the percentage of pure gold (and the lower the percentage of other metals), the more orange-yellow the gold will be. That’s why pure 24k solid gold is extremely bright yellow, 18k is a bit less yellow, 14k is slightly softer than that and so on.

10k solid gold is a flattering, buttery yellow—just a tad less saturated than 14k solid gold—which makes it ultra-flattering on almost any skin tone (another reason why we love it!).


10k vs 14k vs 18k vs 24k Colors


All about solid gold heirlooms.

Tons of jewelers (including us, hi!) throw the term heirloom or heirloom-quality around…but what do we mean by that? Basically, we refer to our solid gold pieces here at GLDN—both 10k and 14k—as heirlooms because they’ll last a lifetime and can be passed down to future generations. They’ll never tarnish or fade, and can be refinished and polished forever! Think of it like a piece of solid wood furniture, for example—same general idea.

Want more details about non-solid gold pieces (like gold fill and gold vermeil)? Our metal overview journal breaks down all the metals we offer here at GLDN.


10k Solid Gold Floating Pearl Bracelet


How to choose the solid gold for you.

Consider durability. 💪

How often do you plan on wearing your piece? As we mentioned above, both 10k and 14k solid gold are fully tarnish-resistant, waterproof, and can be refinished and polished forever—but 10k solid gold goes one step further on durability. It’s even more scratch-resistant than 14k gold (due to its blend of metals) making it the perfect choice for an all-day-everyday piece you plan to put on and never take off.


Consider color. 💛

Which hue of gold do you prefer? The specific karat of the gold (for example: 10k, 14k, 18k and so on) affects how yellow the piece appears. Where 24k gold is an intense, warm-toned gold, 10k gold holds a slightly softer yellow hue, like a glass of champagne (cheers to that!). When you compare 10k gold vs 14k, it’s an extremely subtle difference—in fact, when 10k and 14k solid gold are side-by-side, they’re almost indistinguishable in color and shine, as you can see here…or can’t see, rather.

Quick FYI on color: the karat of the metal doesn’t create white or rose gold—that’s a different process entirely! (Our metal overview journal dives into those two metals, if you’re curious.)


Consider price. 💰

How much do you want to invest? When it comes to 10k versus 14k gold, 10k solid gold is significantly less expensive than 14k solid gold, again, due to the amount of gold in the metal. This makes it easier to stack up on—and who doesn’t want a solid gold jewelry collection?


Consider skin sensitivity. 🤗

How does 10k vs 14k gold stack up when it comes to sensitive skin? As a rule, the purer the gold, the less likely you are to experience any sort of reaction—since higher-karat gold has fewer metals in its alloy. If you have extremely sensitive skin, 14k gold would be the safer option since it has a higher percentage of pure gold in its alloy—but 10k gold will most likely be fine, too. The main thing to look out for in 10k solid gold is whether it includes nickel, which may cause skin sensitivity. You can always ask the jeweler or shop whether the gold you’re considering includes nickel just to be safe.


Our 10k solid gold favorites.

You probably noticed that we have a thing for 10k. We love its durability, affordability and softer yellow hue than 14k gold, and we find it exciting you can build a solid gold collection without (totally) breaking the bank!


10k Solid Gold Chains

10k Solid Gold Chains

Just starting your solid gold collection? A simple chain or dainty necklace is the way to go. They’re timeless, classic and can be worn all day, every day, with pendants or without! Our Solid Gold Dainty Chain makes a subtle, sparkling statement on its own…and is the perfect base for an add-on.

Our other beloved 10k solid gold chains—the Liquid Gold Chain and Taiya Chain—both emit a sensational, lit-from-within shine that’ll instantly elevate a tee, sweats…even pajamas. (That’s important, OK?)


10k Solid Gold Bracelets

10k Solid Gold Bracelets

Don’t forget to give your wrist a little luxury, too. Each of our 10k solid gold chains have a matching bracelet to stack to your heart’s content: the Solid Gold Dainty Chain Bracelet, the Liquid Gold Bracelet and the Taiya Bracelet!


10k Solid Gold Earrings

10k Solid Gold Earrings

When in doubt, stack it out. Our Nouveau White Sapphire Hoops are the perfect focal point for your ear stack, crafted with lab-grown white sapphires for an everyday glow! Pair with our Pearl Studs, Starlight Studs, Moonlight Studs or Pebble Studs in 10k solid gold.


10k Solid Gold Floating Pearl Chains


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Your next heirloom awaits.

Whether 10k or 14k is the one for you, our heirloom collection is open and full of solid gold treasures that’ll last forever. Happy collecting!

Team GLDN ✨

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