ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The differences between 9,18 and 22 carat gold

Updated on August 22, 2014

Most people are confused by the difference between 9 carat, 18 carat and 22 carat gold. They know that the higher carats are more expensive, but they are often not clear why.

This page explains how gold carats are used to indicate how much gold there is in a piece of jewelry.

Gold Carats Explained

Gold carats are always denoted in twenty-fourths. Thus pure gold (Au) has 24 carats - that is 24/24 parts by mass is gold. You tend to find pure 24 carat gold only in gold bullion slabs. You never get 24 carat jewelry because it is so soft the particles would rub off on your skin the more you wore it, and it would thin after prolonged usage.

To make jewelry suitable for wear and tear, gold is blended with copper, silver and sometimes nickel to harden it. The carats tell you how much other metal has been added.

Nine carat gold is 9/24 parts gold by mass, or 37.5% gold. This means that 62.5% of the jewelry is another metal.

Fourteen carat gold is 14/24 parts gold by mass, or 58.3% gold. This means that 41.6% of the jewelry is another metal.

Eighteen carat gold is 18/24 parts gold by mass or 75% gold. This means that only 25% of the jewelry is another metal.

Twenty-two carat gold is 22/24 parts gold by mass or 91.6% gold. This means that the jewelry has only 8.4% other metal. Twenty-two carat gold jewelry is the most expensive as it is nearly pure.

The cost of the jewelry depends not only on the how much gold there is in it, but the cost of the other metals added. Copper is cheap, therefore gold jewelry made with copper is cheaper than gold jewelry made with silver.

Can you tell the amount of gold carats in jewelry by looking?

Gold is a bright shiny yellow metal. The more you add other metals the duller it gets. You can also tell by looking what other metals have been added.

22 carat gold jewelry will be a bright yellow. Mixed with copper, 18 carat gold will be less bright and 9 carat gold will be dull. If the alloy is with silver or nickel, the colour pales, so 18 carat gold mixed with nickel will be a pale yellow, and 9 carat gold mixed with nickel will look white (and is marketed as "white gold"). Most white gold in Europe is made with silver rather than nickel, as nickel causes dermatitis in some people. 9 carat gold made with silver will be more expensive than 9 carat gold made with copper.

Don't just rely on inspecting the jewelry to tell the carats in it - all good jewelry will be hallmarked by the jeweller to indicate the carat.

Gold is a famously inert metal - that is it doesn't react with any other chemicals. However, some of the other metals used in the alloy do react, especially copper, which corrodes. Thus people with 9 carat gold jewelry made with copper may find that the jewelry tarnishes and goes green or black, leaving marks on your clothes and skin. Therefore to retain the colour, go for the highest carat gold you can affford.

Related page: gold hoop earrings


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)