14K vs. 18K
When purchasing gold jewelry, we tend to go for the jewelry piece that contains the most karats. Between 14K and 18K gold, 18K gold contains more gold in comparison to 14K. With 18K gold, there is 75% gold and 25% of other metals. With 14K gold, there's a little more than 50% gold in the piece while the other remaining half is other alloyed metals which makes 14K gold stronger than 18K gold.
In terms of price and wear, 14K gold is better than 18K gold especially in North America. One disadvantage to 14K gold is that it tarnishes more and tends to have discoloration since it contains a moderately large percentage of other metals such as copper.
The best jewelry you can buy is the higher karats like 18K, 22K, 24K or 990 gold especially since they offer higher purity gold. Now, these are becoming less expensive and a better buy. They're hypoallergenic and they don't tarnish as easily. They're also starting to be alloyed with metals that are making them more durable.
If you're uncertain about what type of gold you would like to purchase, first ask yourself if you're looking for a deep yellow gold jewelry piece or a lighter yellow gold jewelry piece. The richness of the color of your gold is directly proportional to the percentage of gold in the piece. Your color preferences will dictate the karat quality that you desire. With higher karat quality, there's also a factor of price that must be taken into consideration- the higher the karat quality, the higher the price. This isn't always the case, which is why when you're shopping for jewelry, it's best to shop around. Some jewelers and retailers even allow you to customize your gold jewelry according to what percentage of gold you would like for your jewelry.
The higher the percentage of gold in your piece of jewelry, the higher its purity and the more hypoallergenic it is in comparison to gold jewelry with lower karat quality.
White gold is pure gold alloyed with other metals such as palladium or nickel, copper, zinc and silver. It's often plated with rhodium to give it a white luster similar to platinum. White gold tends to weigh less than its rival- platinum- and it's priced lower than other "white" jewelry.
White gold alloyed with nickel which is referred to as Nickel white gold costs less than yellow gold alloyed with palladium which is referred to as palladium white gold.
One of the disadvantages of white gold, in general, is that the rhodium plating can complicate repair work and can wear off. Nickel white gold, in comparison to palladium white gold, cracks and corrodes more easily from chlorine and soldering. Another disadvantage is that nickel white gold tends to give people an allergic reaction.
One advantage to white gold is that it tends to be as hard as or harder than its platinum alloys. Nickel white gold is harder and more scratch resistant than platinum alloys and palladium white gold has a similar hardness to its platinum alloys. Another advantage is that rhodium plated white gold doesn't tarnish. Though, palladium white gold resists tarnishing better than nickel white gold. White gold, in general, is more resistant to wear and abrasions in comparison to yellow gold but it's not as resistant as platinum.
If you're going into a hot tub or swimming pool, it's recommended that you don't wear white gold because the chlorine can attack the metal.