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If you’re looking to buy a chain necklace, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to gold. Gold is categorized by carats, which reflect the percentage of the chain that is made up of real, pure gold. Knowing each different type of gold carat can be helpful if you’re looking to buy authentic, pure gold jewelry.
In this article, we’re going to be covering all things gold chains: which gold is best for chain, how to pick the best chain, and how to wear and style your chain once you’ve picked your favorite. Let’s get started!
Understanding gold carats
You may have already heard of gold carats – perhaps in a film or a book, or when hearing about a loved one’s engagement ring. But what does gold carat actually signify?
Put simply, gold carat refers to the percentage of gold that a piece of gold jewelry is made of. Not only does this determine the piece of jewelry’s worth, but it’s also an important indicator of its quality and durability. The higher the gold carat, the higher the percentage of real gold.
So, which is the best gold for a chain necklace? Let’s compare the different gold carats.
14 gold carat chain
A 14k gold carat chain is one of the lowest percentages of real gold used in luxury jewelry, representing around 58% pure gold and 28% alloyed metals. That being said, 14k gold is still a symbol of prosperity and wealth, and can actually be more durable than jewelry made with higher carats.
As it’s alloyed with a larger percentage of other metals (typically copper and sterling steel) you’ll find that a 14k gold chain is more resistant to long-term damage than its higher carat counterparts. On the downside, you might not get the same vibrant yellow-gold color that you’ll enjoy with a higher gold carat.
Is 14k good for a gold chain? If your main concern is durability (for example, if you want to wear your chain every day) then 14k is an acceptable gold carat for a necklace.
18 gold carat chain
With a higher percentage in gold than a 14k gold chain, 18k gold is also a respectable carat for an everyday gold necklace. 18k gold typically represents 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals, meaning that it’s slightly less resistant to everyday wear than a chain with a lower gold purity. 18k is actually one of the most common carats in the high-end jewelry market: being 75% pure gold, it remains a high-value piece of jewelry, while the supplementary 25% alloyed metal makes it suitable for regular wear on the body.
Is 18k good for a gold chain? One of the gold carats more frequently used by upscale jewelry makers, 18k gold works well for everyday gold chains and necklaces. That being said, it might need a bit more upkeep and maintenance than a chain with a higher gold purity level.
22 gold carat chain
The second highest gold carat in the world, a 22k gold chain symbolizes prosperity and wealth, and has a vibrant, yellow-gold hue that won’t ever be mistaken for fake gold. 22k gold typically represents around 91% pure gold, and 9% alloyed metals.
For those looking for an authentic gold chain that can be worn without being easily tarnished, 22k gold is actually the better option than 24k gold. The 9% alloyed metals will give your chain a certain durability that 24k pure gold lacks, meaning you can wear 22k on your body without having to be delicate.
Is 22k good for a gold chain? Given that its gold hue is often indistinguishable from 24k pure gold – while being more durable and resistant to wear and damage – 22k gold is the perfect option for those who wish to combine the prestige look of real gold with everyday practicality.
24 gold carat chain
24k represents pure gold, and is the highest possible gold carat in the world. The problem with a 24k gold chain is that it’s going to be extremely delicate; it might be difficult to wear on a regular basis, as it can become easily tarnished when worn on the body. Don’t forget that gold is a soft metal, and without any alloyed metals increasing its durability, it can easily become damaged.
Is 24k good for a gold chain? 24k gold is suitable for any chain that you plan on wearing very minimally, as the gold is too easily bent and damaged. For the most authentic gold look for practical wear, 22k gold is best.