Many of us, at one point or another, have shopped for gold either as jewellery or for investment purposes. If you’ve ever gone shopping for gold jewellery then you must be familiar with different karats of gold available. Do you know the key difference between 22Kt and 24kt? Which one should you buy for investment? If you have questions like these and more, look no further.
What do we mean by karats?
Before understanding the difference between 22K and 24K, one must know what K or karat stands for. It is a term used to measure the purity of gold. The higher the karat value, the purer the gold would be. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 24. With this in mind, 24K gold is the purest gold you can buy.
One should know that gold is malleable in its pure state. Other metals such as copper, nickel, silver, palladium are added in the composition to strengthen it and produce jewellery. Thus, one can say that karat is also measurement of the ratio of gold to other metals or alloys.
Different types of gold (according to karat)
Below are the common karat available in the market
24 Karat Gold: 24K gold signifies 99.9 percent purity and also called pure gold as it doesn’t contain traces of any other metals. One should know that there is no higher form of gold than 24K. If we talk about 24K gold price in India, it fluctuates every day. But since this is the purest form of gold, it is naturally more expensive than 22K or 18K. However, it is suited for investment purposes but not for regular forms of jewellery as it is too soft for the latter purpose.
22 Karat Gold: It contains 22 parts of gold mixed with 2 parts of other metals such as copper, zinc. Due to other traces of metal in the composition, it is harder than a 24K pure gold and thus, appropriate to make jewellery. Gold of this karat is also known as ‘916 gold’ as it comprises 91.67% of pure gold.
18 Karat Gold: It contains 18 parts of gold to 6 parts of other metals. In percentage terms, 18K gold is equal to 75% gold and the other 25% contains other metals such as Zinc, copper, nickel, etc. The additional metals in 18K gold makes it harder & durable than 24K and 22K, which is too soft for jeweller.
14 Karat Gold: It is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7% of other metals. Compared to 18k gold, 14K is more durable as well as affordable. The 14K gold jewellery is ideal for everyday use and offers more resistance to wear and tear than 18 and 22K gold.
Note: Apart from the above-mentioned karat, other karat ranging from 10K, 9K gold are also available in the market. However, all of them have low gold content and are not suitable for those who are looking for some return value.
Comparison Between 24K and 22K Gold
|Contains 99% of gold
|Contains 91.67% gold
|Too soft to make any jewellery; thus, suited for investment purpose
|Harder and more durable due to the presence of other metals in it
|Medical and electrical devices are some of the application of the pure gold 24K
|Used in making jewellery and coins
|Highest price amongst other karats
|Less expensive than 24K
Difference between 24K Gold and 22K Gold
Here is the key difference between 24K gold and 22K gold:
Purity: 24K signifies 99.9 % purity and 22K is approximately 91 percent pure gold, with the other 9% consisting of other metals such as copper, silver,zinc, etc.
Durability: While 24K gold is brilliant in colour, the jewellery (if made) with 24K gold won’t be as durable as 22K gold jewellery. It is because 24K gold is too soft to resist wear and tear. The presence of additional metals in 22K gold helps to make the jewellery more durable.
Cost: Since 24K gold is 99.9% pure, it is more expensive than 22K gold
24K gold or 22K gold- Which one should I go for?
If one is looking for investment, then it is ideal to go for a 24K gold coin/bar. It is because 22K gold coin/bar won’t fetch the same value at the time of selling as 24K gold as the latter contains 99.9% gold. However, if you are buying gold for jewellery then go for 22K as it will withstand wear and tear better than 24K gold, and has the most amount of gold in jewellery form.
Why is 22K gold preferred over 24K gold?
22K gold is preferred in case of jewellery. It is because 24K gold is malleable in its pure state and jewellery made with this kind of gold will break easily. Thus, most people prefer 22K over 24K gold as it also helps them to get better value when sold.
Should I buy 22k gold or 24k gold as an investment?
If you are purchasing gold as an investment or emergency fund (or perhaps portfolio diversification) then go for 24K gold. 24K gold contains 99.9% gold whereas 22K gold contains 91.7% gold. When you are buying a 24K gold coin/bar, always look for a hallmark certification to ensure its purity. It is better to buy gold from a BIS hallmarked jeweller so that you get prevalent value of gold when you sell it.
Which Karat gold is best for jewellery?
It depends on how much you will be wearing that piece of jewellery or how simple or intricate you would like that piece to be. 14K or 18K gold jewellery is perfect for those who want to wear gold jewellery everyday and at the same time want intricate work. This is not possible in the case of 22K gold jewellery as it will be too soft to hold gems, if any, or withstand regular wear and tear.
How can I measure gold purity using karats?
It is fairly easy to calculate the amount of gold in the gold jewellery you have bought through the number of karats. For e.g, you purchase a ring that is 14K gold. Since the gold purity is measured on a scale of 0 to 24, divide 14 by 24 which will give you 0.583. This means your 14K gold ring contains 58.3% gold.
|Gold Purity Conversion Chart
|Number of karat
|Parts of gold
|Gold purity (%)