What is the Difference Between 14K, 18K, 22K & 24K Gold?

difference between 22k and 24k gold

Have you ever been confused while buying gold jewelry? Whether to buy 18K, 22K, or 24K, what is the difference? If different questions keep on popping in your mind related to its purity, the best Karat for investment, and that for wearing, say bye to them as after reading the article, every confusion will be cleared.

What is the relation of Karat with gold?

Before diving into the details and difference between 22k and 24k gold, let’s see what Karat is. 

Karat is the unit or scale used to determine the purity of gold, or it is defined as the ratio of pure gold and other impurities on a scale of 0 to 24, where 24K is the purest form of gold. 

Different types of gold:

There are four most common types of gold, based on karats:

  • 14K
  • 18K
  • 22K
  • 24K

24K is the purest gold containing no impurity and 99.9% pure gold, while 14K is the most impure form containing 58.3% gold, and the rest are all impurities. Apart from these, 9K, 10K, and 12K are also available, but they aren’t worth buying for any purpose. 

22K vs. 24K GOLD:

Whenever we go to a jeweler’s shop, they always ask if we want 22K or 24K jewelry. So, these two are the most common type of gold karats being used worldwide and are the top two purest forms. 

22 karat Gold:

22 karat gold is the second purest form of gold. It has:

  • 22 parts of gold
  • 2 parts of any impurity 

It has 91.67% pure gold and is less malleable due to impurities. It has a hallmark of 916, showing its fineness level. The most refined jewelry in the market is made from 22K gold.

24 karat Gold:

24K, the pure gold, contains 24 parts of gold only. It has got no impurity at all. It has 99.9% of gold. Its bright, shiny yellow color clearly shows its purity. 


Here are the significant differences between the most common types of gold:

  • COST:

The most notable difference between the two forms of gold is the price, and purity. Since 24 K gold is purer than 22 K gold, it is more expensive. In fact, 24K is the most expensive gold.



Since both the karats have different purity levels, they got different uses. 22K gold is more durable and more rigid due to other materials; it is best for making jewelry like rings, necklaces, etc.

On the other hand, since 24K gold has no impurity, it is very soft to be used in making jewelry of any type. This form of gold is preferable for investment purposes. But opt for this type, only if you are in all attentions to buy with the aim of investment. 22K can’t be fetched for investment since its value decreases with time due to impure metal present.



24K is bright yellow since it has no impurity at all. In contrast, 22K can vary in color depending on the impure metal used in its making. Its color varies when made with iron, nickel, copper and other alloys. The 3 common types of 22K are:

  • Rose gold
  • White gold
  • Yellow gold



 22K gold comprises 22 parts of gold and 2 parts of any impurity, while 24K gold is all parts gold.



22K gold is hard and durable, while 24K gold is soft and easily pliable. That is why 24K gold cannot be used in making          jewellery. It can be hammered and changed into shapes required to make an article of jewelry.


  • Fineness:

The fineness is the pure gold in a sample in terms of gold parts per thousand. The fineness of 24 karat gold is 916, while that of 22 karat gold is 999.


GOLD  22K 24K
PURE 22 Parts are pure All pure
FINENESS 0.916 1


USE For making jewelry, in electronics and many other things For investment


COLOR Depends on the impurity used Bright yellow

How to determine if it is 24K or 22K gold?

Before buying any gold, whether for jewelry purposes or investment, confirm its purity. But how to do that? That’s not a problem anymore. The growth of science provides you with various methods to check it.


The easiest test to differentiate between 24K from other karats is by using nitric acid, and it is available at all jeweler’s shops. The jeweler will scratch the gold you chose against the testing slab, and then they will put a few drops of the acid on gold and observe the reaction.


The other test that you can go for to check the purity of whether it is 24K or not is the vinegar test. It can be done at home also quickly. All you need to do is drop 2 to 3 drops of vinegar on the gold and observe the color. If the color remains the same, it is not 24 K gold.


Why is 24K not appropriate for jewelry purposes?

There are many reasons why 24K gold can’t be used for making jewelry, the prominent being:

  • It is exceptionally soft and can’t resist wear and tear. It bends easily, failing to retain its shape at all.
  • It scratches easily, becoming scuffed.
  • It is costly 
  • It is very bright, making it unattractive for jewelry purposes.


Up till now, you are well up on the properties of 22 and 24 karat gold and the differences between them. So, buy the Karat according to your needs by visiting the shop.


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