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How to tell the Karat of Gold

Gold is amongst the most precious metals men have ever discovered; Although, not all gold has the same purity level. One of the most important features of this metal is that it is very soft and brittle, therefore, it is mostly alloyed with other resistant metals to improve its strength.

But how can we figure out the karat of a gold jewellery? How can we determine the purity of a gold matter we have bought? Stay with us in this article where we are going to introduce some helpful methods to know your gold jewellery better.

Karat rating and fineness are two value determining factors in gold. The karat scale indicates the percentage of gold to alloy and measures gold purity. There are 4 common purity levels in gold: 8, 14, 18, and 24 karats. The more a gold piece is alloyed, the more strength it has and the less valuable it is.

A 24k ring of gold means that it is made of pure gold, and is also softer and more sensitive against strikes. There are 75% gold and 25% other metals in an 18k ring of gold. And in the end, 14k rings of gold are made out of 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloys which makes it so resistant but less valuable.

There are a few ways you can test the karat of your gold at home:

  • Colour: The deeper the orange-yellow colour, the higher the karat.
  • Weight: Gold is heavy; you can feel its weight in your hand. If a gold object is too light weighted, be suspicious about it as it might be a gold-plated metal that just looks like solid gold.
  • Malleability: Pure gold is a very brittle, soft metal and will dent easily. A gold-plated item and fake gold items are harder as they have been crafted from a tougher metal.
  • Magnet test: Gold is not attracted to a magnet; if it reacted you can make sure it contains iron.

However, none of these techniques are advised as none of them can bring full assurance. Instead, we suggest you to use these two following methods:

  • Check the Hallmark: usually there is a mark inside gold jewellery items which appears as a number followed by the letter “K” and can be read using a jewellery loupe. The mark is not required by law, but careful buyers will insist on dealing only in gold with a karat indication.

How to understand the karat by reading the hallmark? For instance,an indicator of 750 means gold that is 75 percent pure which means it is 18K gold (it's 18 of a maximum 24 parts).

Buyers and jewellers consider a number from 995 to 999 as an indicator of pure gold.

Warning: this method is only useful when you trust the one you are buying the jewellery piece from. If the jewellery shop is not trusted, they may have inserted wrong hallmark on the piece.


  • Use metal testing kit: The only sure way to find out a gold jewellery items karats in home is to use a gold testing kit. These kits commonly include small bottles with nitric acid and a testing stone. Nitric acid is used to test the purity of gold objects, since gold is the only metal that is dissolved by this acid. A tiny scrape of the gold item is placed on a touchstone. A retail metal testing kit contains several different strengths of acid solution. Different levels of nitric acid let you test for different karat numbers.

How to use metal testing kit to test a gold object for karats?

First, scratch the testing stone with your object to leave a gold mark. Then drop some “14K” acid on the mark.

If the gold mark doesn’t change in colour, then the gold object is more than 14 karats and if it does, the jewellery is 14 karats or slightly below this level. If after testing with the 14K acid the gold mark starts to become faint and dissolves, the gold object is less than 14 karats, most likely 10K, and you can check using the 10K bottle.

If the object did not react to 14K acid drops, continue trying out with the higher-karat acid bottles, and repeat till the gold mark starts to change or dissolve – this will show that the karat of your gold item is less than the last karat acid bottle you dropped on the mark.

Gold Karat Standards in Different Countries:

Knowing common gold karats used in your regions gold jewellery industry may also be helpful.

Generally, most of the gold jewels in the market are made out of 18K gold as it is both valuable and durable. Let’s take a closer look to diverse standards of karats for several regions.

United States: 14K gold is considered average and is not very popular but is acceptable and used while 18K gold has all the attention in this region.

China: Chinese are very interested in using 24K gold in their wedding bands and the jewellery they use in different celebrations. It is also common for them to invest in gold for birthdays and baby celebrations.

India: In India the average gold karat is 22K which despite its expensive costs, people buy and use for different occasions. Not only do Indians choose 22K gold for their wedding ring, but they also use it for their other wedding jewellery pieces as in their traditions they should wear earrings to protect from evil, anklets to announce the bride’s arrival, and bangles as a charm of safety and luck.

Russia: Wedding rings are just beginning to get popular in Russia as they widely believe it is a western costume. In Russia the standard and most common gold karat used in jewellery pieces is 14K.

Iran: In Iran the most common gold karat used in jewellery industry is 18K. in Yazd 20K gold and in southern regions of the country 21K and 22K gold is commonly used while in Tehran and other central provinces 18K gold is the most popular.

If you did not find the content you were looking for in this article and you have more questions in this field, please contact our experts we will be joyful to help you.

Here in HassanZadeh Jewellery Gallery website we offer gold jewellery items with the best quality and different karats, browse the website and find your one.

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