Pure gold is too soft to use for jewellery – it would bend very easily when worn. Because of this, gold must be mixed (alloyed) with other metals that are harder. This decreases the purity and makes the alloyed metal practical for use in jewellery. Karat (abbreviated as ‘kt’) is a measure of the purity of gold.

Popular gold jewellery karat

24 kt – pure gold

22 kt – 91.6% gold

18 kt – 75% gold

14 kt – 58.3% gold

10 kt – 41.7% gold

Keep in mind – karat is also different than carats. Karats are for gold and carats are for diamonds.

What are the other alloyed metals?

Good question – it can vary, and depends on the colour of gold. Yellow gold may be alloyed with metals such as silver, copper and zinc. To get white gold, the metal is alloyed with nickel, manganese or palladium and then plated with rhodium. Rose gold is an alloy with copper and silver.