What is the difference between 9ct, 18ct, 24ct gold ?

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Through selling gold plated products, I am often faced with questions about what the 'carat' of gold actually means. In short, gold is often mixed with other metals in order to make it stronger (as gold is a soft metal) and to make it cheaper. However, this will obviously affect the purity and the true value of the gold that you are purchasing. The 'carat' of the gold is a simplified way of telling the buyer how pure the metal is.

How do I find out the purity of a 'carat'? You simply divide the carat number with 24 to find the purity percentage of the gold ( e.g. 18ct / 24 = 75% ). I have given a few common examples below with some information about each.

24ct Gold -

This is the purest form of gold with an average purity of approx. 99.9% meaning that it is very soft and is therefore not the most common gold used in Jewellery.

22ct Gold -

This gold is almost pure with an average purity of 91.6%. Although it is relatively rare in the UK, you are likely to stumble across it when shopping for jewellery in far eastern countries.

18ct Gold -

This gold has a purity of approx. 75% and is a good compromise between purity and strength.

9ct Gold -

This is the least pure form of gold generally accepted and has a purity of approx. 37.5%. It is very strong and durable due to the amount of other metals in the alloy – it is also very cheap (33% of the price of 24ct) making it a popular choice for jewellery.  
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