The major difference between 10- and 14-karat gold is the amount of gold contained in each. They are both considered gold alloys, which means a mixture of gold and other metals. Pure gold is 24 karats; 10-karat gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metals; 14-karat gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals.
Both 10-karat and 14-karat gold contain other metals such as silver, nickel, zinc or copper. Upon first glance, it appears 14-karat gold is automatically a superior choice, but there are a few reasons why 10-karat gold may be more suitable. Gold is a softer, less durable metal by nature, meaning that the higher the gold content, the more delicate the resulting alloy will be. 10-karat gold is more durable and longer-lasting than 14-karat gold, albeit not as dazzling. This makes 10-karat gold the better choice for jewelry items that receive daily wear and tear, such as a men's wedding band. 10-karat gold is also less expensive than 14-karat gold, making it the preferred option for those looking for long-term value.
The major drawback of 10-karat gold is that it is less suitable for people with nickel allergies. Because this alloy has higher concentrations in its mixture than 14-karat gold, it is more likely to irritate sensitive skin and cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
Another difference between 10- and 14-karat gold is appearance. 10-karat gold is paler, while 14-karat is warmer and more yellow in appearance. This factor is personal preference.