What is 22k Gold? Is 22k Gold Good Quality?

Posted on February 28 2021

One of the rarer karats of gold used for crafting jewelry is 22 karat gold. 22k gold is the highest karat of pure gold used in jewelry, making 22k gold an extremely unique material for jewelry. In this article we’ll discuss what 22k gold means, what 22k gold is comprised of, and other important details you need to know about 22k gold jewelry.

 

What Does 22k Gold Mean?

22k gold, also known as 22 karat gold, means that 22 parts of the gold are pure gold. The other 2 parts are mixed metals and alloys. 22k gold has a purity of approximately 91.6%. The remaining 8.33% are mixed metals and alloys. These mixed metals could be zinc, copper, silver, or palladium. 22k gold is good quality, even one of the highest qualities of gold, despite the small percentage of alloys that exist in its mixture. These alloys are essential to create strength, hardness, and durability for gold jewelry. Without them, the pure gold would be too soft, delicate, and susceptible to bending, which is the problem using 24k gold in jewelry.

 

6mm GLD Signature Miami Cuban

14k Solid Gold 6mm GLD Signature Miami Cuban

 

Difference Between 22k Gold and 24k Gold

In our article specifically about 24k gold, we discussed that 24k gold is 100% pure gold, and the purest gold on the market. Because its 100% pure gold, this makes 24k gold extremely soft, delicate, and impractical to craft jewelry. Even though 22k gold, compared to 24k gold, has a percentage of alloys in its mixture, that doesn’t mean 22k has enough hardness for all types of gold jewelry designs. 22k gold is mostly utilized to craft plain gold pieces. 22k gold is not strong enough to hold diamonds or other precious gemstones, since not enough alloys are present. Another difference between 22k gold and 24k gold is the price. 24k gold is more expensive because it has a higher percentage of pure gold. 24k gold is typically purchased as an investment, or for  portfolio diversity. If you are looking to purchase high quality jewelry, with the most possible pure gold, then 22k gold is the more preferred karat.

Comparing 18k Gold vs 22k Gold

18k gold and 22k gold are often compared, since both gold karats have a high percentage of pure gold in their mixture, and are used in jewelry. 22k gold has more pure gold than 18k gold, and 22k gold will be priced significantly higher than 18k gold. As mentioned previously, 22k gold jewelry does exist, but only in plain gold materials. 22k gold is also more rare in jewelry than compared to 18k gold. 18k gold is popular for gold jewelry because it has enough mixed metals and alloys to create long lasting, durable, and strong jewelry. 18k gold jewelry items aren’t meant for excessive wear or everyday use, and are typically purchased as special occasion items.

 

14k Solid Gold Franco Chain (6mm)

14k Solid Gold Franco Chain (6mm)

 

Is 22k Gold Same as 916?

Another term for 22k gold is “916.” 22k gold is the same as 916, which comes from its pure gold percentage of 91.6%. “22k,” “22kt,” or “916” are the hallmark varieties  stamped on 22k gold. If your gold jewelry is stamped with 916, or being described as 916, it means the gold jewelry has 22 karats of gold.

Does 22k White Gold Exist?

Unfortunately 22k gold doesn’t exist in white gold materials, and there is no such thing as 22 karat white gold. The reason is mostly due to the high percentage of pure gold in 22k gold. Unlike yellow gold which exists naturally, white gold does not. Additional mixed metals are found in white gold materials that are different from yellow gold. Rhodium and manganese for example are two additional metals used in white gold for plating, strength, and coloring. These two metals are important to achieve the signature pale gold coloring of white gold jewelry. It’s impossible to combine these additional mixed metals into 22k gold. In order for gold to be considered 22 karats of gold, 8.33% parts are allocated to alloys. White Gold would require more than this percentage.

White Gold Micro Cuban

14k Solid White Gold Micro Cuban

 

Difference Between 22 Carat and 22 Karat Gold

The terminologies and definitions for gold jewelry can be overwhelming when you’re first learning about this topic. It’s common to confuse the definitions of “carat” and “karats” in particular. Both carat and karat are forms of measurement, but for entirely different entities. A carat refers to the weight of a diamond or other precious gemstone. Karats measure the purity of gold. If you are shopping for 22 karat gold, make sure you are looking for the “karat” terminology.