Gold is a very soft and malleable metal. When gold is used in jewelry, other alloys are added to make the piece durable. The carat of gold determines how much gold is in the jewelry piece. For example, 24K gold that is used in jewelry is considered pure gold.
According to GoldConverters.com, 14K gold contains only 14 parts of gold. The rest consists of 10 parts of other alloy metals. The actual amount of gold in 14K gold comes down to 58.3 percent gold. Depending on whether your gold is white, rose (pink-colored) or yellow determines which alloy is mixed in with the gold.
If you have 14K white gold jewelry, it contains either silver, nickel, palladium or rhodium. Pink or rose-colored (Black Hills) 14K gold contains copper. Yellow 14K gold can contain copper and silver. 14K gold jewelry is more commonly used due to its durability. For example, 14K is used more often in the making of earring backings, rings and bracelets. True 14K gold should have a stamp marking its gold content.
There are some forms of jewelry that are made with 14K gold, such as gold fill or overlay. With gold fill, a base metal (brass) is bonded with a gold content higher than 10K. This form of jewelry is marked as either 10KGF or 14KGF. Overlay jewelry is much like gold fill, but the quality of the gold may be less than gold fill. The problems with gold fill and overlay products are that eventually the gold will fade, or the jewelry will tarnish.
Depending on the type of 14K you have, the value of your gold will vary. For example, Black Hills gold and yellow gold may not be as pricey as 14K white gold. White 14K gold can be pricier due to the alloys in the gold piece. Using rhodium in white 14K gold will ensure that a jewelry piece never tarnishes and will always look shiny.
You should always properly store your unworn 14K jewelry. Wearing chain link bracelets or necklaces at night can kink your jewelry. Wearing 14k jewelry, while using bleach, can harm the jewelry as gold can become oxidized due to bleach, which results in the gold turning black. Using hairspray, perfumes and cosmetics, while wearing 14K gold, can also discolor your pieces. Cleaning your 14K gold can be done by using a mild detergent-free soap and water.