9ct or 18ct? What’s the difference and does it matter?

The grading of gold is designed to show you exactly what type of metal you are buying, and the exact quality of the precious metal you will have in your jewellery.

But what does the grading mean exactly and is there much difference in the quality of each grade? Here is all you need to know about 9ct, 18ct and Fairtrade Gold:

Does the colour vary between carat weights and sources of gold?
The colour of gold (yellow or white) will be the same whether we use Fairtrade or recycled gold in your jewellery. However, there may be a slight colour difference in yellow gold between 9ct and 18ct gold, with 9ct being slightly lighter.

Is there a difference in durability with 9ct and 18ct gold?
9ct gold is softer than 18ct, so we recommend 18ct gold for men’s rings as they are usually more active with their hands and their rings will end up showing marks. But you might prefer this “worn” look – the choice is up to you.

What makes a gold ring Fairtrade?
First of all, Fairtrade rings are exactly the same type of precious metal as non-Fairtrade rings. They are graded in the same way and so 9ct Gold and 18ct gold will have the same differences as non-Fairtrade gold.

The difference though is the way the metal is extracted from the earth. The mining and processing is done with the environment, health and sustainability of the communities who manage and work the gold mines in mind. We are very proud to say that we use Fairtrade gold in Arabel Lebrusan jewellery. As a Fairtrade certified jeweller, we use Fairtrade gold mainly in our wedding and engagement collections and also in our bespoke service when requested.

Our belief is that something as precious as an engagement or wedding ring need not cost the earth.

To find out more about our Fairtrade jewellery, visit our guide to the mining process.

What is the difference in cost?
Pure gold is very soft and so is not always practical to make fine jewellery on its own. It is therefore mixed with other metals to make it durable. The more gold in the mix, the higher the carat, and the higher the cost. The type of metals the gold is mixed with will also determine its final colour: rose gold has a high concentration of copper with some silver alloyed with the gold, and white gold is a mix of gold with platinum or palladium.

Fairtrade gold does cost more to buy, but it does not cost as much to the environment or those who extract it from the earth. We feel that the additional expense of Fairtrade gold is a small price to pay to know that the jewellery we supply is ethical and environmentally friendly.

If you’re stuck choosing the right ring for your needs or are considering a bespoke piece, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to help.