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Pure gold is too soft to be used in everyday jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals to make it stronger and more durable. Pure gold is 24 karat, and 14 karat gold refers to an alloy of gold that contains at least 58.3% pure gold by weight. The balance is made up of other metals to give it strength. Gold is often alloyed with copper, silver, and zinc. Copper is ductile and hard, but tends to tint the alloy pink and is prone to oxidizing. Silver and zinc, if used exclusive of copper, would tint the alloy green, but in the right proportion with copper, they can keep the alloy a nice shade of yellow. 14k gold wears better, is less resistant to scratches, and is more durable than higher karat alloys of gold.
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