ten kar·at | ˈten ker-ət
A gold alloy that includes 41.7% pure gold and 58.3% alloy
Used to define the purity of gold in jewelry, 10k refers to the amount of pure gold in a particular piece. Because gold is such a soft metal, it must often be mixed with an alloy to make it more durable. 10k gold is 41.7% gold and 58.3% alloy. The 10 refers to parts of 24, or karats, and is the minimum legal standard in the U.S. for something to be called gold. These karat standards may differ in other countries. For example, in Italy and France, the minimum standard is 1BK, while in the UK, the minimum is 9K.