Sterling Silver vs White Gold: Which is the Better Option?

When looking for jewelry to give to your loved one for the holidays, it’s important to know the difference in metal types. For example, if the woman in your life tends to wear gold jewelry, then you probably don’t want to purchase her a silver piece. Sure, it’s easy to tell the difference between silver and gold, but white gold is a different story.

Sterling Silver Sterling Silver vs White Gold: Which is the Better Option?

Gold varies significantly in its purity. For example, 18k gold is 75% pure gold, while 14k is 50% pure gold and 10k is around 41.7% pure gold. The rest of the piece is made of a mixture of other metals. These reinforce the gold, making it sturdy and durable enough to be worked with. The choice of metal has a strong influence over the color of the final product. Yellow gold requires alloying the gold with metals such as zinc and copper, while white gold is made using white metals as the source for the alloy, such as palladium or silver. Because it is an alloy, the color won’t flake or fade. The color of the gold doesn’t affect the percentage of pure gold that exists; a 10k white gold ring has the same amount of gold in it as a 10k yellow gold ring. Rhodium is sometimes used to coat white gold rings to make them seem whiter, as white gold is naturally a light grey color.

White GoldLike gold, silver must be mixed with another metal to make it durable enough to be used in jewelry. However, the percentage is different; the silver that is used in jewelry is called sterling silver, and generally ranges between 92.5% and 95% purity. Sterling silver looks much like white gold; however, it’s more susceptible to oxidization, which can cause it to turn black over time. This can be fixed by using jewelry cleaner that you can buy from many different locations. Silver can scratch easier than white gold. These metals can be differentiated by small stamps that identify the purity of the metal, for example 925 for 92.5% sterling silver, or 750 for 75% pure gold or 18k. Some people believe that white gold is warmer then sterling silver when wearing.

It’s very possible to purchase a piece of jewelry in sterling silver that looks very similar to a piece in white gold, but is only a fraction of the price.

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