Jewelry Trends

White Gold vs. Silver: Everything You Need to Know

Rachel Akmakjian

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Rachel Akmakjian

White Gold vs. Silver: Is There a Difference? Here’s What You Need to Know

As you peruse the selections at your favorite jewelry store, you might compare two or more rings or other pieces. You may think the various pieces you’re considering are more or less the same in terms of materials — silver with diamonds or other gemstones — but then the jeweler points out that, while some pieces may look similar, the pieces contain two different precious metals: silver and white gold.

While these precious metals are incredibly similar in appearance to the beginner jewelry collector, there are some key differences between the two that you’ll want to consider before your next jewelry purchase.

White Gold

What You Will Learn

The Main White Gold and Silver Difference

While white gold and silver may look very similar, there’s one big difference between the two that you’ll likely realize immediately: the cost.

Regarding white gold vs sterling silver, sterling silver is more affordable than white gold. If you’re shopping for jewelry on a budget and like the looks of both white gold and sterling silver, go for the silver. It’s your better deal.

That said, there are reasons why sterling silver jewelry is more affordable than white gold jewelry. White gold is more durable than sterling silver and, unlike silver, white gold jewelry will not tarnish over time, making for less maintenance over your jewelry’s lifetime. You must clean sterling silver jewelry regularly to maintain the jewelry’s lustrous appearance.

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Sterling Silver vs White Gold: How to Tell Them Apart Based on Appearance

Of course, you’ll only be able to tell white gold and silver apart by the price if you have the tags sitting right in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll have to rely on more subtle details to recognize sterling silver versus white gold.

While the two look very similar at first glance, just look a little closer. That silvery color isn’t precisely the same between the two metals.

Since white gold is simply pure yellow gold mixed with alloy metals, the color will be slightly brighter than that of sterling silver, with a distinctly white shade and brilliant white appearance. Sterling silver, on the other hand, will sport a slight grayish white hue.

Additionally, suppose you turn any silver or white gold ring or other piece over in your hands. In that case, you’ll likely see some jewelry stamps. If a piece is silver, it may contain a stamp with a series of three numbers that indicates the purity of the precious metal; if the numbers are “925,” the silver can be safely called sterling silver. On the other hand, a gold piece will most likely feature a stamp made up of two numbers and a “K, indicating the karat.

Jewelry Tips: Should You Buy Sterling Silver or White Gold?

Whether you’re shopping for a more casual piece of jewelry for everyday wear or making a once-in-a-lifetime jewelry purchase, such as a pair of wedding rings, you want to be sure you’re buying the perfect option for your needs.

Here’s what to consider when deciding between sterling silver and white gold.

Budget

Are you shopping with more of a luxury budget or a costume jewelry budget? There’s no shame in either. However, choosing sterling silver is the more affordable route. Both silver and white gold offer a beautiful, shiny white appearance, but silver is available at a lower price point.

Allergies

Do you (or whoever will be wearing the piece) have any nickel allergies? Both white gold and silver sometimes contain small quantities of nickel, as it’s one of the other metals commonly used to add durability to pure gold or pure silver. In addition to using nickel as an alloy metal, white gold pieces typically feature rhodium plating.

Maintenance

As mentioned, of the two metals, sterling silver does require more care and cleaning. In contrast, jewelry made from a white gold alloy is relatively durable and typically only requires some repair to the rhodium plating every several years.

Appearance

Of course, most won’t even notice the difference in appearance between sterling silver and white gold unless they look closely. However, do note that both white gold and sterling silver are pretty standard. If you’re looking for a precious metal that stands out, consider other options, like rose gold or something from the platinum family.

Jewelry Tips

FAQs: White Gold vs. Silver

Have more questions? TL;DR? Here’s a quick rundown of everything you need to know.

Is silver or white gold more durable?

White gold is more durable than silver. While silver and gold are soft metals, when you take a soft metal in its pure form and combine it with other metals, you get an overall more durable precious metal, as is the case with white gold.

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Is silver or white gold more expensive?

White gold is typically more expensive than silver.

Can you tell the difference between silver and white gold jewelry?

While those with a trained eye can spot the minute differences between these two metals’ hues, the average person won’t be able to tell much of a difference between silver and white gold jewelry at all.

Whatever Jewelry You Buy, Protect It with Comprehensive Jewelry Insurance

No matter your favorite precious metal or whether you prefer the more affordable sterling silver or the durable white gold, keep your jewelry safe from life’s many accidents by investing in budget-friendly special jewelry insurance. Covering the gaps in your homeowners’, renters’, and travelers’ insurance, jewelry insurance like that offered by BriteCo will help you recover the value of your favorite pieces in the event of mysterious loss, damage, theft, and other unforeseen circumstances.

Learn more and get your quick quote today!

Also Check:

What is the Difference Between Platinum and Silver?
Can Sterling Silver Get Wet? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance
What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry? | BriteCo Jewelry Insurance

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Rachel's expertise is further enhanced by her distinction as a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA), equipping her with exceptional knowledge in gem identification and grading. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.