Gold Vs. Silver Jewelry — Which Is Right For Me?

gold vs silver jewelry guideIt’s hard to go wrong when deciding on gold vs. silver jewelry. Both are classic, versatile, and always on-trend. Despite their timeless appeal, most people still tend to gravitate towards one over the other. But if you’re asking yourself, “does gold or silver look better on me?” — you’re not alone.

Gold and silver have equally beautiful but unique characteristics — making each a worthy choice to complement any ensemble. So when it comes to you, which jewelry is better: gold or silver? 

Figuring out whether gold vs. silver jewelry suits you best depends on tone, wardrobe, and overall aesthetic. We’re bringing our industry expertise to help you make the best choice!

gold vs silver jewelry guide

Choosing Gold vs. Silver Jewelry by Your Skin Tone

Your complexion plays a big part in helping you determine which colors and accessories look best. Wearing the wrong ones can cause elements of your outfit to clash — you wouldn’t want that, right?

The most traditional method for choosing the best metal is considering your skin tone. First, you’ll want to determine if you have warm, cool, or neutral skin. 

Here’s how:

  • Hold out your arm in front of you with the palm facing up.

  • Look at the veins on your forearm.

  • If your veins appear greenish, you have a warm undertone; Bluish veins indicate a cool undertone; If they look purple, you have neutral skin. 

So what skin tone suits gold? Most agree that warm undertones look best with traditional yellow-gold. It’s thought to brighten warm skin and highlight the bronze in these complexions, whereas silver can make them appear more muted.

In cooler-toned complexions, gold can potentially draw out redness. Therefore, silver usually fares better, with most cool-toned folks agreeing that silver enhances their features and draws attention away from redness. 

That’s not to say you can’t rock gold jewelry on pale skin. Some types of gold make perfect alternatives to silver (more on that later). 

Finally, consider yourself lucky if the universe blessed you with a neutral undertone. Both gold and silver suit your natural complexion beautifully! 

Still not sure how to choose between gold or silver jewelry for your skin? Our exclusive jewelry chart for skin tones can help:

gold vs silver jewelry chart by skin tones

Why Choose Gold Jewelry?

There’s no denying the prestige of gold jewelry; it’s been around for centuries, and everyone from Cleopatra to Meghan Markle has rocked it. The appeal is that gold comes in many styles, from boho to minimal to glam. 

So who can wear gold? Ultimately, anyone! Its versatility makes it easy to find a piece that fits almost any aesthetic (and budget).  

On that note, let’s explore the vast types of gold jewelry for you to consider! 

Stylish Green Faceted Amethyst Bracelet in 18K Rose Gold -Pictured above: 18K rose gold necklace with faceted prasiolite

Different Types of Gold Jewelry

When it comes to gold, you’ve got plenty of options depending on what you’re looking for. 

Let’s start with the most common gold colors:

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is usually what comes to mind when you think of the word “gold.” Its purest form (24K) is too soft for jewelry use. Therefore, pure gold is often alloyed (mixed with other metals) to make it more durable.

When alloyed, yellow gold comes in different color variations. For instance, a lighter or slightly olive tint suggests a higher silver content, while a darker or reddish tint suggests higher copper content.

White Gold

White gold is made of yellow gold, white metals, and occasionally copper. The less gold and copper there is, the whiter it appears. 

White-gold jewelry on cool skin tones is similar to the aesthetic created by silver jewelry. However, it’s stronger and more durable. As a result, it’s also more expensive. 

Rose Gold 

Rose gold forms from gold, copper, and silver. It gets its pinkish tint from its copper content. Depending on each metal's content amount, its rosy tint can vary from shiny and bright to darker or more muted.

Black Gold

Technically, black gold doesn’t exist. However, jewelers will give gold jewelry a black surface coating and dub it black gold.

Now, not all gold is fully gold. Some gold jewelry is simply more affordable base metals coated with a layer of gold. Understanding how these techniques impact jewelry pieces will help you choose between gold vs. silver jewelry.

gold vs silver jewelry - gold-plated ring with opals and cubic zirconiaPictured above: Gold-plated ring with opals and cubic zirconia

The most common techniques for making gold jewelry are:

Solid Gold 

Solid gold (often dubbed “real gold”) is the purest form of gold you can buy. You’ll typically find it sold in ‘karats’ with a number referring to the gold’s purity. The most popular types of solid gold for jewelry are 9K, 14K, and 18K.

Solid gold is one of the most valuable resources worldwide and can last forever if cared for properly


Gold-filled jewelry has a base metal coated with gold alloy via mechanical bonding, giving it the appearance of solid gold. This melts the gold into the base metal, making it harder to rub off.

Of all the gold coatings, this is considered the best quality, potentially lasting decades.


Vermeil refers to the technique of plating sterling silver with gold alloy (of at least 10K purity). It’s made by suspending sterling silver in a liquid gold solution and electrically bonding the gold plating to the silver.

Although sterling silver is more valuable than the base metals used in many gold-filled or gold-plated pieces, vermeil generally costs less because of its lower gold content. These jewelry pieces eventually tarnish as the gold layer usually wears off.


Like vermeil, gold-plated jewelry is produced via electroplating. Unlike vermeil, the gold-plated layer is significantly thinner and placed over brass or copper (rather than silver).

You’ll often find gold plating in costume jewelry not designed to last long. However, it’s an ideal type of gold for trying different trends.

Phew! That’s a lot of golden intel. 

gold vs silver - solid yellow gold earringsPictured above: 9K solid gold stud earrings

Pros of Gold Jewelry

With regards to gold vs. silver jewelry, gold has a few advantages worth keeping in mind:


In addition to being the most malleable metal, pure gold doesn’t oxidize or corrode. There are also very few acids that can damage gold. Solid gold doesn’t rust, tarnish, or fade — perfect for everyday wear.


With gold being available in many colors, it suits various skin tones and styles. 


While solid gold is more expensive than silver, it’s also a wise investment. There has always been a global market and high demand for gold jewelry, making it valuable and profitable for any potential reselling.


Since solid gold doesn’t tarnish, it requires less routine care. It’s also resistant to scratches and withstands heat and water better than silver.

Cons of Gold Jewelry

On the flip side, gold has a few potential cons that might make you rethink splurging:


For one, solid gold garners a much higher price tag than silver, which isn’t necessarily accessible for everyone. 


While solid gold is highly durable, gold-filled and gold-plated jewelry have limited lifespans. 

But not all that glitters is gold — sometimes, it’s silver!

gold vs silver jewelry - sterling silver chain necklacePictured above: Rectangular Hollow Link 925 Sterling Silver Necklace

Why Choose Silver Jewelry?

Like gold, silver has been around since antiquity, topping trends for centuries. Its scarcity even made it a hotter commodity than gold in ancient Egypt!

Today, silver is a stunning compliment to dazzling diamonds and eveningwear — making glistening jewels the center of the show. It is an earthy, organic metal that easily tones down to fit more casual aesthetics seamlessly.

Before you pick between gold vs. silver jewelry, let’s shine some light on the different types of silver you might come across! 

Different Types of Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry might not provide the same selection as gold, but that’s not to say there isn’t some variety. There are many different types of silver jewelry you could get your hands on!

First, let’s go down the main silver grades:

Pure/Fine Silver

This is the purest form of silver you can buy. It’s hypoallergenic and 99.9% pure silver.

Unlike other silvers, pure silver is moderately resistant to tarnish, softer, and a brighter, silvery-white. 

Sterling Silver (.925)

Sterling silver is the most popular silver used in jewelry. While less bright than pure silver, it’s still lustrous, beautiful, and hypoallergenic.  

Traditionally composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, it’s prone to tarnish over time without proper upkeep.

Non-Tarnish Silver 

Made of at least 92.5% silver content, this type of silver doesn’t quickly tarnish because the remaining copper is substituted with other metals. 

Despite being marketed as “non-tarnish,” a more correct term is “tarnish-resistant.”

Popular non-tarnish alloys are:

  • Argentium 

  • Silvadium 

  • Sterlium

  • Sterilite 

Similar to some gold, silver jewelry isn’t always crafted from a single, solid alloy. Sometimes, it’s a less expensive metal coated with a layer of silver. 


Silver-filled jewelry is made by mechanically bonding a thick layer of silver to a base metal (commonly brass).

This is the best and thickest type of silver surface coating available. Proper care can prolong the time before the outer silver coating wears off.


Silver-plated pieces are made by dipping a base metal into a liquid silver plating solution, giving them a thin outer layer of silver.

Since the plating is so thin, it rubs off rather quickly, revealing the base metal and making it susceptible to tarnish. As a result, it’s not ideal for everyday wear. 

Moving on, what are the pros and cons of silver?

gold vs silver - peruvian sterling silver braceletPictured above: Peruvian Sterling silver bracelet

Pros of Silver Jewelry

Some advantages silver has over gold are:


Despite being a precious metal, silver is considerably more affordable than real gold. Why? There’s simply a much larger supply of silver than gold worldwide. 


Since silver is less expensive than gold, it’s a great choice for experimenting with different trends and styles. 

Cons of Silver Jewelry

Some disadvantages silver has over gold are:

Prone to Damage

Silver is often more prone to wear and tear. It can be easily scratched, bent, or broken, especially if you wear your pieces daily.

Lack of Versatility

Not only does silver’s fragility limit your styling options (i.e., layering necklaces), but unlike gold, it typically only comes in one color.

Little Resell Value

Silver doesn’t garner the same investment value of solid gold.

gold vs silver - sterling silver earring setPictured above: Sterling silver earring set with cubic zirconia and synthetic blue sapphire gemstones

Key Differences of Gold vs. Silver Jewelry

Let’s summarize the big points to consider:

  • Value

In terms of gold vs. silver price, gold might be a wise investment, but silver fares far better in price. 

  • Versatility 

The wide assortment of colors for gold jewelry makes it more versatile. 

  • Durability

Gold fares far better in terms of durability than silver, which usually always tarnishes.

Gold is for you if you don’t mind spending a little extra for jewelry that stands the test of time and makes a beautiful heirloom to pass down. If the economy crashes and markets get volatile, gold jewelry is an investment you can leverage to get back on your feet.

Silver is for you if you love changing styles frequently and don’t mind spending less for something that isn’t as long-lasting. If you sport different jewelry daily, you can find plenty of bold and beautiful sterling silver pieces at affordable costs.

gold vs silver - gold ring with pink diamonds

Gold vs. Silver Jewelry — What Color Should I Wear?

The best way to choose between gold vs. silver jewelry is to take both for a spin and see which you like best!

Now more than ever is the perfect time to break out of archaic conventions and step into your style. If you can’t choose, who says you have to? 

Take a ride on the wild side and mix those metals by wearing gold and silver rings, necklaces, and earrings all at once! When it comes to jewelry, you make your own rules

Ready to shop? Browse our collection of gold and silver jewelry!

Was this article helpful?

Search the Fashion Encyclopedia

Buying Jewelry

Buying Jewelry

Everything you need to know about Jewelry
103 articles
Jewelry How To's

Jewelry How To's

Ever wondered how to...
22 articles
Trending Jewelry News

Trending Jewelry News

What's new in the world of all things sparkly
43 articles