White Gold vs. Silver: What You Need to Know

White is a versatile color. This is especially true when it comes to choosing jewelry. Whether you’re going for a simple look or an elegant one, white always seems like the perfect way to accentuate any outfit.

Some prefer white gold over silver. Although both look similar at first, it takes a discerning eye to spot the difference. But with their uncanny resemblance to each other, how can you tell the difference between silver and white gold? This article hopes to enlighten you on that.

What is White Gold?

Most of you may be more familiar with yellow gold–the natural color we associate with gold. However, gold has many variants, including rose gold and white gold. Whereas yellow gold has a more pronounced appearance that you can recognize easily, white gold, on the other hand, is more discreet. This is also one of the reasons why it’s popular. White gold is sought after because of its color, desired, and preferred by many.

As you may already know, pure gold is a very soft metal. This is why it is usually mixed with other materials that can provide strength and durability. In the case of white gold, it is commonly combined with white metals like palladium, nickel, platinum, copper, and even silver.

White gold is not a natural metal. It’s an alloy, a combination of metals. This mix can be altered depending on the jewelry’s karats or gold purity. A piece of 24-karat gold jewelry is made out of pure gold. Everything else under this value means that the gold is already mixed with other metals.

For white gold, you’ll have the option to choose from 10, 14, 18, or 21k. Naturally, 21k is the closest you can get to pure gold if you’re looking at white gold jewelry.

Take a look at one of our 18k white gold diamond jewelry reviews to know its characteristics.

What Makes White Gold Shine?

One of the selling points of white gold is its shine. Although at first glance you might think this is because of pure gold and other combined materials, it is attributed to rhodium; a metal plating applied to all white gold jewelry.

The thin layer of rhodium also serves as an excellent addition to improve the strength and durability of your jewelry. These materials make up for its white metal plating, which shines like a mirror, making it look like silver at first glance.

What is Silver?

A lot of people are still having difficulties in choosing white vs. silver. Like white gold, silver is also mixed with other materials like copper when making jewelry. This combination makes up sterling silver.

Combining silver with other materials enhances the strength of your jewelry. This also ensures that your accessory is durable enough to be used for a long time.

Apart from being crafted into jewelry, silver is also used to create coins, decorative pieces, and even electrical wires. Silver is widely popular for its thermal and electrical conducting properties.

In 2018, industrial use was cited as the top reason for silver’s demand worldwide. This is according to Statista’s data on the global market for silver. Meanwhile, silver used for jewelry contributes to only a fifth of the world’s demand–a considerably high percentage for jewelry’s composition.

If you’ve bought silver jewelry before, you may be familiar with the stamp “925.” This means the jewelry piece is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals.

Take note, however, that although silver resists atmospheric oxidation, it can still tarnish, so proper care should be observed. Unlike gold, silver jewelry is also more abundant, making it more accessible to people.

How Do You Know It’s White Gold?

As a buyer, you can’t always examine the composition of your jewelry, especially if you have zero background on it. Identifying white vs. silver is one of the most common challenges in jewelry selection. After all, the two almost look alike.

You can always ask the seller for its legitimacy. Still, it’s best to know the basic distinguishing factors of white gold firsthand if you want to learn the best ways how to tell if its white gold from silver, you can refer to the table from DifferenceBetween.net below for comparison.


You can compare white gold vs. silver based on its brightness. Silver looks brighter than white gold, giving it a more sheen. This is helpful in matching it with several gemstones that can make them pop more. Its cool undertones are also its advantage.

White gold, on the other hand, has a more subtle brilliance, giving off a mirrored look and finish that is popular in rings and other accessories.


Rhodium can be applied to both silver and white gold, giving the jewelry that extra shine. However, it is usually used in white gold. This is why white gold accessories are more susceptible to a yellowish tinge after some time. To prevent this, constant re-plating should be observed to preserve its original white brilliance.

Over time, silver also tarnishes. At some point, it can even turn to black if left completely unattended. Some factors to consider are moisture, humidity, and air pollutants that can mix with other metals in sterling silver, leaving discoloration along the way.


People usually prefer silver to white gold for everyday use. This is because white gold and other gold jewelry, in general, are more prone to nicks and scratches. They are also bendable and reshapable, which could be a double-edged sword during the production and selling phase. However, it can yield a good design for a ring with filigree, ornate patterns from fine white gold wires.

On the other hand, silver is harder and, therefore, less durable than white gold. It is difficult for jewelers to craft silver it into different accessories. They also face difficulties in engraving it with fine details, so usually, silver has a more direct and compact design, which people can use daily.


Because of its abundance, silver is cheaper than white gold. It is perfect for a first gift for friends, lovers, and even family. Silver is also not classified as an “investment metal,” meaning you can’t pawn it as easy as gold. It can take you multiple tries to be able to find a buyer interested in purchasing your secondhand silver accessories.

Although the price for gold fluctuates often, it still has a higher monetary value than silver because of its rarity. It also depends on the degrees of purity your white gold jewelry has. Indeed, it’s a good investment, but maintaining it is also costly. Regular polishing and re-plating are just some of the activities you should keep in mind in preserving white gold.


Since silver tarnishes quickly, it needs more care than white gold. To avoid this, you need to polish and clean your silver jewelry regularly. Store it in a place away from heat and moisture. On the other hand, white gold requires less maintenance. However, this doesn’t mean that you can just stack anywhere. If you want to keep your white gold jewelry for a long time, you need to invest in a good jewelry box.

These are just some of the main differences between white gold and silver. Now that you know these distinctions, you can have an informed decision on purchasing whichever of the two you prefer.

Which is Better Silver or White Gold?

The beauty of jewelry selection lies in the fact that it all depends on you–your style, aesthetic, and even your reason for buying it. It is highly subjective to your needs and preferences.

To give you insights, most of the deciding factors in the white vs. silver comparison boils down to pricing. Silver is cheaper than white gold. That’s a fact considered by many. Another thing to take into account is quality. Which do you think would last longer? Which looks better too?

When it comes to rings, you can tell the two apart by their luster. Sterling silver can look too shiny, while white gold looks more sophisticated. You can better recognize this if they are set against a diamond or gemstone.

Another thing that you could look into while deciding which jewelry to buy is your reason for purchase. What is it for? Will it be for everyday use, or does it signify something more? Frequently, people associate the price of the jewelry to its value, so make sure not to fall for that.

A good piece of jewelry doesn’t solely rely on its price. Choosing high-quality jewelry, for one, depends on its purpose too.

White gold is preferred for special occasions, such as weddings. It adheres to the simplicity and elegance of white while offering an additional punch. This extra something might just be the deciding factor for your proposal, so make sure you make the most out of this rare event. An excellent example of an engagement ring is Gordon’s Jewelers’ 1 CT. T.W. Pear-Shaped Diamond Double Frame Engagement Ring in 18K White Gold. Check out our full review of this ring here.

A piece of jewelry is a good investment. This is tried and tested over the years. It is usually regarded as a valuable tradition being passed on from one generation to another in many cultures today. Yet even without it, they are also symbols of beauty and elegance.

White gold pieces have the advantage of being a timeless beauty while also looking at it as an investment. On silver’s end, it tends to suit necklaces and bracelets for a simpler look.

If you’re still having difficulty choosing between white gold vs. silver, why don’t you try experimenting? Maybe you can even combine both.

Can You Wear Sterling Silver With White Gold?

Pieces of jewelry have become a fashion statement. It’s been used as an embellishment even as early as ancient times. Now people wear jewelry because of the meaning they give them. For some people, it represents their own personal style. Others wear it as a lucky charm, often from family heirlooms. Whatever the reason for wearing jewelry, maybe, it is a trend that will stay for a long time.

Many people have taken this hobby seriously that they would go through training and learn appraisal to make sure they’re getting the most out of their pieces. If you share the same passion, you can start your collection by buying used jewelry. This is a good opportunity for those who want to start small and build their jewelry stack. Aside from this, there are more reasons to buy used jewelry, such as its wide selection, rich history, and sustainability.

According to jewelry appraisers and fashion stylists, you can actually combine white gold and silver jewelry—with caution. Thankfully, fashion is all about self-expression. People are free to experiment to pursue their individual styles, with some of the recent trends taking cue from challenging norms and traditions.

Also, if you’re treating jewelry as investments, you need to take care of them. This covers regularly polishing and maintaining them to ensure that you can preserve their brilliance for a long time.

Final Thoughts

Silver and gold have a long withstanding race for popularity, with each having achieved their own following. Some people prefer white gold’s classic and refined semblance while others go for silver for its versatility and durability.

From this guide, we saw how silver is cheaper and brighter but needs extra care for it to last long. On the other hand, white gold is more durable but more expensive. We also saw how cost remains a top criterion people consider when choosing between the two. Yet it also showed us that it could also depend on the reason for purchase and the meaning it signifies.

Whatever the reason may be, one thing remains true: jewelry are pieces of art and innovation that can stand the test of time. Between white gold and silver, no competition exists if the criterion is your preference.