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Gold vs. Silver Jewelry

Gold vs. Silver Jewelry

At a Glance

Gold jewelry is rare and desirable while resisting tarnish and serving as a possible investment vehicle for the future. Silver jewelry is available at a fraction of the cost. Although it is quite beautiful, it lacks some of gold’s properties.

Silver and gold are the major precious metal commodities in the world market today. Beauty and volatile price points make gold and silver highly attractive to collectors as well as investors. In fact, in some of the Asian countries the demand for jewelry made from gold and/or silver increases manifold during the festive season when a number of events and weddings take place. However, silver has always enjoyed a lower profile than gold. Though it is not as exclusive as gold, it is definitely a convenient choice for many due to various reasons. It is always regarded that both gold and silver jewelry are good choices as they have different properties and aesthetic value. If you have the means then you can collect both the types of jewelry for your collection. But there are certain key differences which separate these two metals from each other.


Pictured at top: 14k White Gold Rope Chain

The basic color of gold jewelry is yellow while that of silver jewelry is gray but there is more to their appearances than just the basic colors. The color of gold jewelry depends on the metal’s purity; as other metals are added, the color of gold becomes more pale while the jewelry becomes more durable. Silver, on the other hand, is less chemically inert than gold. New silver is bright white, but silver jewelry worn every day will gradually fade into a soft gray color if the tarnish isn’t regularly removed. In places such as India, the demand for gold is so incredibly high that extreme price swings are seen during certain parts of the year. When the weather is nice, thoughts turn to marriage — and no Indian bride is complete unless she’s adorned from head to toe in gold.


In plain terms gold jewelry is substantially more expensive than silver jewelry. The increased price is due to the rarity and durability of the yellow metal. Sterling silver, on the other hand, will undergo wear and tear over the years and the gloss gradually fades away. The material can get tarnished over time and may cause allergic reactions for an unfortunate few. These are some of the factors which are responsible for shooting up the price of gold over sterling silver, but the primary factor is the global economy; during times of economic strife, gold is seen as a “safe haven” for protecting one’s savings from inflation. The price of gold multiplied during the global economic crisis of the late 2000s and has never recovered.


It is a known fact that gold has more durability than silver. Gold does not tarnish, and its buttery smooth appearance does not diminish with the passage of time. However, both gold and silver are reasonably durable as both are precious metals. Sterling silver is actually 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy and this makes silver very durable for daily and constant wear. Proper care must be taken of silver as it is susceptible to tarnish. To keep it shining you can just clean it with soft cloth and water and salt. On the other hand, it is very difficult to take care of gold as it gets scratched easily. If the gold is of higher karat then care must be taken not to bend the metal. Chemical “dips” are available that can easily remove tarnish, discoloration and oils from both gold and silver.


You need to check the jewelry for certain markings in order to be sure of its purity. Sterling silver will have a marking of ‘925’ or the word ‘sterling’ will be inscribed on it. On the other hand, Gold jewelry will be marked with karat which defines the purity of gold. 18K gold is 75% pure and 14K gold is 58% pure. Regardless of the type of jewelry you buy, remember that hallmarks don’t tell the entire story. It’s not uncommon to find fake hallmarked jewelry that contains no precious metal at all, so make sure you buy yours from a reputable dealer.