White gold and sterling silver are two of the most popular choices for jewellery and for good reason. These precious metals are valued for their durability, lustrous appearance, and versatility. However, despite their similarities, there are several key differences between them that impact their use in jewellery.
By considering factors, including their colour, weight, cost, composition, durability, and maintenance requirements, you can make an informed decision when choosing between white gold and sterling silver for your next piece of jewellery.
What Is White Gold?
White gold is a highly popular metal alloy utilized in the creation of white gold jewellery. However, unlike other metals, white gold does not exist on its own. Instead, it is produced by blending pure gold with one or more white metals, including nickel, palladium, or silver, to achieve a silvery-white colour that resembles platinum. The amount of pure gold in white gold varies, but it is alloyed with other metals to enhance its durability, strength, and scratch resistance.
Similarly to yellow gold, white gold’s purity is determined by karats, most commonly 14 or 18. Karats are divided by 24 to denote the percentage of pure gold within white gold. For example, 18 karats divided by 24 equals 75% thus 18 karat white gold jewellery is made up of 75% pure gold and 25% other metals such as nickel, palladium, or silver as mentioned above.
What Is Silver and Sterling Silver?
Silver is a popular alloy used in sterling silver jewellery. Unlike white gold, silver does exist on its own however when pure is too soft to be used alone in the creation of jewellery. As silver is too soft, it is more common to find sterling silver which is made by combining 92.5% pure silver with 7.5% other metals, typically copper or zinc. The resulting alloy is more durable and scratch resistant than pure silver.
The term "sterling" is often used to indicate the quality of the silver used in an item. To be considered sterling silver, the alloy must contain at least 92.5% pure silver.
The Similarities and Differences Between White Gold and Sterling Silver
White gold and sterling silver are two popular metals used in jewellery-making, and while they may appear similar at first glance, there are actually many distinct differences between the two.
Colour and Weight
Both colour and weight differentiate white gold from sterling silver. White gold has a brilliant and bright white-looking shine whereas sterling silver’s shine is more grey in colour. White gold is also a denser metal than sterling silver making it feel heavier in comparison.
One of the main differences between white gold and sterling silver is the cost. There are four main reasons why white gold is more expensive than sterling silver:
- There is a greater supply of silver available than gold making it significantly less expensive.
- The demand for silver is typically less than it is for gold as gold is viewed as more valuable and prestigious. With higher demand generally comes higher costs.
- Gold is more difficult and expensive to mine than silver.
- Gold holds symbolic value in many cultures and societies around the world.
As previously mentioned, white gold is composed of a blend of gold and other metals, including nickel, palladium, or silver. Sterling silver is composed of a blend of silver mixed with other metals, such as copper or zinc.
White gold jewellery is usually coated with a layer of rhodium plating, which gives it a shiny, silvery-white appearance. And, although its shine endures for an extended period, this plating can wear off over time, leading to a loss of brilliant shine. To maintain the shine of white gold, it's recommended to have the rhodium plating reapplied every few years by a professional jeweller.
In contrast, sterling silver jewellery requires more frequent cleaning and polishing to prevent tarnishing. However, this cleaning can easily be done at home with a polishing cloth or using household items like dish soap, cornstarch, or lemon juice. While silver can lose its shine over time, with proper care and maintenance, you can keep your silver jewellery looking brilliant forever.
White gold is more durable than sterling silver. This is due to the combination of metals used to create white gold, which provides it with its characteristic strength and durability. Additionally, the rhodium plating, adds a shiny, protective layer to the surface of the metal which helps to protect it from scratches.
Silver and White Gold at KORITE
Despite their differences, both white gold and sterling silver are stunning metals that are commonly used in the creation of high-end jewellery pieces. White gold is an excellent choice for those seeking a long-lasting, special piece that can be worn every day. On the other hand, sterling silver offers a more affordable option that can still last a lifetime if properly cared for.
Whether you are searching for white gold or sterling silver jewellery to complement your ammolite, KORITE has an impressive range of options available for every occasion. Additionally, all of our jewellery, whether crafted from white gold or sterling silver, comes with a lifetime guarantee.