Silver vs. Gold: A matter of taste

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Gold offers a realm of options (rose gold, white gold, and so forth) while silver tends to make a bolder statement


The option of wearing silver or gold is about what’s right for the occasion, outfit, and mood.

Gold jewelry tends to be more understated, more delicate, and more refined. Gold is the right material for a delicate necklace, a restrained ring, or a dainty brooch. Many jewelers pair their best gemstones with either gold or platinum, reflecting the intrinsic value of each.

The wide realm of gold offers ample options. White gold, a relative newcomer, has been around since the 1920s. White gold pairs beautifully with diamonds and enhances their sparkle. Rich yellow gold has a regal appeal, reminiscent of the treasures of the kings and queens of Ancient Egypt. Yellow gold’s rich, buttery tones work well with warmer skin tones, and provide vivid contrast with colored gemstones. “With (regard to) the trend of flesh-colored and peach dresses, gold is the best choice,” says Jacqui Stafford, style expert, fashion editor and TV personality. Pink and rose gold function well as accents on white or yellow gold pieces, or worn with white and gold items. Rose gold’s soft tones add femininity and grace. One could also mix all three tones of gold, as Cartier did with its classic Trinity ring.

Silver is somewhat bolder than gold. It’s youthful, earthy and artsy. With silver, you can wear a chunky cuff without looking overburdened. Silver adds an air of youth, and choosing a contemporary design will add to that aura.

At the same time, silver is not limited to youth. “Silver jewelry flatters any woman with cool skin tones (skin with pink or blue undertones). It can be especially beautiful worn by someone with silver gray hair,” says Cynthia Sliwa, a certified professional image consultant in the Los Angeles area and co-author of the book Jewelry Savvy: What Every Jewelry Wearer Should Know.

“Jewelry, whether it’s gold or silver, trends off what’s on the runway. You’ll have a designer out there who puts out a look and it will only look good with silver jewelry,” says Susan Stein, owner of Fashion Connection and fashion editor at Palm Springs Life. “Some things work better with silver than gold, such as grays or anything having to do with the coloration or having a very clean look versus something that’s much more ornate.”

Jewelers are drawn to silver as a canvas for designs. “Sterling silver jewelry these days is rendered in a wide range of styles, from traditional tribal motifs to sleek modernistic designs,” says Sliwa. Silver designers can take architectural designs and make them a jewelry reality, as displayed in architect Frank Gehry’s line for Tiffany & Co. Other jewelry designers have run with an organic concept, such as John Hardy’s Palu collection, which is inspired by the textures of sea creatures in Bali. These designs work well because they need the scale that silver provides best.

-September 2012