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Article: Sterling Silver vs Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

sterling silver vs gold jewellery

Sterling Silver vs Gold Jewellery: Which Is Better?

When deciding between sterling silver and gold jewellery, it is critical to understand their pros, cons, and differences before making a buying decision. Our blog post goes into detail about these two popular types of jewellery.

We’ll cover the pros, cons, and differences between sterling silver and gold jewellery. At the end, we’ll provide you with recommendations on which one would best suit you!


What is Sterling Silver Jewellery?

925 sterling silver cuban chain

Sterling silver refers to the composition of silver against other metals. Jewellery made from sterling silver usually consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. This is why sterling silver is also referred to as "925 sterling silver." Other metals that can be present in sterling silver include copper and nickel.


Pros

  • Value: Silver is considered a precious metal. Because of this, sterling silver jewellery is considered to be more valuable than jewellery made from non-precious metals like brass or stainless steel. It tends to retain or even increase in value over time.
  • Easy to Repair: Silver is an extremely soft metal. Jewellery made from 99.9% silver or 92.5% silver is easy to repair because of this.
  • Appearance: Sterling silver has a beautiful bright white lustre that is unique to silver. This makes sterling silver jewellery an attractive accessory to wear.
  • Hypoallergenic: Sterling silver comprises 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. These other metals include copper and nickel. However, the amount is so small that jewellery made of sterling silver is generally hypoallergenic.
  • Affordable: Compared to other precious metals like gold, platinum, or rhodium, sterling silver is quite affordable. Producing and purchasing jewellery made out of sterling silver is quite reasonable from a cost perspective.

Cons

  • More Prone to Tarnishing and Fading: Sterling silver jewellery tends to tarnish over time due to exposure to air and moisture. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help prevent this.
  • Durability: Pure silver is softer than other precious metals like gold or rhodium. Because of this, sterling silver jewellery tends to be much more malleable than jewellery made out of other precious metals.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Sterling silver jewellery tarnishes and loses its colour much faster than gold, white gold, or platinum jewellery. To keep your sterling silver jewellery shiny, you will need to clean it regularly. For some, this constant maintenance may be annoying.

 

What is Gold Jewellery?

gold cartier bangle

Gold jewellery is any type of jewellery that is mainly made using gold or alloys of gold. Gold jewellery comes in a range of purities measured in karats. The most common purities for gold jewellery include 10 karat, 14 karat, 18 karat, and 24 karat. Gold jewellery is measured in karats, which indicate the percentage of gold used for the piece.

To work out the purity of your gold jewellery, simply take the karat of your gold jewellery pieces, divide by 24 (24 karats is pure gold), and multiply by 100 to get the percentage of gold used. So for an 18k gold jewellery piece, 75% of the gold is made up of pure gold, while the other 25% is made up of metal alloys. Gold tends to be alloyed with other metals to increase its durability.


Pros

  • Value: Gold is considered a precious metal. Because of this, gold jewellery has a high perceived value. At the same time, gold jewellery tends to retain and even increase in value in some cases.
  • Easy to Repair: Depending on the karat, gold jewellery is easy to repair. This is because gold is a soft precious metal.
  • Appearance: Gold jewellery has a timeless appeal and is considered a symbol of luxury and wealth.
  • Hypoallergenic: Lower karats of gold tend to have greater nickel content; however, karats of gold that are 18 karats and above are very hypoallergenic as they have less copper, silver, or nickel.
  • Resistant to Tarnishing and Fading - gold as a metal doesn't tarnish or fade. This makes jewellery that is made using gold extremely low maintenance and highly durable. 
  • Durable: Gold is highly durable and resistant to tarnishing. This makes it a great material to make jewellery from. However, the durability of your gold jewellery will depend on the karats. Jewellery made from higher karats of gold will be less durable than lower karats of gold.

Cons

  • Less Hypoallergenic: Depending on the karat of gold and the quality of gold, usually gold has a higher percentage of nickel.
  • Expensive: Gold is one of the more expensive precious metals. Because of this, jewellery made out of gold can be very expensive. The cost of your gold jewellery will depend on the purity of the gold used. Lower karats of gold tend to be more affordable than higher karats of gold.
  • Softness: Pure gold jewellery (24 karats) is very soft and malleable. At this purity, gold jewellery is more prone to scratching and bending.

Differences between Sterling Silver and Gold Jewellery

  • Composition: Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Pure gold is measured in karats, with 24 karats being 100% pure gold. Gold jewellery is often mixed with other metals like copper or zinc to increase its strength and durability.
  • Colour: Sterling silver jewellery has a bright white lustre. Gold jewellery can come in a variety of hues depending on its purity and can be alloyed with certain metals to make white gold and rose gold.
  • Price and Affordability: Sterling silver is more affordable than gold. Per gram, silver is more affordable than gold.
  • Durability: Sterling silver tends to be less durable than gold. It requires regular cleaning and maintenance to maintain its appearance and prevent tarnishing. Gold is highly resistant to tarnishing and usually requires minimal maintenance.
  • Hypoallergenic Properties: Gold jewellery tends to be more hypoallergenic than silver jewellery. People with sensitive skin may experience skin allergies due to the alloys used in sterling silver, although this is rare.
  • Value: Gold jewellery has a greater value than sterling silver because gold is a rarer precious metal.

Sterling Silver vs Gold Jewellery: Which is Better?

Whether sterling silver or gold jewellery is better for you will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and styling needs.

Sterling silver jewellery is a great option for someone looking for jewellery made out of precious metal at an affordable price. It is also a great option for someone looking for a durable and hypoallergenic silver piece of jewellery.

Gold jewellery is a great option for someone looking for a more luxurious jewellery piece and has a larger budget. It is also a great option for someone who doesn’t want to worry about having to clean and regularly maintain their jewellery for it to continue looking great.


Conclusion

After comparing sterling silver vs gold jewellery, you should be aware of the pros, cons, and differences of each.

The choice between sterling silver and gold jewellery depends on your personal preferences, budget, and styling needs.

Jewellery made out of sterling silver is affordable, durable and hypoallergenic. Whilst jewellery made out of gold has a higher perceived value, tends to be more resistant to tarnishing and requires less cleaning and maintenance. 

At the end of the day, you should choose whichever one you can afford as well as whichever type makes you feel most confident. 

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