What is better for an engagement ring — white gold or silver?
There's a lot to consider when choosing the perfect engagement ring, but one of your most significant decisions should be determining which metal is right for you. Silver and white gold may look similar at first glance, but there are many differences between these precious metals in terms of cost, what they’re made of and how they wear over time. Understanding the unique properties of each can help you narrow down your options and simplify your search for the perfect band.
Metal compositionWhite gold is a popular choice for jewellery due to its beautiful colour and durability. But what is white gold made of? White gold is an alloy or mixture of two metals: gold and nickel. The percentage of gold in the alloy can vary, but it is generally around 75%. The rest of the alloy combines nickel or other metals, such as silver or palladium. These different metals help to give white gold its bright colour and strength. In contrast, the most popular type of silver jewellery is sterling silver, which contains 92.5% pure silver. Since silver can be relatively soft and brittle, it is alloyed with other metals for greater strength and durability.
Cost and investment valueWhen choosing an engagement ring, couples often find themselves torn between the classic beauty of a sterling silver ring and the contemporary elegance of a white gold ring. While both options have their unique appeal, consider the cost and investment value before making your final decision. White gold may be the better choice regarding investment value as it is less likely to tarnish and dull its shine over time, meaning it will retain its value in the long run. Suppose you prefer the look of sterling silver but want the added durability of white gold. In that case, many affordable options use a white gold plating over a sterling silver base.
Visual appearanceBoth metals have a luxurious appearance but also some distinct differences. Due to its versatility and shine, white gold is often used in engagement rings and other pieces that feature diamonds or other precious stones. The metal has a bright, lustrous finish that makes the colour of stones appear more vibrant. On the other hand, sterling silver has a more muted greyish colour that some people may prefer. Over time, sterling silver engagement rings will also naturally oxidise and darken. This is a result of the silver reacting with sulphur in the air, forming a patina on the surface of the metal. While some people view this as a negative, many others see it as a sign of ageing and character. Many jewellery designers actively embrace oxidation to give their pieces an antique look.
Care and maintenanceCan you shower with white gold? Do white gold or silver rings last longer? These are some practical questions that couples in UK may ask when choosing an engagement ring. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid showering with white gold jewellery to minimise tarnishing. When it comes to durability, white gold is stronger than sterling silver. However, taking good care of your engagement ring is essential, no matter which material you choose. Here are a few tips for taking care of your white gold ring engagement ring:
- Avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, such as household cleaners or swimming pool chlorine
- Remove it before doing any activities that could damage the finish, such as gardening, painting, or exercising
- Clean it regularly with mild soap and warm water. Dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth to prevent water spots from forming
- If the ring starts to look dull, you can use a jewellery polishing cloth to restore its shine
- Avoid exposing it to sulphurous substances, such as eggs or garlic
- Store it in an airtight container when you're not wearing it
- Regularly clean it with a mild soap and water solution