Top 10 ways to distinguish white gold from silver visually and at home: characteristics of metals, the main criteria for differences

If previously it was more common to find products made of yellow/red gold and silverThe number of platinum-group alloy jewelry items is rapidly expanding today. And in appearance, some of the types are similar. We are talking about white goldThe metal is the same color, often making it impossible to tell the difference. Both metals are the same color, which often makes it impossible to distinguish products from each other. But there is a huge difference between them - the composition, which determines the properties of the materials. In order not to make a mistake when choosing, you should know how to distinguish white gold from silver. To do this, consider ways, choose one of the 10 common options.

White gold and silver: characteristics of white metals. What are the differences - the main criteria for distinction

White gold is alloywhich contains a significant portion of Au directly. The composition may also include other alloying components: nickel, platinum, palladium, copper. The level of additives is different, which determines the properties of the metal.

Depending on the composition, the color of the alloy differs: greenish (if silver predominates), light yellow, rich yellow, gray, and white. The metal acquires hardness due to alloying additives. But it is always white on the outside thanks to the rhodium coating.

In comparison, silver is often found in nature without additives. In this case, the metal is called a nugget; it does not need to be extracted from ore like gold. But there are different kinds of natural minerals other than pure. They contain impurities. The main difference between white gold and silver is the hardness.

Read also
Melting temperature of gold: the effect of the alloy (585 or 999) and ligatures; the important process of cleaning gold before melting and melting the metal at home
The difference between white gold and silver
White gold and silver rings

Other signs:

  • Silver jewelry should not be exposed to acid, by comparison, an alloy based on platinum group metals will not change color in such an environment;
  • silver items are more susceptible to deformation;
  • silver has almost no shine, while the alloy containing platinum group metals has a shine.

Top 10 ways - how to tell white gold from silver at home

It is practically impossible to check the strength of metals when you are in a jewelry store to choose from. The only way is to evaluate the appearance. But this does not always give the right result. So, it is necessary to use other techniques.

Some of the available methods are easy to implement and are used at home and in the store, but there are also those that are feasible only under certain conditions.

Appearance - visual difference between color and shine to the eye

It is not difficult to understand how to distinguish between silver and white gold. To do this, pay attention to external signs:

  • color: silver has a cold steel hue, while gold with platinum group metals in its composition has a white hue;
  • brilliance: silver does not shine as brightly as a gold-based metal.

Hardness test

Silver hardness test
Checking the authenticity of silver by yourself

Silver and gold jewelry look almost identical in appearance, but they are different in structure, hardness, and plasticity. Accordingly, they are checked not visually, but by their physical properties. They conduct an experiment: they conventionally draw a line on a sheet of paper, silver will leave a trace, as it is softer than gold.

The sound of metal as it falls

Metals make different sounds when they fall from different heights, so it is necessary to create the same conditions for testing different jewelry. Jewelry made of different alloys should be dropped on a hard surface (preferably glass). The recommended height is 3-5 cm. To distinguish between gold and silver, assess the sound effect that this creates.

A gold piece of jewelry falls with a ringing sound, while a silver piece falls with a thud.

How to check the authenticity of silver
Checking the authenticity of silver

Needle test

This method allows you to determine whether the item you have purchased contains gold or not. You need to use a needle to make barely visible scratches with it, and it is important that they be on the inside, as your jewelry is easily spoiled. Precious metals behave differently when subjected to mechanical impact.

Silver jewelry is characterized by low hardness. Because of this, the precious metal can be easily scratched. Alloy, which includes components of the platinum group, is much more difficult to damage. But it all depends on the sharpness of the needle, the strength of its pressure.

Magnet application

Gold does not contain ferromagnetics. This means that approaching it with a magnet will not change the position of the jewelry being tested. The composition of such jewelry includes gold.

Read also
Is gold magnetic: check for authenticity, alloys that attract and repel the magnet

Checking with vinegar

Using this method, determine contrast white gold from silver jewelry can only be used at home, you can't use it in a store. If you get vinegar on your gold jewelry, the changes will be minimal, silver The same time, it will darken considerably.

If you immerse the product in a container of acid, the water will become turbid because of the Ag content.

Checking silver with vinegar
You can also check the authenticity of silver with vinegar

Reaction to chlorine

Due to the fact that Au - Inert precious metal, they check the quality of the jewelry by using aggressive agents such as chlorine gold. If you put it on two pieces of jewelry that look similar (white, shiny), it will turn out that one of them does not contain gold - it has changed its appearance. Other metals lose color, some fizzle.

Complex method based on Archimedes' law

The calculation method is used: determine the mass in liquid and air, and then determine the volume and density. A thread is tied to the product, immersed in a beaker of water, and then the dry product is weighed on a scale outside the container. Due to the difference in values, the volume and then the density of the materials are determined.

Such actions are performed with each of the jewelry pieces. Then compare the obtained density with the nominal values (tabulated), which will allow you to understand what kind of precious metal the jewelry is made of.

Branding and hallmark

If you're wondering what the difference between white gold and silverFor example, if a piece containing Au is branded as 583 or 585, then it is necessary to examine its appearance: they compare the assay and mark it as 583 or 585, 750 (common variants), if the composition is predominantly silver, the hallmark is different (875, 925, 960).

Differences between silver and white gold in physical and chemical parameters
Silver jewelry hallmarks

Stone inlay

When the jewelry contains inserts, the hallmark in this case will be different. There are many variations of gold jewelry that differ in composition (including less values 583). The presence of gemstones puts a ring or bracelet in a different category. Such items can be identified by the presence of 585 stamps or 750. They are inlaid with stones:

  • diamonds;
  • fianite;
  • pearls;
  • emerald;
  • sapphire;
  • ruby;
  • Swarovski stones.
Read also
Dissolving gold in aqua regia: purification, proportions of acid solution, precipitation of gold at home and melting it into ingots

Silver jewelry is also inlaid with stones of certain kinds. The inlays are most often of natural origin:

  • agate;
  • amethyst;
  • Onyx;
  • pearls;
  • emerald;
  • quartz;
  • sapphire;
  • topaz;
  • fianite.
Silver Jewelry
Silver Jewelry

Cost and popularity

Silver jewelry has long been widespread. However, recently they have been overtaken in popularity by alloys based on components of the platinum group. Both materials are white in color and look noble, which makes it difficult to compare them. But gold, without a doubt, belongs to a higher category of products, valued higher. This also has an impact on the price.

The difference between white gold and silver after rhodium-plating

Silver and gold jewelry is coated with a protective layer that preserves the properties of precious metalsIt also improves the appearance. After rhodium plating the items become almost identical (visual evaluation), but appearances are deceptive. Other parameters should also be evaluated if, when in a store, you need to immediately determine the type of product.

Rhodium plating of gold jewelry
Silver rhodium plating

Being at home, there is a better chance of recognizing the type of product, as the jewelry is compared on the basis of physical and chemical characteristics:

Temperature at which metals melt, °CDensity, g/cm3Hardness, kgf/mm2
White Gold870-121512,85-16,7870-170

Values are given in ranges, which is determined by the composition of the alloys. As can be seen, gold based on platinum group metals is superior to silver in basic parameters. The temperature level at which the product begins to melt is almost the same.

Pros and cons of precious metal determination techniques

To distinguish between alloys based on silver, gold, they use the method of determining "by eye", as well as improvised ways, means. This approach has its advantages:

This approach has its advantages:
No costs: you can find out which group the jewelry belongs to at home, there is no need to take it to a jeweler, which will allow you to avoid additional costs;
Quickness of implementation of the method: often at home the type of jewelry is determined in seconds, while in the laboratory it may take more than one hour, and also take into account the time spent on travel and payment for services of the organization;
to check use simple algorithms, everyone can do it.
Disadvantages of home methods for checking the type of metal
it is not always possible to get reliable results;
some methods have an aggressive effect on the metal;
There are also techniques that provide the same result for gold and silver (e.g., rhodium-plating).
Differences between silver and white gold in physical and chemical parameters
Silver jewelry hallmarks

How to take care of white metal products

When comparing metals in the home, take into account the peculiarities of their care. Silver is not resistant to the effects of aggressive substances, and rhodium-plated gold is not resistant to mechanical stress - it is easily damaged.

It is recommended to choose universal care products, avoiding the use of acids, abrasives. Use milder chemicals, pastes without hard fractions. If possible, purchase special care products for metal.

Regardless of what alloy jewelry is made of: white gold or silver, you must follow simple rules for handling them:

  • The product should be removed before bathing, showering, going to the bathhouse, sauna;
  • You should not play sports while wearing jewelry;
  • If iodine, ink or other dye was spilled on the jewelry, it is necessary to contact a specialist to restore its appearance;
  • Store rings, earrings and other items separately so that they do not come into contact with each other.
Read also
How Gold Affects the Human Body: Functions of Gold in Human Life; Effects of the Metal on Women and Men
Delicate cleaning of white gold
Taking care of silver jewelry

Gold or Silver: What to Choose

It is necessary to compare the jewelry on a number of features:

White Goldnoble appearance; hardness; resistance to acids; more options for rings, earrings, which are distinguished by the sophistication, complexity of design, which is due to the plasticity of the material.high price; the need to regularly restore the rhodium coating.
Silverlow price; positive effect on the body.the natural process of darkening jewelry (unless they are coated with rhodium), low hardness, jewelry turns black if the composition of body fluids (sweat) in the human body

Video: how to distinguish white gold from silver when buying in the store and at home in the kitchen

Customer Reviews

My silver always blackens quickly. I don't take rhodium because of its low resistance to damage. For this reason I did not consider white gold before. But recently came with my husband to buy me a gift, I appreciated the beauty of rhodium-plated pieces. Only outwardly I did not see any difference between gold and silver. My husband told me that you have to check by the sound and the weight.

Anna Lenskaya, Moscow
Natalia Zudina, Krasnodar

I wouldn't compare gold jewelry to silver jewelry. I always see the difference, it's huge. Silver is very different in design - the pieces are simple in appearance.

Silver is a light metal. I always look at the weight when I buy it. I have never made a mistake. Additionally, at home, I throw the ring on the glass a couple of times. But I think that the silver hallmark is enough.

Marita Gromova, Chelyabinsk

Jeweler's comment

Molokanov N.M.
Molokanov N.M.
Jeweler, experience in jewelry manufacturing 26 years.
Ask a question
Silver and gold containing platinum group metals differ greatly in hardness (by a factor of 3 to 5). One way to check is time: you only need to observe how certain items behave when worn. If you need to quickly determine the type of alloy, I suggest you look at the sample. If necessary, ask the seller for a certificate of quality. But here, too, you may run into a fake document, which means that you should learn to check your jewelry in a store (if you do not have time to go to a jeweler): look at the external parameters. If both jewelry pieces under test are rhodium-plated, then it remains to compare their sound and weight.


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