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

If previously items on sale were most often made from yellow/red gold and silver, today the range of jewelry made from an alloy containing platinum group metals is rapidly expanding. Moreover, some of the species are similar in appearance. We are talking about white gold and also silver. Both metals are the same color, which often makes it difficult 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 learn how to distinguish white gold from silver. To do this, consider methods and choose one of 10 common options.

White gold and silver: characteristics of white metals. What is the difference - the main criteria of difference

White gold is an alloy that contains a significant proportion of Au itself. The composition may also include other alloying components: nickel, platinum, palladium, copper. The level of additives varies, 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, white. The metal gains hardness due to alloying additives. But on the outside it is always white thanks to the rhodium plating.

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


The smartest thing you can do when planning to purchase white gold jewelry is to purchase it from a reputable jewelry store. All products in such a salon comply with Russian GOST standards and have the necessary hallmark markings.

The hallmark stamped on white gold products can be easily distinguished from hallmarks on other precious metals. It is affixed in the form of a girl in a kokoshnik, enclosed in a circle, and a sample of metal, enclosed in a rectangle. The second option combines the hallmark with the hallmark.

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Options for antique and foreign samples can be found in special catalogues.

For white gold items, fineness up to 750 units is acceptable. If the sample is higher than this value, they are trying to sell you silver.

TOP 10 ways - how to distinguish white gold from silver at home

It is almost impossible to check the strength of metals while in a jewelry store before making a choice. The only way is to evaluate appearance. But this does not always give the desired result. This means that other techniques need to be used.

Some of the available methods are easy to implement and can be used at home or in stores, but there are also those that can only be implemented under certain conditions.

Appearance – the visual difference between color and gloss by eye

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

  • color: silver has a cold steel tint, gold with platinum group metals in its composition is white;
  • Shine: Silver does not shine as brightly as gold-based metals.

Hardness test

Checking the authenticity of silver yourself
Silver products and gold jewelry look almost the same in appearance, but they are different in structure, hardness, and ductility. Accordingly, they check not visually, but by physical properties. They conduct an experiment: they draw a line on a sheet of paper, silver will leave a mark, because it is softer than gold.

The sound of metal when falling

Metals make different sounds when dropped from different heights, so it is necessary to create the same conditions for testing different jewelry. Jewelry made from different alloys must be thrown onto a hard surface (preferably glass). The recommended height is 3-5 cm. To distinguish gold from silver, evaluate the sound effect that is created.

Gold jewelry falls loudly, and silver jewelry falls with a dull thud.

Silver Authentication

Needle test

The method allows you to determine whether the purchased product contains gold. You will need a needle; it can be used to make barely noticeable scratches, and it is important that they be on the inside, since the decoration can be easily damaged. Precious metals behave differently as a result of mechanical stress.

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

Application of magnet

Gold does not contain ferromagnets. This means that bringing a magnet closer to it will not change the position of the jewelry being tested. This type of jewelry contains gold.

The difference between white gold and silver after rhodium plating

Silver and gold jewelry is coated with a protective layer, which preserves the properties of precious metals and also improves their appearance. After applying rhodium, the products become almost identical (visual assessment), but appearances are deceiving. Other parameters should also be assessed if, while in a store, you need to immediately determine the type of product.

Silver rhodium plating

Properties inherent in white gold

They can be different and are determined only by what is included in the ligature. Gold is used in various states:

The hard version is ideal for jewelry work, the soft version is ideal for creating bases, and the liquid version is good for coating. Due to its attractive appearance, white gold and diamonds are the most common combination that is in demand, both in the form of finished products in stores and in individual orders for craftsmen. It is believed that the frame favorably emphasizes the shine of the stones installed in the jewelry, since it does not distort their natural color. This is why wedding rings are made from white gold.

Summary table: differences between silver and white gold according to physical and chemical parameters

While at home, there is a greater chance of recognizing the type of product, since jewelry is compared according to physical and chemical characteristics:

Temperature at which metals melt, °CDensity, g/cm3Hardness, kgf/mm2
White gold870-121512,85-16,7870-170

The values ​​are given in ranges, which are determined by the composition of the alloys. As you can see, 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 methods for determining precious metals

To distinguish alloys based on silver and gold, the method of determination “by eye” is used, as well as available methods and 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, you don’t need to take it to the jeweler, which will avoid additional costs;

the speed of implementation of the method: often at home the type of jewelry is determined in a matter of seconds, while in the laboratory this can take more than one hour; the time spent on travel and payment for the organization’s services is also taken into account;

Simple algorithms are used for verification; anyone can perform them.

Disadvantages of home methods for checking the type of metal

it is not always possible to obtain a reliable result;

some methods have an aggressive effect on the metal;

There are also techniques that provide the same result when assessing the parameters of gold and silver (for example, during rhodium plating).

Samples on silver jewelry

How are these metals different?

When choosing jewelry from a particular metal, you need to know that they differ not only in color, but also in some characteristics, cost, and markings.

Composition, strength and weight

White gold is obtained by creating an alloy based on yellow metal and a ligature. The latter includes the following elements:

  • platinum;
  • silver;
  • nickel;
  • palladium;
  • zinc.

Thanks to the alloy, gold acquires the necessary strength and wear resistance, but at the same time remains quite ductile.

Silver in jewelry is also used in the form of an alloy, to which copper, lead, antimony, oxygen, and bismuth are added. They provide the necessary strength and wear resistance of the alloy. However, if we compare the strength characteristics of precious metals, the advantage will be on the side of gold.

Expert opinion

Vsevolod Kozlovsky

6 years in jewelry making. Knows everything about samples and can identify a fake in 12 seconds

Different densities of metals affect the weight of products. Depending on the composition and standard, the density of white gold is 12.85-16.44 kg/m3, and that of silver is 10.49 kg/m3. Accordingly, a gold ring will be heavier than its silver counterpart, given the same size and shape.

Effect of acidic environment

One of the advantages of white gold over silver is that it is not afraid of acid. That's why one of the most popular ways to test jewelry at home is to dip it in a container of vinegar. If the product contains aurum, it will not change its color.

Silver jewelry will make the liquid cloudy. Because of this reaction, they must be removed before cleaning.

Appearance and markings

White gold has a varnished appearance, while silver metal has a matte finish. With the special lighting available in every jewelry store, the jewelry may shine equally, but when worn, the difference will become more noticeable.

Based on this, in a salon environment, the difference between metals can be determined solely through markings. In the first case, a stamp is placed on the jewelry with the designation of the sample (585 or 750), enclosed in a blade or rectangle. In the second case, the sample (800, 830, 875, 925, 960) fits into the barrel.

Difference between different purity grades

Precious metals have differences not only among themselves. Products made from seemingly the same metal will also have differences depending on the sample. It is determined by the percentage of the main precious metal in the jewelry. Due to the difference in proportions, the density of the alloy, melting point, and hardness change. GOST-approved options based on silver and gold can be seen in the tables below.

Graduation of gold-based alloys:

TryMass fraction of component, %
Gold (Au)Silver (Ag)Platinum (Pt)Palladium (Pd)Nickel (Ni)Copper (Cu)Zinc (Zn)Cadmium (Cd)

Graduation of silver-based alloys:

TryCompound, %Impurities, no more than %
Silver (Ag)Copper (Cu)Lead (Pb)Iron (Fe)Antimony (Sb)Bismuth (Bi)Oxygen (O)

Differences in guest standards and quality

The chemical composition, as well as the physical characteristics of white gold and silver alloys are regulated by law. Each product must comply with GOST 30649-99 “Alloys based on precious metals for jewelry.”

Price and demand

The main difference between precious metals, which immediately catches your eye, is the cost of the products. The price of both yellow and white precious metals is much higher for a number of reasons:

  • There are fewer gold veins in nature than silver ones;
  • complex production technology;
  • unique properties of yellow metal.

What stones are suitable

White gold is eye-catching even without inserts. However, bright precious stones make jewelry especially attractive: sapphires, emeralds, diamonds. Also popular are products that harmoniously combine several types of metals, such as white and yellow gold.

Silver jewelry, as a rule, is made with inserts of semi-precious stones and minerals: onyx, iolite, agate, jade, chrysoprase, rauchtopaz, morion. However, occasionally jewelers create collections based on precious inserts, for example with emeralds.

How to care for white metal products

When comparing metals at home, take into account the features of caring for them. Silver does not withstand 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 and abrasives. They use milder chemicals, pastes without solid fractions. If possible, purchase special metal care products.

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

  • products must be removed before taking a bath, shower, going to the bathhouse, sauna;
  • You should not exercise while wearing jewelry;
  • if iodine, ink or other dye has come into contact with your jewelry, you must contact a specialist to restore its appearance;
  • Rings, earrings and other items should be stored separately so that they do not come into contact with each other.

Gold or silver: what to choose

It is necessary to compare jewelry according to a number of features:

White goldnoble appearance; hardness; acid resistance; more options for rings and earrings, which are distinguished by their sophistication and complexity of design, which is due to the plasticity of the material.high price; the need to regularly restore the rhodium plating.
Silverlow price; positive effect on the body.natural process of darkening of jewelry (unless it is plated with rhodium); low hardness; jewelry turns black if the composition of biological fluids (sweat) in the human body changes

Energy of noble metals

White gold is a feminine metal that has spirituality and is aimed at finding the meaning of life. Jewelry made from this material helps restore harmony in relationships and stimulate self-improvement.

Since ancient times, silver has helped bring a person closer to God, increase his energy strength and resist dark forces. Thanks to this property of the metal, pectoral crosses are made from it. It is also believed that silver helps the owner cope with illnesses.

Customer Reviews

My silver always turns black quickly. I don’t use rhodium because of its low resistance to damage. For this reason, I had not previously considered white gold. But recently my husband and I came to buy me a gift, and I appreciated the beauty of rhodium-plated products. Only outwardly I didn’t see the difference between gold and silver. My husband told me that I need to check it by sound and weight.

Anna Lenskaya, Moscow

Natalya Zudina, Krasnodar

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

Silver is a light metal. I always look at the weight when I buy. I've never made a mistake yet. Additionally, at home I throw the ring on the glass a couple of times. But I think a test is enough.

Marita Gromova, Chelyabinsk

Noble shine

Silver and white gold are indeed very similar. How? Glitter, color and purpose. It was white metals that were considered the ideal setting for diamonds in the 1920s. At first, an alloy of platinum and silver was used for this, since in its pure form it is difficult for jewelry processing. But silver tends to darken, and expensive items lost their attractiveness. A solution was found experimentally: soft gold was mixed with different metals - the same silver, platinum, palladium and cheaper nickel.

Attention! A typical alloy of 18k white gold is: 750 parts gold, 55 parts copper, 145 parts nickel and 50 parts zinc.

Nickel is a fairly strong allergen and the cause of dermatitis. In 2000, in the countries of the European Union, out of concern for people’s health, this metal was banned from being added to white gold. Outside of Europe, nickel is still actively used.

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