Silver vs Gold Jewelry: Which Should I Wear?

Posted March 5, 2020 by in Fashion
Woman's hand with gold and silver rings

It’s time to settle an age-old argument in the fashion world: silver vs gold jewelry. Should you be donning some gorgeous gold or some sexy silver? There are a few ways to determine which color jewelry is best for you. 

The best guidelines for which color you should be rocking are your skin tone, your skin color, your makeup, and the outfit you’ll be wearing. This quick guide will walk you through how to determine whether to wear silver or gold based on these factors:

gold jewelry on a dresser

Skin Tone

The most enduring wisdom in the argument about silver vs gold jewelry is that you should pick your jewelry based on your skin tone. The classic wisdom states that people will cool undertones to their skin look best in silver jewelry, while people with warm undertones to their skin look best in gold jewelry.

Most people don’t know their skin tone unless they’re makeup junkies since makeup also relies heavily on skin tone. If you’re not one of those women, you’re probably wondering how to figure out your skin tone. 

The easiest way to determine your skin tone is to look at the veins in your wrist. If your veins appear blue, you have a cool skin tone. If your veins appear more green than blue, you have a warm skin tone.

People with cool skin tones tend to burn more than tan. People with warm skin tones tend to tan well.

Determining Skin Tone for Darker Skin Colors

The vein color method won’t work for people with darker skin colors, so the best way to determine your undertones is to create contrast and see what colors show up. Stand in front of a white background and look in a mirror.

Look at your skin to see which colors become apparent when compared to the white background. If you see more red, or warm brown you have a warm undertone. If you see more ash or tan, you have a cool undertone.

Another way to determine skin tone for darker skin is to see which clothes look best with your skin. If you can rock blues and cool reds, you have a cool skin tone, and if you can rock oranges, bold reds, and earthy greens, you have a warm skin tone.

Once you’ve determined your skin tone, choose jewelry that matches. Yellow gold and rose gold pair best with warm skin tones. Sterling silver, platinum, and white gold pair best with cool skin tones.

Skin Color

Skin tone is different than skin color. People with pale skin can have a warm or cool skin tone, just like people with dark skin can have a warm or cool skin tone.

For the most part, your skin tone is more of a determining factor in whether you should wear gold or silver jewelry. So, even if you have darker skin, if you have a cool skin tone stick to silver.

However, people with darker skin ranging from olive to ebony can usually rock gold jewelry or silver jewelry. The darker skin tones make the color of the metal stand out really well, which creates a very striking look.

The only thing to watch out for is that thin silver jewelry can get overpowered by dark skin. So, choose gold jewelry if you want something understated or go for chunkier silver jewelry.

People with very fair skin color should usually stay away from gold jewelry, even if they have a relatively warm skin tone. Gold jewelry can make fair skin look washed out or clash with the warm undertones of very pale skin. If your skin color is pale, stick to silver.

Makeup

Another tactic for choosing silver or gold jewelry is to match your jewelry to your makeup. Since makeup is also very determined by skin tone, you’ll probably end up wearing the same jewelry that would fit with your skin tone.

The key when matching jewelry with makeup is to make sure that your jewelry and makeup complement each other. You don’t want your makeup to overpower your jewelry or vice versa. 

If you’re going for a bold makeup look, choose understated jewelry. If you’re going for an understated makeup look, you can choose chunkier statement pieces for your jewelry, like this gold glass locket.

Another way to match your jewelry to your makeup is to match the tones. If you’re with rich, warm colors for your makeup, match with gold jewelry.

If you’re going with icy, cool colors for your makeup, match with silver jewelry. Obviously, if you’re using metallic colors in your makeup, match your jewelry accordingly. But make sure to choose simple jewelry with metallic makeup so the look isn’t too overwhelming.

Outfit

Another surefire way to pick the right jewelry for your look is to match your jewelry to your outfit. The same advice applies to jewelry and clothes as jewelry and makeup: make sure they complement each other. 

Outfits with lots of rich, earth tones or gemstone colors often look great with gold jewelry. If your outfit includes a lot of browns, emerald, cranberry, or navy, gold will make the perfect statement. If your outfit relies on a lot of pastels or cool colors like mint, baby blue, lavender, or pale pink, then go with silver jewelry.

If you’re going with all black, you can wear either silver or gold jewelry. Both tones will create a striking look with black. If you’re going with all white, definitely go for some gold jewelry since silver will get lost in the white outfit.

Going with a metallic outfit? Matching your jewelry to the metallic color of your outfit makes your look uniform and clean. But don’t be afraid to mix metals.

The old wisdom that you shouldn’t match silver with gold is passe. You should make sure to pick understated jewelry with a metallic outfit so the look isn’t too much.


Matching your jewelry to your skin tone, skin color, makeup, or outfit is a great way to choose silver vs gold jewelry. However, the best way to choose jewelry to wear is to stick with what you love.

While skin tone is the best way to determine which jewelry looks best on you, the common wisdom is evolving. Most stylists now say that anyone can rock silver or gold, as long as the piece of jewelry is right. Stylists also say that mixing metals is just fine, so you might choose to wear both silver and gold. 

Use these recommendations as a guideline, but always trust your gut. You know what makes you look gorgeous and you know which pieces of jewelry you love.

For more advice about looking your best, check out the Fashion section of our website!