Sunday, January 20, 2008

Silver vs. White Gold

So you are thinking of wearing Silver ???

Silver is affordable and sometimes fashionable:
Silver being less expensive than gold, sounds like a more feasible option to use instead of white gold. It values not only lesser in dollars per ounce but is also lighter in weight (mass) and hence lesser quantity will be used to create the same piece when compared to gold. (A 10 gm gold bangle will look bigger when made in 10 gms of silver). Usually in the jewelry market we use sterling silver (925 parts silver in every 1000 parts of an alloy) for all purposes of strength and durability. Modern brands such as Scott Kay, David Yurman, Roberto Coin and many more use Silver as the base metal for fine jewelry. Silver makes a piece of jewelry more affordable for a larger crowd and hence more acceptable than many other metals. The wastage in silver jewelry manufacture is not as expensive as in white gold and hence the overhead charges are in control. So at the end of the day it is either the expense or it is the statement that drives us to buy silver.

Few style and techniques such as oxidization and burnishing can only happen in silver for e.g. in Mokume Gane, the Japanese technique of Metal smithing, without the presence of silver, etching cannot happen. Similarly, in Kundan jewelry, the Indian antique jewelry style with prominent use of uncut diamond, silver is an essential metal to bring out the shine in the diamond.

Most of all, silver is originally white and whereas white gold is technically pale yellow in color and needs a coting of rhodium to enhance the white color.

But white Gold is better for fine jewelry:
However, cost sometimes can truly buy quality. In this case, durability at least!!! Silver tarnishes fairly easily when exposed to the atmosphere due to reaction with sulfur present in minute traces in the air. The temporary brownish tint caused by this reaction can be removed by cleaning with regular silver polish available in the market, however it is a repetitive activity. Also such frequent cleaning of the delicate product may render the stones loose from their setting. Silver is also a known material to cause allergy whereas Gold is a fairly well known hypoallergic metal in higher grade of alloy. Silver is a softer metal than gold thus the prongs built in silver to hold the precious stones as well as the links can easily get damaged. Silver gets scratched easily as well.

But for those who want the benefit of wearing jewelry crafted beautifully in good looking stones without living with the burden of the extreme expense accompanied, silver is a beautiful metal!!!
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