Sometimes even specialists find it difficult to evaluate a particular piece of jewelry and determine what material it is made of. Silver, white gold and platinum are very similar in appearance — this is a fact. If there is such a metal as white gold, why is silver needed? Because they are significantly different.
The answer to the question of how silver differs from white gold, you will receive by reading this article of our online store to the end.
How to distinguish silver from gold?
Silver is the whitest natural precious metal. This is often used to make different types of jewelry. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity, and therefore lends itself well to processing.
In its pure form, this jewelry material is not used because of its softness, but only its alloys. Therefore, instead of the 999 sample, the following applies:
925 contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper;
958 — the standard introduced in England in the 17th century — 95.8% silver and 4.2% copper.
Oxidized silver, which during the oxidation process is covered with a thin layer of its own oxide. Thanks to this, it is protected from destructive factors and additionally acquires a characteristic antique look.
What is white gold, how to distinguish it from silver?
White gold, which is becoming more and more popular every day, does not really exist. It is nothing but its alloy with nickel, zinc and sometimes also with palladium, which change color. Thanks to them, the material becomes harder and more resistant to damage. Jewelry made from it is usually covered with a thin layer of rhodium, which gives them extra depth.
The physical properties of white gold can be different, because they are due to the content of alloying impurities. Most of the jewelry made from it looks silver because they are covered with a layer of rhodium.
There is white, non-centered gold that has the right color and shine. The most popular sample is 0.585 or 14 carats. But such a metal quickly tarnishes and the protective coatings are erased over time.
7 ways to distinguish white gold from silver at home
Fraudsters prey on buyers who do not know how to distinguish white gold from silver by eye. At the cost of the precious metal, they are usually sold alloys with copper. It turns out cheap and short-lived material. To avoid confusion or scams, learn how to tell the difference between white gold and silver.
- Checking the sample and brand of the purchased jewelry. White gold is produced with a hallmark of a rectangular shape or in the form of a spatula. If encrusted with precious stones, it has a purity of 750 or 585. The easiest way to deceive the buyer is to sell white gold with a lower purity. The imagination of scammers knows no bounds. It is popular today to sell chains with pattern 333 (8 carats) with fasteners attached to a much larger pattern. The seller draws the attention of the buyer to the mark on the fastener and diverts attention from the mark on the correct part of the product.
- A magnetic test will help you understand the difference between white gold and silver. This metal has absolutely no magnetic properties, so the object should not vibrate. Silver also does not react to a magnet. If the jewelry is made from an alloy, it shouldn’t react to a magnet either, because the metals used in alloys are also diamagnetic. However, if a silver ring reacts to a magnet, this does not mean that it should immediately be thrown into the trash can. Perhaps it is not made of an alloy with palladium. Some of its impurities are paramagnetic, that is, they react to a magnet.
- Color change. White gold has a slightly golden hue, silver is cold white, even grayish. It is always brighter than silver thanks to rhodium, which is applied by electroplating, that is, using direct current. Rhodium-plated surfaces, or just individual pieces of jewelry, take on a light silver/white tint, which makes them resistant to tarnishing and acquires a beautiful sheen. Gold and silver do not change color. Darkening occurs when jewelry is plated only with gold. Their surface layer is erased, and the metal underneath begins to react with water, air and dirt, and then changes its properties. Unsightly discolorations appear on its surface.
- Density calculation is a reliable but more complex method for verifying the authenticity of a metal. It lies in the fact that each substance has different density values. For gold, this parameter is 19.3 g/cm3, for silver, 10.5 g/cm3. To check the density of the metal in the purchased product, you need to prepare a glass vessel with water, and then calculate its volume using known formulas. Ideally, if it is an ordinary glass container in the form of a tube — a test tube. Its volume is the derivative of the height, the radius of the base squared, and the number pi (3.14). Then you need to place the decoration in a container and calculate the difference between the displaced water in cubic centimeters. Then you need to divide the number obtained earlier, the volume of the container, by the volume of water displaced. Get the desired density. If the result is around 19.3 g/cm³, then the jewelry is gold even though it is silver in color. If you get 10.5 g / cm³, then this is silver.
- Hardness test. Since silver is softer than white gold, it can be determined with a simple experiment. You just need to draw a line on the surface of the paper with a little effort. If a trace remains on the sheet, then this is silver. White gold leaves no traces.
- Acid treatment. Silver oxidizes and tarnishes easily, unlike white gold. To confirm this, mix some water and vinegar in a small container, where you lower the jewelry to be checked. If its surface is gray, it is silver.
- reaction to iodine. Dip a toothpick in iodine and draw a thin line on the inside of the product. Iodine will enter into a chemical reaction with silver, leaving a trace. It will not appear on white gold, and you can wipe it off with a paper towel or dry soft cloth.
Home methods do not guarantee 100% reliability. To make sure that a ring, earring or bracelet is made of quality metal, you should take it to a professional jeweler.