Gold or silver jewelry: which do I wear?

It’s the age-old question that frazzles each new generation, and it’s inevitably made its way to my doorstep.  

As a long-time gold jewelry enthusiast, I’d like to believe that my decision to adorn myself with a certain type of metal over another has some kind of logical backbone to it.

For one thing, I consider myself pretty warm-toned. And gold, supposedly, flatters warm-toned skin tones.  

On the other hand, if I look at the color of my veins – which, believe it or not, is a popular way to determine your undertones – they have purple and blue hues.

Herein lies the conundrum.

According to an article on Healthline, “people with blue or purplish-looking veins usually have cooler undertones,” which are known to compliment silver jewelry (This information is medically reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Cobb, so you know it’s legit.)

Now this complicates things. If both my own observations and these so-called “scientific” methods hold, maybe I’m neutral-toned, meaning gold and silver should work with my skin tone.

Does it just boil down to preference? Or is there really a ‘right’ way to do jewelry?

A quick Google search of gold versus silver jewelry proves that I am far from alone in the long-winded quest to discover one’s default color.

Some have even resorted to Reddit for answers.

One thread titled, “How did you figure out if you are a gold or silver jewelry person?” garnered over 131 comments.

For Reddit user cranbeery, attempting to pick one over the other is pointless.“I don’t believe in this dichotomy,” they said. “I exclusively wore silver until this decade, when I started adding gold. Now, I like both depending on the look I’m going for.”  

Others suggested that sentiment plays a larger role than anything.

User hypatiaofspace commented, “My mom gifted me a gold ring when I graduated high school, so I’ve wanted to pair the rest of my jewelry around it since!”

Weinberg first-year Yuka Sumi said she has strong opinions about which color she prefers.

“Gold. For sure,” Sumi said. “I feel like friends and family compliment me more when I wear gold jewelry.”

Sumi also said gold jewelry was easier to accessorize, especially when brightening up dull or monotone outfits.

“Gold just brings a warm, rich feel to everything,” Sumi said. “Silver doesn’t do that, you know?”

Still, silver isn’t completely off the table for her. For Sumi, experimenting with jewelry is a way to try something new, and she’s willing to venture into silver, she said.

For those who are interested in trends, 2024 has seen an influx of models wearing silver. According to a blog published by Abelini, a leading Jewelry store based in the UK, various catwalks in the Spring/Summer collections for 2024 have featured silver statement pieces.  

The blog also suggests that wearing both silver and gold can add a fun, modern twist to your wardrobe. Medill first-year Margarita Williams agreed.

“I like gold because it feels like it fits my skin tone more, but I don’t see the reason behind not mixing metals,” Williams said. “I wear gold earrings and necklaces but silver rings and bracelets. I think it really depends on your personal style.”

So, in the most cliché of clichés, it seems reasonable to conclude that the color of your jewelry is ultimately up to you. Whether it’s about what flatters your skin tone or a gut feeling about what seems right to wear, there is no wrong answer.

And if you’re still struggling, there’s always going to be a WikiHow page to navigate you through each step.

Thumbnail graphic by June Woo / North by Northwestern