scroll top

Sterling silver vs white gold: What’s the difference, which is worth more?

We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. Here's more on how we make money.

If you have silver-colored jewelry and you’re not sure how much it’s worth, the first step is to evaluate what it’s made of.

Sterling silver and white gold may appear similar to the untrained eye, but white gold is worth more money and is the preferred metal for fine jewelry — including engagement rings. 

In either case, if you’re looking to sell your sterling silver or white gold jewelry for cash, we recommend selling to A+ BBB-rated CashforGoldUSA.com or its sister site CashforSilverUSA.com, which both offer free estimates and a highest price guarantee.

Keep reading to learn: 

What is the difference between sterling silver and white gold?

Sterling silver and white gold are both alloys (a mixture of metals), but they’re made up of different metals: 

  • Sterling silver = 92.5% pure silver + other metals (typically copper or nickel) 
  • White gold = 58.3%-99% pure gold (varies) + other metals (typically silver, nickel, palladium, or zinc)

White gold is also usually plated with a layer of rhodium (a rare platinum group metal), which gives it its white appearance and prevents the gold from scratching. 

What's the difference between sterling silver and 14k white gold?

Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% pure silver, and 14k white gold is made up of 58.3% pure gold. Both are mixed with other metals to increase durability. 

Sterling silver vs white gold: Pros and cons of each metal

Though they look similar, sterling silver and white gold are different in a lot of ways. Here’s how they stack up in various areas of performance: 

Color

Sterling silver is typically slightly brighter white than white gold. Unplated white gold may also have a slightly yellow sheen from its gold content. 

Durability

Because it’s often plated in rhodium — which makes it resistant to scratches and dents — white gold is considered more durable than sterling silver.

Scratch resistance

Rhodium plating on white gold makes it more scratch resistant than sterling silver, though it must be replated every six months to a year to retain its appearance and protective quality, according to New York City jeweler Frank Darling.

Maintenance

Both sterling silver and white gold need regular maintenance to retain their optimal appearance: 

  • Sterling silver: Sun exposure, lotions, makeup, chlorine, cleaning products, and more outside factors can cause sterling silver to tarnish. To keep your sterling silver in tip top shape, make a paste of baking soda and water and lightly scrub your jewelry with a cloth, or place your jewelry in a mixture of ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of baking soda for a couple of hours.

Check out this video for a tutorial on how to keep your sterling silver jewelry clean: 

  • White gold: If you want your white gold to maintain its pure white appearance, you should have it re-plated in rhodium every six months to a year, which typically costs between $50-$100, depending on the jeweler and how thick the plating is. 

Cost today vs. resale value

While sterling silver costs significantly less than white gold, it also has a lower resale value because silver is priced lower than gold. 

These two nearly identical wedding bands from Kohls have a price difference of almost $300: 

Sterling silver vs. white gold wedding band from Kohls.
White gold vs. sterling silver wedding band from Kohls.

As of , the silver resale value in the United States was at $ per ounce, or $ per gram.

As of , the spot gold value in the United States was trading at $ per ounce, or $ per gram. 

Sterling silver vs white gold FAQs

Do white gold and sterling silver look the same?

At first glance, white gold and sterling silver do look almost the same, though sterling silver may be a slightly brighter white. If it isn’t plated in rhodium, white gold may have a slightly yellow appearance. 

What’s better white gold or sterling silver?

White gold is stronger and more scratch resistant than sterling silver, though it does cost more money. 

Does sterling silver or white gold last longer?

Because of its rhodium plating, white gold is more durable and therefore may last longer than sterling silver with regular replating. 

How can you tell the difference between white gold and silver at home?

If you’re not sure whether your jewelry is sterling silver vs. white gold, here are some tips: 

  1. Look for symbols stamped on the jewelry. Sterling silver is often stamped with the number 925 to represent its 92.5% silver content, while white gold is typically stamped with a number followed by a K symbol (10K, 14K, 18K) to represent its karatage (measure of how much gold it contains). 
  2. If the jewelry has dark spots/tarnish, you know it’s sterling silver. White gold does not tarnish, though it may become more yellow over time without regular rhodium replating.

If you’re not sure whether your jewelry is sterling silver or white gold, you can have it evaluated by CashforGoldUSA.

Bottom line: Is sterling silver worth more than white gold? Which has the better resale value?

In terms of resale value, white gold is worth more than sterling silver because the price of gold is higher than the price of silver. 

However, white gold and sterling silver can both be sold to a reputable metals buyer, pawn shop, or jewelry store for cash. Our No. 1 recommendation for selling gold and silver jewelry is CashforGoldUSA.com and its sister site CashforSilverUSA.com because: 

  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
  • No minimum value
  • Payouts within 24 hours
  • 10% bonus if you send in your item within 7 days
  • 100% free door-to-door, trackable FedEx or USPS shipping
  • Free Jewelers’ Mutual insurance up to $100,000 on each shipment
  • Facility insured by Lloyds of London

CashforGoldUSA accepts all forms of gold and silver jewelry (but not gold plated items), including necklaces, earrings, rings, chains, and bracelets. It also accepts gold bullion, gold scrap, and gold coins, dental gold, and diamonds.

Get a free and instant estimate on your sterling silver or white gold jewelry from CashforGold >>

Do white gold and sterling silver look the same?

At first glance, white gold and sterling silver do look almost the same, though sterling silver may be a slightly brighter white. If it isn’t plated in rhodium, white gold may have a slightly yellow appearance.

What’s better white gold or sterling silver?

White gold is stronger and more scratch resistant than sterling silver, though it does cost more money.

Does sterling silver or white gold last longer?

Because of its rhodium plating, white gold is more durable and therefore may last longer than sterling silver with regular replating.

Is sterling silver worth more than white gold?

In terms of resale value, white gold is worth more than sterling silver because the price of gold is higher than the price of silver.

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.