Sometimes even specialists find it difficult to evaluate a piece of jewelry and determine what material it is made of. Silver, white gold and platinum look very similar — that’s a fact. If there is such a metal as white gold, why is silver needed? Because they differ significantly.
You will get the answer to the question of how silver differs from white gold after reading this article in our online store to the end.
How to distinguish silver from gold?
Silver is the whitest among natural precious metals. It is often used to make different types of jewelry. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity, and therefore is easily processed.
In its pure form, this jewelry material is not used because of its softness, but only its alloys. Therefore, instead of sample 999, the following is used:
925 contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper;
958 — a standard introduced in England in the 17th century — 95.8% silver and 4.2% copper.
Oxidized silver, which in the process of oxidation 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 actually exist. It is nothing more than its alloy with nickel, zinc, and sometimes also with palladium, which change color. Thanks to them, the material becomes harder and resistant to damage. Jewelry from it is usually covered with a thin layer of rhodium, which gives them additional depth.
The physical properties of white gold can be different because they are due to the content of alloying impurities. Most of its jewelry looks silver because it is covered with a layer of rhodium.
There is white, off-centered gold that has the correct color and luster. The most popular sample is 0.585 or 14 carats. But such metal tarnishes quickly and protective coatings wear off over time.
7 ways to distinguish white gold from silver at home
Fraudsters prey on buyers who do not know how to tell the difference between white gold and silver by eye. According to the value of the precious metal, alloys with copper are usually sold to them. It turns out a cheap and short-lived material. To avoid confusion or fraud, learn how to tell the difference between white gold and silver.
- Checking the sample and stamp of the purchased jewelry. White gold is produced with a stamp of a rectangular shape or in the form of a blade. If encrusted with precious stones, it has a fineness of 750 or 585. The easiest way to deceive the buyer is to sell white gold with a lower fineness. The imagination of fraudsters knows no bounds. Today, it is popular to sell 333 (8 carat) pattern chains with mounting details that have a much larger pattern attached to them. The seller draws the buyer’s attention to the mark on the fastening part and diverts attention from the mark on the correct part of the product.
- A magnetic test will help you understand how white gold differs from 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 of an alloy, it should also not react to a magnet, because the metals used in the alloys are also diamagnetic. However, if the Silver Ring reacts to a magnet, it does not mean that it should be thrown into the trash immediately. 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 due to rhodium, which is applied galvanically, that is, using direct current. Surfaces with a rhodium coating or only individual jewelry elements acquire a light silver / white shade, thanks to which they become resistant to blackening and acquire a beautiful shine. Gold and silver do not change color. Tarnishing occurs when jewelry is covered only with gold plating. Their surface layer wears away, 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 of checking the authenticity of a metal. It consists in the fact that each substance has different values of density. For gold, this parameter is 19.3 g / cm 3, silver — 10.5 g / cm 3. 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 according to known formulas. Ideally, it will be an ordinary glass container in the form of a tube — a test tube. Its volume is the derivative of the height, the squared radius of the base, and the number pi (3.14). Then you need to place the jewelry in the 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 displaced water. The desired density will be obtained. If the result is about 19.3 g / cm³, then the jewelry is gold, even though it is silver. If it turns out 10.5 g / cm³, then this is silver.
- Hardness check. Since silver is softer than white gold, it can be determined by a simple experiment. You just need to draw a line on the surface of the paper with little effort. If there is a trace on the sheet, then it is silver. White gold leaves no traces.
- Acid treatment. Silver easily oxidizes and tarnishes, unlike white gold. To confirm this, mix a little water and vinegar in a small container into which you drop the jewelry being tested. 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 show through white gold, but it can be wiped off with a paper napkin or a dry, soft cloth.
Home methods do not guarantee 100% reliability. To make sure that the ring, earrings or bracelet are made of high-quality metal, you should take them to a professional jeweler.