Once you've decided on the type of jewelry, you then have to consider which metal to choose—and gold vs. silver is the most common conundrum.
While many people already have a personal preference, others may be less decisive. To help your decision-making process, you should look at your skin tone and undertone. Gold and silver will each look different against your skin, so you want to find the right metal for your complexion.
Difference Between Skin Tones and Undertones
Your skin tone refers to the color or shade of your skin based on its melanin (skin pigment) content. Undertone is the hue from the under layers of the skin, which subtly affects the outer skin's color or tone.
Your skin tone changes according to your exposure to the sun, but your skin undertone stays the same throughout your life.
Types of Skin Tones
There are four broad skin tone categories:
- Fair Fair skin is very light and sensitive to the sun. Typically, people with blond or red hair have fair skin.
- Light Light skin is slightly darker than fair skin and also tends to burn quickly in the sun.
- Medium Medium skin tones are often described as "olive" skin tones. Not only are they darker than the previous two, but they are also less red and tan well.
- Deep or Dark These are the darkest skin tones and can vary from brown to very dark. People with this skin tone almost always have dark brown to black hair and brown eyes.
Types of Skin Undertones
- Warm undertone You have warm undertones if your skin has golden, peachy, or yellow underlying colors.
- Cool Undertone You have a cool undertone when your skin has hints of blue or pink tones.
- Neutral Undertone Having a neutral undertone means that you have both cool and warm undertones, or your undertone is the same color as your actual skin color.
How to Determine Your Skin Tone
Your skin tone is much easier to identify than your undertone, and you'll probably already have a good idea of what it is.
You can use your skin's reaction to the sun as an indicator if you're not sure. Fairer skin types tend to burn or turn pink quickly, and olive and darker tones tan well rather than turning red or burning.
How to Determine Your Skin Undertone
1. Conduct a Light Test
The easiest way to determine your skin undertone is by doing the "light test." For this, you simply use a light or flashlight and shine it over the veins in your wrist.
If your veins appear purple or blue, you have a cool undertone. Green or yellow veins indicate that you have a warm undertone. You have a neutral undertone if you find it hard to see your veins.
2. Consider the Color of Your Eyes and Hair
People with green, blue, or gray eyes and blond, brown, or black hair typically have cool undertones. On the other hand, people with hazel, brown, or amber eyes and black, strawberry blond, or red hair will typically have warm undertones.
Is Gold or Silver Better for Your Skin Tone and Undertone?
It's best to keep both your skin tone and skin undertone in mind when choosing between silver and gold for your jewelry.
Darker skin tones usually have warmer undertones which complement gold, bronze, copper, and brass beautifully. Once you've decided on a complementary warmer hue, like solid gold, gold plating, or gold vermeil, why not go bold and layer your jewelry? A gold jewelry will pair perfectly with many other styles of gold necklaces.
Those with neutral skin undertones are lucky—they can opt for silver or gold necklaces. These will commonly be people with olive or Mediterranean skin types. If you fall into this category, consider what color clothes you gravitate toward, as this can help you choose between gold and silver.
Often people with fairer skin have cool undertones and will look great in white gold, platinum, and sultry silver necklaces. Fair skin types can have red undertones and should also lean toward silver metals.
Some very dark skin tones may have cool undertones and look amazing wearing silver jewelry that contrasts against their complexion.
Again, people with neutral undertones and olive skin are also suited to wearing silver jewelry.
If you're still uncertain, you can always consider mixing your metals, which is currently trending.
Your Opinion and Preferences Matter Too
This article is only meant to be a guideline to help you choose between gold and silver. Ultimately, what matters most is that you are comfortable with what you wear and feel good wearing your necklace in your chosen metal.
A necklace represents your identity, so wear your jewelry with confidence, knowing it's a statement of your personal style!