Many factors go into choosing a piece of jewelry. The considerations are very different for an item of costume jewelry versus an investment piece. Costume jewelry usually doesn't feature gemstones or precious metals. Designer costume jewelry will have a smaller price tag than something made from gold, sterling silver, or platinum.
With “real” jewelry, you aren’t just deciding if you like it and asking will it go with the outfit you’re planning. You will be considering:
- Size and setting of any gemstone
- What metal it is made of
- Price & value, especially if it is going to be something significant like an engagement ring.
One interesting question is whether jewelry should match your skin tone. Women will ask, “does gold or silver look better on me?” The contrast of a piece of jewelry can impact how it will look. It will also influence how you feel when you see it on yourself.
It may not be the most burning question. You might have never thought about skin tones or skin undertones. However, it is an essential factor in getting the jewelry you love and will want to wear again and again.
What’s Your Skin Tone?
You cannot answer whether you are better suited to gold or silver if you don’t know what your skin tone is.
There are three skin tones:
- Warm tone
- Cool tone
How do you tell which skin tone you have?
You have a warm skin tone
- Your wrist veins appear green in natural light
- You have brown or black hair
- You have brown, green, or hazel eyes
- Your skin tans easily
- If you hold a white piece of paper to your face, you notice peachy, yellow, or golden undertones on your skin
- You tend to look better in cream, ivory, and off-white rather than pure white
You have a cool skin tone
- Wrist veins appear blue or purplish in natural light
- There’s a hint of pink or redness to your pale skin
- Your fair skin burns rather than tans
- You have blonde, red, ginger, or strawberry blonde hair
- You have blue or green eyes
- If you hold a white piece of paper to your face, the undertone will be blue
- Crisp, pure white looks good on you
You have a neutral skin tone
- You may experience a mixture of the traits of both cool & warm skin tones
If you do not want to go through this effort, the easy way to figure out your skin tone is to put on gold and silver jewelry pieces and decide which looks better! Try this with different pieces to see the full effect.
You may not be able to determine very well if you just use a pair of earrings. Your hair color and eye color play a part. Even the color of your eyeshadow can influence how it looks. Try a silver or gold necklace and bracelets or bangles to get the best idea.
But, once you know your skin tone, how does this translate into how the jewelry looks on your skin?
Jewelry for Warm Tone Skin
The general expert consensus is that gold is the precious metal that most compliments warm skin tones. This applies to both yellow gold and rose gold, but not white gold. When the same criteria are used to costume jewelry, other yellow metals such as copper, brass, and faux gold are best for warm-toned skin.
The best colors for gemstones or other accents for warm-tones skin are:
- Yellow – e.g., citrine, yellow sapphire, yellow diamond, brown diamond, zircon
- Green – e.g., emerald, peridot, jade, turquoise, agate
- Peach/Pink – e.g., morganite, moonstone, pink sapphire, pink diamond, rose quartz
Other suitable colors are in the neutral spectrum, including creams, pale browns, and pale grays.
This doesn’t automatically rule out other colors. Red, for example, is still a good choice if you stick to pink tones (rather than blue or purple-ish reds), so anything you would describe as rosy red.
Jewelry for Cool Tone Skin
The best precious metals for cool-toned skin are the white ones: sterling silver, white gold, and platinum. For the non-precious metals, any of the silver-colored ones such as tungsten, nickel, rhodium, titanium, and zinc alloy are as equally well suited to cool tone skin.
The best colors for gemstones and other accents for cool-toned skin are:
- Blue – e.g., sapphire, topaz, aquamarine, tanzanite
- Purple – e.g., amethyst, fluorite, jasper
- Red - e.g., ruby, garnet, carnelian
Also, anything that could be described as frosty is a good choice, such as lavender or ice blue.
It is advisable to avoid colors that will clash with your skin. This includes strong oranges, tomato red, and bright yellows.
Jewelry for Dark Skin
Dark skin isn’t generally described as having tones but as a general rule of thumb, follow the suggestions for warmer skin tones. Yellow gold is the best ally for dark skin colors because there are warm natural undertones to darker skin tones.
The earth tones are a spectrum where dark skin is beautifully complemented. Choose jewelry that features creams, stone colors, browns, soft oranges, and rusty reds.
Jewelry for Neutral Skin Tone
If you have a neutral tone, the jewelry world is your oyster, as your skin tone will happily support all white or yellow metals. As for colored gemstones and accents, you can pretty much wear anything on the color wheel, but soft or muted versions of colorwork better than brighter hues.
There are no hard and fast rules when choosing a piece of jewelry. It’s only natural to be drawn to an item that catches your eye, but choosing jewelry that goes well with your skin tone is also essential.
Remember, this is just a guide. If you fall in love with a piece of jewelry and think it looks good on you, it doesn’t matter if you have blue veins, green veins, more relaxed skin tones, or red undertones. Buy it, wear it, and love it.