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Does gold or silver jewellery suit me best? How to pick the metal that most flatters your skin tone

Above: Anita wears the Large Gold Teardrop Earrings from Elin Horgan Jewellery

Does silver suit some people better whilst others find gold more flattering?

I wanted to look into this in more detail after a discussion on one of my Instagram posts about whether people preferred gold or silver. The general consensus seemed to be that people liked silver when they were younger, but started to find gold more flattering as they got older.

It got me thinking – are their changes in your skin as you age that could explain this or is gold just having a ‘moment’ right now and so people are sub consciously choosing it as its more popular and on trend?

I just want to preface this blog post by saying that I don’t for one minute think that anyone should feel they can only wear what’s deemed to ‘suit’ them. I’m am a big advocate of just wearing what the heck you want…if you like it, then go for it! However, I did find it interesting to learn more about why some metals can look more flattering than others on certain skin tones and so am sharing that below...

What’s your skin undertone?

So, first things first….how on earth do you work out what your skin’s undertone is? Regardless of skin colour everyone falls into the category of warm, cool or neutral when it comes to their undertone. Most people will find that the tone or colour of their skin changes a shade or two depending on the time of year, but their undertone will stay the same.

Not sure whether you’re a warm, cool or neutral undertone? Here are some fail safe tips for establishing which group you fall into…

  • If you burn easily when you’re out in the sun without protection then you probably have a cool undertone, whereas if you tan you have a warm. If you burn first and then tan you have a neutral undertone.

  • Check the veins on the inside of your wrist – if they look blueish in natural daylight then you’re probably cool toned, more green then you most likely have a warm undertone

  • Put on a white top or hold a sheet of white paper up to your face. Does your face look pink or more yellow by comparison? If it’s got a pinkish, rosy feel then the chances are that you’re cool toned. If it’s more of a yellow colour then you’re probably a warm undertone. If you suit bright white as much as creamier off white colours then you might have a neutral undertone

Does your skin’s undertone change as you get older?

No. Although the colour of your skin might change as you age (often becoming a few shades darker), the undertone should remain the same.

Above: The Gold Juno Medium Stud Earrings from Elin Horgan Jewellery are perfect for those whose skin has a warm undertone

Will gold or silver jewellery suit me best?

As a general rule, gold jewellery tends to flatter warm undertones more whereas white metals such as silver, platinum and white gold look better on paler skin with a cool undertone. Rose gold straddles the line somewhere between the two and so looks equally as good on those with warm or cool undertones. However, you might want to avoid it if your skin has a pinkish tint to it as it will accentuate it.

Those who suit gold jewellery might like to try pieces with a really rich warm gold colour, such as these handmade Gold Ceres Small Circle Stud Earrings or the larger version the Gold Juno Medium Circle Earrings. Both have a lovely subtle texture which really catches the light when they're worn.

Silver lovers will like the Silver Parallel Hoops and the Silver Vesta Hoops which are both light and comfortable enough for everyday wear. Or you could choose the Silver Meteorite Necklace which is the ultimate timeless design and has been one of my bestselling pieces for a number of years.

I actually think the tone of your skin makes a difference too. In my opinion, darker skins can totally rock gold AND silver, but those with pale skin and a warm understone can look a little washed out in gold. I guess the rules are, there are no rules!

Above: Mixing gold and silver like these bold geometric rings from Elin Horgan Jewellery always looks good

Will the colour of my clothing make a difference to whether I can wear gold or silver jewellery?

What you're wearing and your make up can have an impact too. For example, if you're going for some cool pastel shades - a baby blue, lilac or minty green - then silver is going to look great. For richer more autumnal tones - browns and deep berry reds - then gold is a winner. If you're wearing black then either works brilliantly or go wild and wear both. I'm a BIG fan of mixed metals for a really modern look. If you'd like some tips on how to make this trend work for you then check out my other blog post Mixed metals: 10 tips for wearing gold & silver jewellery together

Or, if you're looking for some handmade jewellery inspiration in silver and gold then read on below for my top picks:

Above: the SIilver Meteorite Necklace from Elin Horgan Jewellery is ideal for anyone with a cool skin undertone

Jewellery for silver lovers

If you're searching for a classic pair of silver stud earrings that you'll wear all the time then the Silver circle stud earrings tick all the boxes. If circles aren't your thing then why not try the Silver meteorite stud earrings? These also come in a mini version which are great on their own for a second or third piercing.

If larger earrings are more your thing then you'll adore the Luna and Nova hoop earrings which have detachable charms so you can wear them as plain hoops if you wish. These clever Mid drop earrings by Scottish jeweller Heather Woof are also beautifully simple, but really impactful.

For necklaces, why not wear your happy and choose the Silver Smiley Sun Necklace? These cute little guys are individually hand carved and so each one is completely unique. They're so delightful they can't fail to lift your mood!

I'm also obsessed with Kassandra Lauren Gordon's Anchored Silver Pendant Petite which is the perfect modern take on the classic anchor necklace. Or you could go super statement with this fabulous Short flight silver necklace from one of my favourite jewellers Simone Brewster.

Above: Gold lovers will adore the Gold Rhea Pendant (layered here with the Gold Meteorite Necklace), both from Elin Horgan Jewellery

Jewellers for gold lovers

For those who want to dabble with gold then the Gold twisted midi hoop earrings are a greaet place to start. These are super lightweight and really comfortable to wear all day and come in mini, midi and maxi sizes so there's a version to suit everyone. Gold hoops are one of those jewellery box staples that will add a bit a oomph to any outfit.

If you want something subtle then these eyecatching Gold circle/triangle earrings are a great option. The unique interlocking design means that they move freely with the wearer creating lots of different shape juxtapositions.

If necklaces are more your thing then try the Gold Double Circle Necklace which is simple and subtle enough for everyday wear. You could even layer it with another piece on a longer or shorter chain such as the Gold Rhea Pendant which is hand carved from wax then cast in recycled silver and finished with a 23.7ct hard gold plating.

For anyone looking to invest in a solid gold keepsake design then do check out Adriana Chede's Initial birthstone necklace which can be personalised with the letter and the birthstone of your choice making it an extra special investment piece. For a more affordable take on this idea then try Edge of Ember's Initial & birthstone necklace in 18ct gold plated recycled silver.

I'd love to know what you think about this topic you stick to just one metal? Have your tastes changed over time? Or does it depend on your mood, the occassion or what you're wearing?

Elin Horgan designs and creates handmade jewellery in her Bristol studio. Elin’s beautifully simple handmade jewellery is carefully crafted and designed to be worn every day. You can read more about Elin’s work and the ethos behind her understated jewellery brand on her About Elin Horgan Jewellery page.

If you’d like to enquire about a specific product or discuss a custom piece of jewellery, please have a look at the Bespoke Handmade Jewellery page or email


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