Silver and Gold: Two-Tone Jewelry for Now and Later



“Gold and silver, silver and gold.” So says Yukon Cornelius, the wannabe prospector from the 1964 holiday television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In a chicken-or-egg sort of situation, I wonder which came first: the organic popularity of the two metallic hues ubiquitous during the holiday season or the Burl Ives–sung “Silver and Gold” from Rudolph’s soundtrack. Whichever came first, the colors (and the song) remain a steadfast component of this time of year.

If pressed to choose, it seems that jewelry shoppers have taken to the warmth of yellow gold these past couple of years, at least in terms of fashion pieces (platinum and white gold wedding jewelry remain prominent, though I would be very happy to have retailers comment on this perception). Yellow gold has been dominating the most enticing looks as of late, from chunky signet- and gypsy-style rings to wide-link chains for the wrist and neck. The latest issue of JCK magazine also touts the glory of yellow gold, in a delicious spread that’s sure to make your mouth water (it made me add pomegranates to my grocery list, aside from forging a whole new list of styles to wish for).

Adel Chefridi Shooting Star earrings
Shooting Star earrings in 18k yellow gold and sterling silver with 0.04 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,100; Adel Chefridi
Anthony Lent platinum moonface signet ring
Moonface signet ring in 18k yellow gold and platinum with 0.58 ct. t.w. diamonds, $7,015; Anthony Lent

On the flip side, a recent article on WhoWhatWear.com seems to suggest that yellow gold will soon be edged out by its cooler counterpart, as icy white metals are reportedly the new choice for “fashion insiders.”

Belle Brooke Ray of Light pendant
Ray of Light pendant in 18k yellow gold and sterling silver with 0.21 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,900; Belle Brooke
Eva Stone two-tone ring
Ring in sterling silver and yellow gold, $250; Eva Stone

White metals were out in force on the fashion week 2020 runways, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see that wave return to shore in the coming year—though don’t give away the gold just yet.

Single Stone Quincy ring
Quincy ring in 18k yellow gold and platinum with 0.42 ct. t.w. hexagon rose-cut diamonds, $3,200; Single Stone
Alishan two-tone cuff bracelet
Cuff bracelet in 18k yellow gold and oxidized sterling silver with 0.86 ct. natural rose-cut diamond, $2,445; Alishan

The wax and wane of a metal’s popularity is a natural, well-documented thing—you can see it with a look back at engagement ring trends, for example—but it can be hard to keep up with the changes for some shoppers, particularly because jewelry purchases are often well-thought and hard-earned. Customers can drop a pretty penny on any number of items, set in any choice of metal, and they deserve to be worn for a long time. Yet, there are plenty of people out there who flat-out refuse to mix metals. They might be okay with the purchase of either one, but to wear them all at once? Gasp! It can’t be done.

Anatoli mother of pearl ring
Ring in sterling silver and 18k yellow gold vermeil with mother-of-pearl doublet, price on request; Anatoli
Todd Reed two tone earrings
Mixed-metal earrings in 18k yellow gold and sterling silver with diamonds, price on request; Todd Reed

The solution? A bridge to jewels of all materials living in harmony—two-tone. Silver, white gold, or platinum, paired with yellow gold (or in some cases, vermeil).

Eriness diamond signet ring
Signet ring in 14k yellow and white gold with 1.2 cts. t.w. diamonds, $3,650; Eriness

Yukon Cornelius was onto something for certain. That combination of sterling silver and yellow gold is often found in an array of designer pieces (though, again, the white part isn’t necessarily silver). Calling pieces like these simply “two-tone” doesn’t do them justice, though, because the choice of mixed metal feels more artful than just wanting to use more than one. Most shoppers wouldn’t purchase them purely for their dual-metal nature, but they do help to show there is room for everyone on the nice list. Speaking of lists, these are worthy of more than a few holiday wishes this year.

Top: Pebble dangle earrings in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver with 0.05 ct. t.w. diamonds, $1,340; K.Mita Design

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