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close up of a woman's hand wearing silver rings

If you have darker skin, you shouldn't have to worry about whether you can pull off gold or silver jewelry. Let’s be clear — either metal will look striking, so you can feel comfortable picking a piece of jewelry that aligns with your personal taste. But maybe you’ve found a stunning gold necklace that also is available in silver and you need to decide between them. Or perhaps you are surprising someone else with a gift. Let’s get your cards out on the table and admit that it’s the kind of gift that most likely comes with a marriage proposal. While you’ve done your research on size and style, you completely neglected to consider how the right metal would look against your partner’s skin, which happens to be a different shade than your own.

So does gold or silver look better on dark skin? Whether you are choosing for yourself or someone else with a dark skin tone, we’ve outlined some factors to consider as you make the final call.

Browse All Affordable Engagement Rings That Complement Any Skin Tone

Understanding Undertones

The first step is to determine the skin undertone. You might not have realized that your skin even had undertones that are distinct from the surface color. To be fair, these two categories are especially confusing because people often use “skin tone” to refer to both the undertone and the surface color because they each contribute to your skin’s overall hue. 

While the surface color of your skin can change with exposure to the sun or through aging, the undertone remains the same. Surface colors are often described in terms of shade (fair to dark), while undertones use a thermal scale (cool, warm and neutral). Generally speaking, cooler undertones accompany fairer skin — but remember, the undertone isn’t necessarily tethered to the surface pigmentation. Many people are surprised to learn that dark skin can have cool undertones and fair skin can have warm undertones. Alek Wek, Lupita Nyong'o and Mindy Kaling all share cool undertones, while Blake Lively and Claire Danes feature warm tones.

woman wearing a gold ring giving someone a hug

So, how do you identify a skin’s undertone? The easiest test is to hold up the inside of the wrist to the light. If the veins are green, then you likely are dealing with a warm undertone. If they appear more blue or purple, then you have a cool undertone. 

Granted, sometimes it’s just easy to tell. If you have really warm undertones, you probably already notice red undertones in your skin and that warmer colors flatter you well. If that’s the case, well, case closed. If it’s not that easy, there are other options!

An alternative test is the gold and silver method, which is where our original question comes back into play. Generally speaking, gold jewelry basks in warm undertones, while silver jewelry finds a cooler environment more refreshing. But what if you are hesitating between gold and silver and people you trust assure you that each is equally flattering? Congratulations — you might have discovered a neutral skin undertone! Neutral skin tones (and neutral undertones, of course) have the widest range of options, being able to pull off golds and silvers with ease.

If you have olive skin, you actually have a combination of all skin undertones (warm, cool and neutral). So good news — you look great in all different types of metal styles!

If you’re on the fence, yellow gold is almost always the way to go. Unless you’re sure you have a cool skin tone, yellow gold is an ideal starting point whether you have a darker skin tone or a lighter skin color. 

What About Rose Gold and Other Colors?

You might be wondering how rose gold engagement rings fit into the equation. While rose gold leans towards the warmer side of the spectrum, it is an amiable companion for all skin undertones, though folks with fairer skin might be wary of pairing it with a sunburn. Granted, that’s also because people with fairer skin are likelier to have cool undertones. Cool undertones can still wear rose gold, of course, but you’ll want to use it more sparingly. If nothing else, that’ll be a good reminder to wear sunscreen, so maybe rose gold jewelry is a good idea overall!

Shop Rose Gold Engagement Rings

It’s important to realize that there is an entire sea of variables at work when you are making a decision like this, from hair color to wardrobe aesthetic. Consider your ring as part of an ecosystem of different metals and clothing styles. The ring itself might be bringing some additional colors to the party, so if you are looking for gemstone engagement rings, know that crisp dazzlers like rubies, emeralds and sapphires suit cool undertones while molten luminaries like topaz and fire opal are eager to share the warmth.

dark skinned woman wearing gold and silver rings

Find a Ring as Beautiful as the Skin You’re in

The point is that while it’s good to know the ideal metal to match to your skin’s undertone for tiebreaker purposes, you shouldn’t feel like those undertones are boxing you in either. Just because you have a warm skin tone doesn’t mean you’re forever barred from silver jewelry and only allowed to wear golds and other things associated with warm skin tones. The likelihood is that no one is going to notice but you, so if you like it, you’re fine. 

For what it’s worth, if you have pale skin, you may have a harder time pulling off the widest range of colors than someone with olive or dark brown skin. That’s no big deal, though! One, if you like it, you’re fine. Two, if you have the right jewelry, you’re good. Sure, you probably want to lean into silvers that’ll make your skin look slightly warmer to balance it out. However, you can still mix and match your jewelry to do some fun accents with gold. 

If the person wearing the ring thinks it looks good on their finger, there is no need to flip over the wrist to inspect the veins. You can instead focus on making sure that the sourcing and craftsmanship are above board. No matter what undertones are in play, you don’t want the kind of ring that rusts or turns your finger green. That’s why Modern Gents places so much emphasis on trustworthy materials, from 925 sterling silver to tungsten carbide. We also make returns and exchanges easy so that you can ensure that you don’t just end up with a flattering option, but feel confident you made the best choice.

Learn More About Our Hassle-Free Returns Here

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