If you look on the metal there will be markings if its 925 it is silver, 950 platinum and 375 9ct gold or 750 its 18ct gold. There are other markings as well and depending on carat of gold may be different. Silver is very soft and scratches, it tarnishes but you can get silver cleaner and it will bring the silver up sparkling again, White gold however is still fairly soft nowhere near as soft as silver. Downside to white gold is its naturally a pale yellow and they use something called Rhodium to plate it a nice white colour, this will wear off after time. Depends on your skin type as too how long and what you do, like wash up, keep on all time, hand creams. Can be anywhere from a few weeks to 1-2 years. It has a lot of maintenance to it if you want it to keep its just bought look and can be fairly costly. This is not a fault with the gold though so hence why you won't ever get it done free unless as a gesture of goodwill. Also if it has scratches on it can be difficult to cover them when plating. If you want less hassle the only pure white metal is platinum or palladium. Platinum is very expensive and you should only wear metals of the same type together as platinum if worn against white gold will wear it down as it so hard. Palladium is cheaper but harder to find as isn't hallmarked yet and so is cheaper at the moment, but it can't be altered at all as it makes the metal brittle if altered after its been manufactured. Another downside for silver is you’re only get semi precious stones in as it too soft to hold something like a diamond securely.
Platinum Enhanced Sterling Silver Jewellery
Silver seems to be in with a capital 'I'. More and more people are turning away from the expensive spectrum of jewellery like gold & platinum set with diamonds or other precious stones in favour of rhodium plated silver set with cubic zirconia's and other semi precious stones. The process of rhodium plating has given silver a whole new look, but most people do not even know what rhodium is.
Rhodium is from the platinum family of precious metals and is one of the rarest elements on earth! Rhodium is bright white in colour and extremely hard making it ideal for jewellery plating as its very scratch resistant. Rhodium has been used for the last few years to plate silver jewellery as it is very resistant to corrosion, so will protect your silver from tarnishing. The rhodium gives silver a shine that looks like white gold or platinum and with it still being a precious metal it means that you are not compromising with quality, just saving money. Rhodium plating or "platinum enhanced sterling silver" as it's sometimes known, means that your silver will not go dull and grey like silver items from previous generations, but instead will sparkle brightly like platinum.
Major fashion houses like Tiffany are producing some stunning lines in rhodium plated silver, along with other major designers like Gucci and Christian Dior. When rhodium plated jewellery is combined with semi precious stones, you get a very desirable look at a very affordable price. This allows people to change their jewellery much more frequently than before due to the affordability and wear it without the great fear of loss that we all have when wearing an expensive piece of jewellery. This also makes fantastic common sense as more and more of the countries police authorities advise against the wearing of any expensive jewellery when out in a busy place at night like London etc.
The semi precious stones for next season have to be peridot and bright cubic zirconia, there is still a strong influence of men and women wearing cubic zirconia instead of diamonds. The quality of cubic zirconia are so good now it is very difficult to tell the difference between a CZ and a good quality diamond. For a fashion item why spend hundreds on a diamond when a CZ will cost a fraction of the price, look very much the same and do the same job?
The future of jewellery and in particular silver is rosy. Women will always want jewellery, and no woman will ever have enough earrings or rings in her jewellery box. Silver is becoming a more precious and scarce material. With modern manufacturing and high standards of machine jewellery rather than hand made items the versatility is not only promising but also a method to be watched intently.