Choosing the Right Metal for Your Skin Tone

The amount of incredible handmade jewelry out there can be overwhelming - not only must you decide on the style you are going for, but the metal, too. While most of us probably have a preference when it comes to the type of jewelry we like (think yellow gold versus platinum or white gold), we don’t often think about the role our skin tone plays in selecting jewelry. However, your skin tone is one of your best resources when it comes to determining what works. Sure, your best friend’s opinion still matters, but next time you are trying on jewelry, take into consideration how it makes your skin look.


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​How Do I Determine My Skin Tone?
Given the fact jewelry is the skin’s best accessory, it’s important to choose statement pieces that represent your personality and complement your skin tone. Most people’s skin tone falls into one of two categories - cool or warm. If you aren’t sure where you fit in, look at the color of the veins located on the inside of your arm. Much of our skin can be affected by natural elements, like the sun, so it is a good idea to look at an area that remains the same regardless of the season. Once you’ve taken a good look at your wrist or the inside of your arm, you should have a better idea of if your skin is considered cool or warm.

If you notice a blue tinge to your veins, you have cool skin tones. People with a hint of green to their veins generally have warm skin tones. Of course there are varying degrees of this, so just use your best judgement and remember this is all in good fun and fashion! Take this little quiz to learn more other factors that can determine your skin tone - go for it :-)

Do you tan or burn easily?
Yes - People who quickly tan have warmer skin tones
No - Those who burn after just a few minutes in the hot sun typically have cool skin tones
What is your natural hair color?
Red or strawberry blonde - You have cooler skin tones and should favor silver, platinum, and white gold
Brown or black - You are on the warmer side of the spectrum and should look for pieces made from gold or copper
​When you hold up a piece of water paper to your face, do you see yellow or blue undertones?
Yellow - You have warm skin
Blue - You have cool skin​



​Does Gold or Silver Look Better on Dark Skin
Now that we’ve gone over the different skin tones and how to determine whether you have cool or warm skin, let’s get to the fun stuff. We all know the feeling when we lay our eyes on that perfect necklace or stunning pair of earrings, but does it go with your whole vibe? You are probably drawn to specific pieces because of your style preferences, but before you take the plunge and treat yourself, consider whether the metal will complement or clash with your skin tone.

For individuals with cool skin tones, jewelry crafted of platinum and white gold are excellent choices. Consider gems like blue sapphire, amethyst, aquamarine, ruby, emerald, opal, and tanzanite. Those with warm skin tones should be drawn towards yellow gold or rose gold, as they are an exquisite complement to your warm complexion. Look for gemstones like alexandrite, citrine, garnet, morganite, peridot, ruby, garnet, and even fancy yellow diamonds if you are feeling it.

When it comes to darker skin tones, as a general rule of thumb you’ll want to highlight the warm hues. Look for pieces made from yellow gold, as it is a warm-toned person’s closest ally. People with darker skin have natural undertones of warmth that gold jewelry can bring out - and the result is quite stunning, if you ask me. Earth tones are another ‘yes’ for people with darker skin. It is always important to choose jewelry that go well with your skin tone, as the wrong color or metal can make you appear unhealthy or your skin dull.

As you can see below, gold is a great metal for this warm toned lady: 


​Does Zinc Alloy Jewelry Turn Your Skin Green? ​
We’ve all been there before - you get home from work and take off your favorite ring, only to notice your skin is green. The piece certainly wasn’t cheap, so what gives? This happens because of the specific metal content in the piece of jewelry. Sometimes it’s a chemical reaction between the acids in your skin and the type of metal, other times it may be a reaction between another substance on your skin (like lotion or sunscreen) with the metal. Zinc alloy is one of the most common metals associated with this unsightly green color. There are numerous reasons for this, but it most likely means that the piece of jewelry has some amount of brass (copper and zinc alloy) in its composition.

While there’s no concrete set of rules when it comes to selecting jewelry and finding the right metals to highlight your skin, the above should give you a good place to start. As a jewelry designer, I take great pride in creating pieces that work for all different women, regardless of skin tone or background. One of my favorite things about designing jewelry is thinking about all the possibilities of who will end up wearing one of my lariats or earrings. There is something magical about the unknown when it comes to the jewelry-making and designing process!

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