Both white bronze and sterling silver will eventually show signs of tarnishing over time. While sterling silver will tarnish into a grayish darker color, white bronze takes on more of a yellow hue/tarnish as it ages. Because of this, polished white bronze and sterling silver side by side might look almost identical, while a noticeable difference can be seen when comparing tarnished white bronze and sterling silver. If a person wears a lot of silver jewelry alongside a white bronze buckle you might be able to visually see the difference as it ages but when worn by itself a white bronze piece can be mistaken for sterling silver even when it has tarnished considerably. Much of our sample line that we take to wholesale shows is cast in white bronze and when polished, the clients don't know the difference unless the pieces are handled due to white bronze’s lower weight.
If you are trying to decide between purchasing a white bronze or sterling silver belt buckle, reviewing the pros and cons below might help in your decision. Either way, whether you purchase a white bronze belt buckle or a sterling silver belt buckle, you are getting a hand carved, hand signed work of wearable art in which we have dedicated an equal amount of attention to detail and workmanship in both metals.
White Bronze Pros:
-Looks almost identical to sterling silver when maintained and polished.
-Low cost in comparison to sterling silver.
-Can be silver plated for a cost effective way to have the look of true silver.
-Possible alternative for those who are allergic to nickel.*
*(White bronze contains a max of 2% nickel so there could still be a reaction.)
White Bronze Cons:
-Is a base metal not a precious metal therefore will never be as valuable as sterling silver.
-Tarnishes differently (more of a yellow hue) than sterling silver (a grayish hue) which may cause the white bronze piece to stand out or look like what it is (an alternate metal) when compared to other sterling silver jewelry you might be wearing.
-Comes hand signed but not numbered like the sterling silver buckles.
While white bronze & sterling silver can be hand polished with a cloth to bring back much of there luster, if you truly wish to return a buckle back to its original high polished finish you would need to have it buffed on a motorized buffing machine. A skilled buffer can buff a piece without removing much of the dark oxidation detail that was originally hand applied. For more information on care and cleaning of your white bronze buckle, please see our Care & Cleaning section.