The optical properties of four different silicon nanowire structures were investigated. Two of the samples consisted of spheres of nanocrystalline silicon en-capsulated by silicon oxide nanowires, with other two consisting of crystalline silicon nanowires coated by silicon oxide shells. The nanostructures produced by oxide assisted growth consisted of spheres of crystalline silicon encapsulated by silicon oxide shells. The absorption and photoluminescence of the different structures of the sample are investigated. The emitting species responsible for photoluminescence across the visible spectrum are discussed.