When we think of stainless steel, we tend to think big – bridges, building supports, industrial kitchens, medical equipment and domestic appliances. But this versatile metal is also perfect for smaller applications too - it even makes great jewellery!
What Makes Stainless Steel Jewellery Popular?
Stainless steel has a bright, shiny finish that lends itself to creative applications. It offers the shine and durability of precious metals, but in an attractive and affordable material. Some jewellery, such as studs and rings used for piercings, needs to be hypo-allergenic and non-reactive, and these are two of the qualities of stainless steel that make it perfect for these items.
Stainless steel is also highly scratch resistant, meaning jewellers can create intricate etched or brushed finishes without damaging the rest of the piece. Its hardwearing durability means jewellery items made from stainless steel will last for years.
Does Stainless Steel Jewellery Tarnish?
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, chromium, nickel and other trace metals. It is highly resistant to corrosion thanks to passivation, a characteristic that makes it less reactive with its environment, thus preventing oxidation. It’s the chromium in the stainless steel that forms a thin protective film invisible to the naked eye, but which guards against staining and discolouration.
Are All Stainless Steel Grades Suitable For Jewellery?
All grades of stainless steel contain some chromium, which gives it its stainless properties, but most stainless steel jewellery is made from what’s known as 316L steel. This alloy has relatively high chromium levels, but only small amounts of nickel and carbon. This makes it ideal for piercings in particular, as these are usually found in low-oxygen environments. Surgical stainless steel is also an excellent choice for body jewellery, as it is extremely hard, meaning its surface won’t easily scratch, creating a home for pathogens, and it won’t tarnish or stain the surrounding skin.
Can Stainless Steel Jewellery Be Coloured?
Stainless steel is almost completely impervious to accidental staining, but it can be deliberately anodised in a wide variety of colours, making it perfect for rings, necklaces and bracelets. Unlike gold, which is quite a soft metal, stainless steel is hard and keeps its shape, making it ideal for people with active lifestyles or who wear theirs all the time.
Stainless Steel Jewellery For Men
Men’s jewellery is usually bigger, thicker and heavier than women’s, so stainless steel is a far more affordable option than platinum or white gold – it looks similar but costs a fraction of the price. Stainless steel watches and watch straps are also very popular with men.
Steelmor has been a leading stockist and manufacturer of all grades of stainless steel for over 40 years. Chat to us today about how we can supply you with the exact grade of stainless steel you need for your next project.