The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Jewelry

Stainless steel is a popular material for jewelry because it’s affordable and durable. Unlike other softer materials, it can withstand most daily activities without sustaining corrosion and scratches. Plus, it doesn’t tarnish so it looks good even with minimal maintenance.

It's also excellent for those who are allergic to certain metals or prefer to avoid silver and gold. Stainless steel jewelry has many advantages, but before you go ahead and buy stainless steel jewelry, here are some things you need to know.

What Is Stainless Steel Jewelry?

An alloy of carbon and iron, stainless steel is made up of at least 10.5% chromium and at most 1.2% carbon. This is combined with other alloys like nickel and titanium for durability and other advantageous properties.

Apart from its durability and low maintenance, stainless steel is a great material for jewelry because it can have a variety of finishes, including brushed, engraved, matte, and glossy. It’s also oftentimes used in interior design, street fixtures, and kitchen tools.

Pros

Let’s explore the various advantages of using stainless steel jewelry in greater detail.

It Doesn't Rust

Stainless steel jewelry won’t rust as long as the protective layer of chromium on it is maintained. It also doesn't oxidize like bronze or brass so it won’t change color over time.

It Doesn't Get Scratched Easily

Stainless steel jewelry doesn’t get scratched or damaged easily like other metals. It also doesn't need to be polished or buffed as often as silver, gold, and platinum.

It Is Hypoallergenic

Being hypoallergenic means that it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. It doesn't affect the body or cause any adverse effects on the skin.

It Is Recyclable and Environmentally Friendly

Stainless steel jewelry is infinitely recyclable with an almost 100% recovery rate. If it comes in contact with other elements, it remains environmentally inert and neutral without absorbing compounds that could alter its composition.

Because of this, stainless steel jewelry is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to make more sustainable choices.

Stainless Steel Is Completely Safe

Stainless steel is also biocompatible, so stainless steel has no biological or chemical effects on the body.  It doesn't leach into your blood, cause any adverse effects, and won't interfere with any medications or medical procedures.

It Matches Most Outfits

Stainless steel jewelry goes with most outfits, from casual wear to formal attire. You can dress it up or down depending on the occasion.

Cons

With so many benefits, you may wonder if there are any drawbacks to stainless steel jewelry. However, there are a few disadvantages to take note of:

Value Doesn’t Appreciate

Since stainless steel jewelry is usually affordable, you can’t expect it to go up in value, unlike more expensive accessories.

Prone to Dents

This type of jewelry is particularly durable but it isn’t completely invulnerable. It can still get dented over time, especially if it comes in contact with heavy and sharp objects or abrasive surfaces.

How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Jewelry

Stainless steel isn’t likely to get scratched, corrode, or tarnish but it may become dull after some time. If you want your jewelry to maintain its new look, you should care for it properly. Here's how you can do it:

Method 1: Soap and Water

Soap and water are excellent for removing debris and excess oils. Avoid oversaturating the jewelry in water because this will ruin it.

  1. Place your stainless steel jewelry in a large bowl with warm water. Add three drops of mild soap.
  2. With a soft and non-abrasive cloth, gently scrub your jewelry, following the grain and with gentle strokes.
  3. To get rid of any excess dirt or grime, use a soft-bristled brush (like an old toothbrush).
  4. Rinse off dirt and soap with clean water and dry your jewelry with a soft cloth.

    Pro Tip: Don’t use toothpaste, paper towels, and polishing cloths. These can leave marks and damage the other metals or stones in your jewelry.

    Method 2: Microfiber Cloth

    Soap and water can leave behind marks on stainless steel jewelry if you don't rinse it properly. To clean your jewelry quickly, a microfiber cloth and some elbow grease go a long way.

    • With a soft microfiber cloth, gently rub your jewelry along the grain to get rid of debris and dust.
    • For more stubborn dirt, use a damp cloth for more cleaning power.

    Although stainless steel is difficult to scratch, you should rub the microfiber cloth in the direction of its grain to avoid agitating small particles that could cause micro-abrasions to your jewelry.

    Tips for Maintaining Your Stainless Steel Jewelry

    Even though stainless steel is a durable material for jewelry, you should still take care of it properly if you want to keep it looking shiny and new for years to come. Here are some tips on how to care for your stainless steel jewelry:

    • Try to clean your stainless steel jewelry about once a month or often if it gets dirty. Cleaning it and maintaining it often will help it last a long time.
    • Keep your pieces away from chemicals like bleach and detergents. Regular exposure to them can cause discoloration
    • Store your pieces in separate compartments so they don’t rub against each other during storage. This will protect them from scratches and other damage caused by abrasion and impact.

    How To Style Stainless Steel Jewelry

    Stainless steel jewelry comes in countless designs and styles. You can get stainless steel necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings. If you’re into piercings, there are also many stainless steel options for you.

    Because it’s such a durable and affordable material, you’ll find it in every style, from classic jewelry to more modern and sleek aesthetics.

    For more style inspiration, allow us to share a few ideas on how to wear it:

    1. Wear stainless steel jewelry with other metals. This will add contrast and make you look more interesting.
    2. Put on some bold earrings! Whether you go for large hoops, dangling, or threader styles, you’re sure to find many statement earrings in this trusty material.
    3. Add some sparkle to your look by incorporating accessories with some bling in them. Consider pairing your stainless steel jewelry with zirconia or diamond earrings and shiny metals like gold and silver.
    4. Wear it with other neutral colors. Stainless steel is a great accent color because it will go with pretty much anything. You can pair it with black, white, or pastel tones. Pick something that compliments your skin tone and eye color! For example, if you have dark hair and eyes, consider wearing a bold piece of jewelry with a dark accent color.

    FAQs

    You're probably asking yourself many questions about stainless steel jewelry right now, but that's alright! We’ve come prepared. Here are some common questions people ask about stainless steel jewelry.

    How often should I clean my jewelry?

    It's best to clean your stainless steel jewelry about once a month. This will help prevent any build-up of dirt and oil and prevent discoloration and dents over time.

    Does stainless steel jewelry fade?

    Unlike other metals, stainless steel does not fade so you can enjoy its sheen for a long time. It’s also durable and won’t get scratched easily. Just make sure to give it the care it needs to keep it looking new and shiny.

    Is stainless steel jewelry waterproof?

    Yes! Stainless steel jewelry will not only resist tap water; it can also withstand rain and many types of liquids. So, if you accidentally get it wet, wipe it off. The only thing you should avoid is wearing your stainless steel jewelry while swimming in sulfur baths.

    Is stainless steel jewelry hypoallergenic?

    Yes! Stainless steel jewelry is hypoallergenic, so it won’t cause skin irritations or allergic reactions. Stainless steel jewelry is safe for people of all ages and lifestyles.

    Can I wear stainless steel jewelry while working out?

    Yes! Stainless steel jewelry is durable enough to withstand almost any activity. You can wear your stainless steel rings while working out without worrying about them breaking or damaging them.

    Does stainless steel rust?

    Despite its name, stainless steel can rust. However, its chromium content gives it a lot of protection and rust resistance. If it keeps getting exposed to harmful elements, it’s more prone to rust, damage, and tarnishing.

    The Takeaway

    Stainless steel jewelry is an affordable and versatile style staple.  It can complement and enhance most outfits and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It's also a good choice if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to other metals.

    With the right care and regular cleaning, however, you can enjoy your stainless steel jewelry for years.

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