stainless steel watch

Does Stainless Steel Rust Or Tarnish?

stainless steel watch

Stainless steel jewelry does not rust or tarnish.

Just like gold or platinum, stainless steel is safe to wear.

That’s why we see so many different stainless steel watch designs on the market.

However, “Does Stainless Steel Rust Or Tarnish?” is not the only question a savvy jewelry buyer would ask.

Luckily, we’ve got you covered with all answers to important questions related to stainless steel jewelry!

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is a general name used for a group of iron alloys which includes chromium.

The addition of chromium significantly increases resistance to be rusting.

Metals included in this group of alloys are aluminium, nitrogen, sulfur, titanium, nickel, copper and niobium, besides others.

Chromium works also averts corrosion by forming a protective outer layer on the steel surface.

Different types of stainless steel are widely used nowadays.

In households, kitchen appliances, factories, construction, military, biomedical and chemical plants, we can see an abundance of stainless steel pieces and machinery.

Surgical level 316L stainless steel is used is operations, and it is safe for the human body.

This steel is also a good choice for jewelry.

It is hypoallergenic meaning very unlikely to cause any itching or allergies.

Another nice property of stainless steel is the ability to recycle it many times.

Steel is easily recycled.

Stainless steel parts are melted and used for the production new materials.

It is a very eco-friendly material and can be used many times.

Does stainless steel rust?

Stainless steel does not rust.

While stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, different steel alloys show various levels of performance.

The resistance is due to chromium in the alloys but the overall defiance of corrosion, is affected by its percentage and the presence of other metals.

When exposed to air, on the surface of stainless steel, chromium will go into oxidation and form chromium oxide.

These molecules will form a oxide layer covering the surface.

This protective layer will prevent corrosion and ensure a long life.

Does stainless steel tarnish like sterling silver jewelry?

Tarnish is the black sections that form on outer layers of metals.

These stem from oxidation with hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur compounds in air.

While sterling or 925 silver does, stainless steel does not tarnish.

Will stainless steel turn your finger green?

Stainless steel rings will not turn your finger to a green color like copper or brass jewelry.

You can prefer 316L type stainless steel for your jewelry.

Can you swim with stainless steel?

Stainless steel does not rust or corrode.

It does not react with sea water.

However, if you want to swim in a pool, you should be aware of chlorine.

This chemical may play badly with your jewelry.

How to clean stainless steel jewelry

Stainless steel pieces are very easy to clean with products already available at home.

There is no need to buy commercial cleaning solutions.

It suffices to have a soft cloth, mild soap and lukewarm water.

  1. Pour some warm water in a bowl and add few drops of dishwashing soap.
  2. Dip the cloth into the bowl and wipe your steel pieces.
  3. After they are all clean and shiny, make sure there is no residues of soap left behind.
  4. Dry your jewelry with a clean cloth or towel and let it dry completely.

This simple method will restore the luster back to your jewelry.

How to store stainless steel jewelry

Stainless steel is a hard and durable metal.

It is scratch resistant, but it can scratch softer materials like other jewelry in your jewelry box.

Gold and silver pieces have lower scores than stainless steel, which has an 8-8.5 rating on the Mohs scale of hardness.

This means that gold and sterling pieces should be kept away from steel jewelry.

You may keep them separate drawers or store each piece in a zip lock bag or soft cloth pouch until next use.

The Verdict

Stainless steel jewelry has many benefits.

It is durable and scratch resistant.

This hard alloy has a very high level of corrosion resistance.

Stainless steel will be one of the hardest pieces in your jewelry box.

This is why it may cause scratches on other pieces like gold jewelry.

So, it is always a good idea to keep steel pieces separate from softer ones.

A simple solution is to keep them in different chambers or soft pouches inside your jewelry armoire.

Stainless steel does not tarnish like sterling silver.

It is not a precious metal: it is cheaper than gold, platinum or palladium.

You can also safely swim or go for a shower with your stainless steel pieces.

Stainless steel can get wet unlike brass, which might cause a color change on your skin.

It does not corrode, it does not rust.

In the presence of oxygen in air, chromium will turn into chromium oxide on the outer parts of stainless steel.

This oxidation will form a protective layer blocking corrosion and rust.

Nevertheless, not all stainless steel pieces are the same.

Make sure you choose surgical level 316L stainless steel for your jewelry.

This class of steel is hypoallergenic: in other words, very unlikely to cause any undesired effects.