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Stainless steel jewelry is on an uptrend.
This is not a surprise as its pros outweigh its cons.
Stainless steel has many advantages and few points on the downside.
Most notable advantages of stainless steel are durability, availability, price, variety, environmentally friendliness, safety and low maintenance needs.
On the other side, stainless steel pieces may be difficult to resize, highly rigid and they may contain nickel.
Now let’s have a closer look at stainless steel jewelry pros and cons.
Pros of Stainless Steel Jewelry
Stainless steel is a durable and hard alloy fit for everyday wear and tear.
It clearly outperforms softer metals like sterling silver or white gold.
Stainless steel offer high scratch resistance which means you can enjoy a brighter smoother look for a long time.
Stainless steel pieces are very popular.
They can be found in many retailers offline or online.
And there is no shortage of designs from wedding bands to bracelets to necklaces.
Precious metals like gold and platinum may have high price tags.
Stainless steel pieces are nearly always cheaper then these alternatives.
Steel is not a precious metal like gold or silver.
Thus, stainless steel rings are much more affordable.
As steel jewelry is very popular designers have made a gazillion designs.
If you can imagine a stainless steel ring, you can probably find it with little effort.
5. Environmentally friendly
Being eco-friendly is an advantage in a world full of pollution.
Luckily, stainless steel is one of the eco-friendliest metal alloys when it comes to jewelry.
Not only is it recyclable, very little energy is used in production.
Furthermore, it doesn’t cause so much waste, unlike other metals.
These are big green check marks for environmental conscious jewelry lovers.
Some metals may cause itching and color change on sensitive skin.
To avoid such consequences, you should choose hypoallergenic metals for your jewelry.
Stainless steel is hypoallergenic, as long as it is nickel free.
Nickel is many times the culprit of allergies in jewelry.
Although no one can guarantee zero reactions, it is advised to choose hypoallergenic nickel-free metals.
In the case of stainless steel, surgical level stainless steel like 316L type stainless steel is a good choice.
This steel is used to make surgery equipment, and also jewelry!
Stainless steel is a non-toxic metal which is a good isolator!
This alloy is widely used in the food industry, biomedical and surgeries.
It is a safe metal in terms of electrical conductivity.
Steel is a poor conductor.
Thus it can only pass low unharmful voltages.
8. Low maintenance
Stainless steel rings are easy to clean.
Wiping with a soft cloth or using a lukewarm soft soap dip will suffice to clean it.
Cons of Stainless Steel Jewelry
1. Difficult to resize
There are many instances when rings come in the wrong sizes, which means they have to be adjusted to fit your finger.
Nevertheless, this is very difficult due to how rigid and strong the metal is.
Finger sizes may also change with age, which again will bring the need to resize.
In this case, the high tensile properties of steel may prevent the ring to be resized easily, if it is even possible.
2. High rigidity
Stainless steel is a durable metal which scratch resistance.
That means that you can choose it for everyday wear with confidence.
However, this confidence should be replaced by attention when placing in a jewelry box.
As stainless steel rings and bracelets are very hard, they may scratch softer members of your collection like 925 silver or rose gold.
You should also pay attention to rings and earrings with gemstones as they might get damaged by friction with steel pieces.
Happily, there is an easy solution: just use zip-lock bags or soft pouches.
This will keep your pieces separate and prevent any direct physical contact in box or jewelry armoire.
3. Nickel presence
Stainless steel rings should be made of high quality steel alloys like 316L steel.
This is surgical level stainless steel and it is hypoallergenic.
316L stainless steel jewelry is safe for most people.
However, if your steel alloy contains nickel that might be a problem.
Simply avoid steel alloys containing nickel.
The Verdict: Should You Buy Stainless Steel Jewelry?
When you want to pick a new jewelry, your options are beyond gold and silver alloys.
Stainless steel rings are strong alternatives gaining ground with a high pace.
This is not surprising as steel pieces combine cool silvery looks with a pleasing price tag.
However, looks and price are not the only advantages of stainless steel pieces.
They bring much more to the table like durability, low maintenance and being eco-friendly.
These clearly dominates its cons like being hard to resize, in some cases.
Just make sure you pick high quality stainless steel rings made from 316L type steel or similar.
Avoid any pieces that includes nickel or fails to confirm its standard.
You may also want to check our post on Damascus steel rings pros and cons, which looks at a similar steel alloy with exceptional surface patterns.