Why Stainless Steel Jewelry?
When at all possible, we prefer to find solid stainless steel jewelry. It’s our favorite. Because we’re smart.
It used to be that inexpensive jewelry was very poor quality and short-lived, while durable quality jewelry was expensive. That’s just not true anymore. Here’s why we love stainless steel jewelry, and we do our best to find these items.
- It’s hypoallergenic.
- Unlike cheaper copper and zinc alloys, stainless steel doesn’t react with your skin, won’t turn it green, and is perfect for people with metal sensitivities. Much like pure gold.
- Cheaper alloys can create a chemical reaction between the acids in your skin and the type of metal in the jewelry, or react with another substance on your skin, like your hand cream.
- It doesn’t tarnish, rust, or fade.
- This is an obvious advantage over lower quality alloys, but it also outperforms silver and gold in this respect.
- It is extremely durable.
- Stainless steel is an extremely hard alloy that can handle a lot of wear and tear. Again, it beats out even expensive silver and gold in terms of durability. We always recommend taking good care of any jewelry, but stainless steel is about as forgiving as it gets in this regard.
- It’s affordable.
- So, it is more durable than silver or gold, but way cheaper. Yes, it is a little more expensive than low-quality alloys, but still VERY affordable.
How hard is your jewelry, then?
The durability of jewelry comes from the hardness of the metal. This is measured on the Moh’s scale. It’s a simple scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the hardest. Diamonds are a 10 on the Moh’s scale.
So, how durable is your jewelry on a scale of one to diamonds?
Well, pure 24k gold is actually really soft. A 2.5 on the Moh's scale. It’s easy to work with, and it can be shined to a brilliant shiny finish, but it’s too soft for most jewelry. So, in order to harden the metal, it is mixed with different amounts of metal alloys, commonly silver, copper, zinc, nickel, and palladium. This brings the harness of 18k and 14k golds to between 2.75 and 4, making it more durable for everyday wear. This is all well and good, except if your gold is mixed with nickel alloy, you might have an allergic reaction to it, as nickel has allergenic properties. Plus, let’s face it, gold is still pretty expensive.
Do you like silver jewelry? We do too. It’s much more affordable than gold, and we think it’s beautiful. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver, and usually mixed with copper to harden it. This brings its hardness rating to 2.5-3. Still not really hard, so it’s pretty susceptible to scratches. And, of course, it will tarnish if not polished.
How about platinum? Beautiful, right? It’s nice because it’s so bright white and it’s hypoallergenic. But it’s really expensive, and it’s hardness is still only a 3.5, so it’s susceptible to scratches and thin parts like prongs can even be susceptible to bending.
Enter stainless steel. Stainless steel resists corrosion and staining, is hypoallergenic, and is a whopping 6.5 on the Moh’s hardness scale. What does that mean? Well, it won’t bend easily, it won’t scratch easily, it won’t tarnish and make your skin green, and it wont cause an allergic reaction and make your skin itchy or rash like cheaper alloys of copper or nickel. Because it’s so hard, you won’t be able to resize a stainless steel ring, but because if it’s affordability you probably wouldn’t want to.
So, to sum up, beautiful longevity without the allergies and expense.
It’s no wonder why we do our best to find quality stainless steel jewelry whenever possible, and quite often we find 316L stainless steel, AKA surgical stainless steel. Surgeons don’t mess around, and neither do we.
Yep, that’s pretty smart. Gifted, you might say...