The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design

The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design

by Sam Niemeyer, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Stainless steel is used to make surgical instruments, building supports, hot water heaters, microwave oven liners and other objects where strength and safety are a must. Yet, this industrial material can also complement a delicate jewelry design.

Strong and resilient, stainless steel has an attractive muted grey color and either shiny or matte finish. This modest silver/grey metal is popular for a variety of jewelry styles including industrial-chic, pop-punk, tropical vacay and more.

Physical Properties of Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel contains at least 10% chromium and, depending on the grade of the stainless steel, it may include smaller percentages of nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium and other metals. The percentage of chromium is significant because chromium combines with oxygen to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide. This protective layer is what makes stainless steel "stainless." By using stainless steel findings, you are providing non-corrosive long wear and industrial-grade strength to your designs.

Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry-Making:

Stainless steel findings and wire have excellent integrity but are still workable. It may take a little more "oomph" to bend it into the desired shape than other metals, but the advantage is that the finished stainless steel jewelry design will retain its shape more dutifully.

With its resistance to rust, oxidation and discoloration, this corrosion-resistant alloy is ideal for long-lasting jewelry designs. This metal is the best suggestion for those living in high-humidity locations, as the metal will keep from rusting much longer than other metals.

Jewelry made with these findings will endure heavy wear longer than those made with carbon steel and softer base metals. Jump rings and loops are less likely to come open under the weight of pendants or multi-layer designs. Choose this metal for pieces that will receive a lot of use and wear, such as key chains, bracelets and lanyards.

The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design

Unplated stainless steel pieces are an excellent for wearers with allergies and sensitivity to other base metals, such as copper or brass. For designs where the findings will be in close contact with the wearer's skin unplated stainless steel is one of the best options available. Stainless steel may contain some nickel, but it's considered hypoallergenic for most people. This is the reason that stainless steel is often used as starter earrings.

The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design The Benefits of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Design

Pair stainless steel findings and materials with designs that need some extra fortification, or simply use it to add a modern metallic resonance to any design for long-lasting stainless steel jewelry.

Design with: Additional Resources ...