For people that find gold jewelry too loud, stainless steel always offers a more understated yet classy look.

However, before investing in stainless jewelry, you might wonder for how long it will keep its shine.

Does Stainless Steel Jewelry Tarnish?

Stainless steel is an alloy of nickel, titanium, and chromium. These compounds give stainless steel all its amazing qualities. For example, its durability and scratch-resistance are thanks to the titanium in the alloy.

Unfortunately, you might not like the answer to this question. Stainless steel is classified under metals that do not tarnish.

However, stainless steel will start to tarnish and lose its perfect glossy shine over time and under certain conditions. The only difference from other metals is that stainless will take much longer than most metals to start tarnishing.

What Is Tarnish?

Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms when certain metals are exposed to air, water, and other elements. Certain metals will react with these elements to form grey or blackish film on their surface. This takes away their initial luster and shine.

Whether your stainless steel jewelry will tarnish and how long it takes to tarnish is dependent on the care and the kind of stainless steel you have.

Often, jewelry is made from 316L. This particular grade will have chromium, nickel, titanium, and possibly manganese, carbon, and iron. This one is unlikely to cause skin irritation when used to make jewelry.

Grade 301 has higher nickel levels as it's mostly industrial grade. This is categorized under metals that cause skin allergies when used on jewelry. There is also 304L stainless steel used typically in cookware. It can be used on jewelry, but avoid it for new piercings.

There is also a grade 304 stainless steel with 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This has low manganese and carbon, making it very resistant to corrosion easy to clean and sterilize. This is what is known as medical-grade stainless steel.

How well you care for your stainless steel jewelry will also speak to how long it will take to tarnish, if at all.

Stainless Steel Jewelry Maintenance Tips

Here are some things you can do to keep your stainless steel jewelry looking fresh and shiny.

You want to avoid harsh chemicals with your jewelry, as these will likely contain compounds that will react badly with stainless steel.

While it's okay to swim with your jewelry on, you might want to avoid too much exposure to seawater because of the salt content. However, a good clean afterward should help maintain its look.

Luckily, this will not require a trip to the jeweler. Mix warm water with a mild detergent or baking soda, and soak your jewelry in the solution for a few minutes. Use a soft brush to wash off the dirt before wiping it dry or letting it air dry.

Get Yourself The Best

If you want your jewelry to go the distance, it helps to buy good quality right from the start. That is the language we speak at Monera designs. Please browse our catalog and get some high-quality, exquisite designs for your closet. You deserve the best!

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