Is Stainless Steel Jewelry Safe to Wear?
Stainless steel is made from at least 10.5% chromium and other alloying compounds. It also contains carbon in quantities of 1.2% or less. These alloying compounds include nickel, niobium, molybdenum, titanium and manganese.
Stainless steel was traditionally found in medical equipment. In recent times, this metal has found itself in jewelry-making for all the stellar qualities it is known to provide to medical equipment.
Is Stainless Steel Safe to Wear?
For the most part, yes. Medical grade stainless is extremely safe to wear on the skin. The only issue with stainless steel is the alloys used, their quality and their quantities can cause problems to wearers.
One of the alloys that commonly cause problems is nickel. Nickel is affordable, making it the go-to alloy metal of choice for many jewelers. Unfortunately, many people have a sensitivity to this metal. This often happens when there is 100parts of nickel per million. However, in most countries, the amounts of nickel used in jewelry are highly regulated to ensure end-user safety.
This means that jewelry pieces carrying anything above the healthy amounts are not allowed to retail. 304 stainless steel and 316L surgical steel have extremely low Nickel levels and are often safe to wear even for individuals with a Nickel allergy to enjoy wearing occasionally.
305 stainless steel has 8% Nickel, compared to 10% in 316L Nickel, making it the safest of all stainless steel.
How To Test Genuine Stainless Steel?
The easiest way to test stainless steel jewelry is using a magnet. Because steel is magnetic, your jewelry should attach to the magnet. If this does not happen, you do not have stainless steel.
The other test is rust. Properly processed stainless steel does not rust. If your jewelry begins showing signs of rust around the edges and whatnot, this might indicate what you have is not stainless steel.
The two final ones are the polish and the tap tests.
For the polish test, wipe the surface of your jewelry with a dry cloth and check to see if you can see your reflection. With stainless steel, you should be able to see your face. If you don't, you probably have a knock-off or other metal like aluminum.
The tap test, on the other hand, requires you to tap the surface of your jewelry with a brass key or a penny. A 'ting' sound indicates stainless steel, while a 'clang' indicates what you have is not actual stainless steel.
Advantages of Stainless Steel Jewelry
The first thing stainless steel has going for it is durability. Unlike some jewelry types that are extremely fragile and require to be worn with caution, stainless steel jewelry is sturdy enough to be worn by the most active people, with minimal damage.
The other is aesthetic value. The shine produced by stainless steel jewelry comes pretty close to that from sterling silver, often at a lower cost.
Lastly, this compound won’t rust or corrode. You can wear it comfortably in any climatic conditions without worrying about damaging it.
At Monera Jewelry Design and Manufacture, we exclusively create a wide array of jewelry pieces using 316L stainless steel. You can trust our products for quality, longevity and safety.