FREE U.S. SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS! FREE U.S. SHIPPING ON ALL ORDERS!

Fireside

7 Surprising Facts About Stainless Steel Jewelry

7 Surprising Facts About Stainless Steel Jewelry

Have you recently heard about stainless steel jewelry and want to know more about this relatively new jewelry material? You’ve come to the right place! Here are 7 surprising facts about stainless steel jewelry that you might not know about!

1. STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS WATERPROOF

Yes! Finally jewelry that is super low maintenance. Accidentally wear it in the shower? No problem. Leave your earrings out on a damp bathroom counter? No problem! Stainless steel is inherently rust and tarnish proof. The presence of chromium in its chemical composition creates a barrier that prevents tarnish from building up, making it super easy to care for.

2. STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS HYPOALLERGENIC & WON'T TURN YOUR SKIN GREEN

This is one that seems to be up for debate on the internet so let’s clear it up. First, hypoallergenic is defined as jewelry that contains little to no potentially irritating alloys. Typically, the threshold is that if the offending alloy is present but less than 10%, it will not bother the wearer. This usually refers to nickel as this is the most common metal allergy.

Now, why do some people say stainless steel is hypoallergenic while others say it absolutely is not? There are two common alloys of stainless steel used in jewelry!

304 STAINLESS STEEL is categorized as a hypoallergenic metal. It is made of 18-20% chromium, 8-10% nickel, and iron alloys. Nickel allergies are the most common in earring wearers, yet because stainless steel contains less than 10% of nickel in it's composition, it is considered hypoallergenic and a very safe option.

316L STAINLESS STEEL which is ironically nicknamed "surgical steel", contains 10-14% nickel to increase it's corrosion resistance. Unfortunately surgical steel may cause irritation in wearers with nickel allergies because the presence of nickel tends to be higher than 10%.

STUDIYO Jewelry uses 304 stainless steel for all our stainless steel jewelry. I have found over the years that I personally may be slightly allergic to copper which is found in 14kt gold, 14kt rose gold, and in ultra low quantities, in sterling silver mixtures. Wearing high quality 304 stainless steel earrings have made my ears feel so much better. It’s worth a try!

3. STAINLESS STEEL IS HIGHLY RECYCLED

Stainless steel can be infinitely recyclable! This means that it can be extracted and reformed without losing its physical and chemical properties and is currently recycled more than glass and paper. Most stainless steel objects made today have at least 60% recycled steel in it. The sheet metal that we use always has 65-75% recycled content in it and 100% of the scrap sheet metal used to create my pieces are recycled as scrap metal to be melted and reformed into something new!

4. STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS LIGHT AND DURABLE

Stainless steel is an alloy that blends chromium, titanium, and nickel.  Because of this, stainless steel is durable which is why we often use it in manufacturing and for kitchen utensils.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, it has a hardness of 4, compared to sterling silver and gold, which both have a hardness of about 2-2.5. Because it is stronger, we can create more delicate and detailed designs that would easily warp and break if made of brass, silver, or gold.

5. MOST STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS MADE OVERSEAS

This is an interesting one that you might not know. Traditionally, jewelry is made and reproduced through casting melted metal. Did you know, that it is extremely rare and virtually impossible to find a jeweler in the United States willing to work with stainless steel? Believe me, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole. The reason I've learned, is that stainless steel has a much higher melting temperature than other metals typically found in jewelry like sterling silver, brass, and gold. This renders the casting process of stainless steel to be pretty dangerous. Large scale manufacturers that are willing to work with stainless steel are more often found in different countries abroad, like China. Many of the companies you see selling stainless steel jewelry in the United States these days, very likely manufacture abroad. They can sell them at lower prices because they mass produce such large quantities allowing them to make them for cheaper.

Not wanting to create a large carbon footprint by mass producing and shipping overseas, I chose to make STUDIYO Jewelry's stainless steel jewelry by cutting flat pieces of metal. Stainless steel sheet metal is a very common material used in residential and commercial construction so sourcing the material in the US was a lot more abundant and made a whole lot more sense for a small US-based business than sourcing from a different country. I love this medium because it can be very similar to paper cutting, which is something very familiar to me from years of making paper models for architecture school. I love the idea of transforming something so industrial into something delicate and personal.

6. STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS UNIQUE

There aren’t a ton of options for stainless steel jewelry...yet. Stainless steel jewelry is still considered relatively new on the market. It’s gained popularity in the last few years but prior to that, the jewelry that was on the market was designed primarily for men. Of the most common were stainless steel wedding bands and stainless steel bracelets. There currently are not as many varieties of options for stainless steel jewelry (that are not mass produced) for women out there, but lucky for you, STUDIYO Jewelry just came out with a new collection of earrings for you to choose from!

7. STAINLESS STEEL JEWELRY IS CRAZY ADAPTABLE

Last but not least, you can wear stainless steel jewelry to virtually any occasion. In it’s non plated state it has the appearance of silver and when plated, the appearance of gold. You can wear it every day, dress it up or down, and wear it with countless outfits!

Continue reading

Spring Cleaning: Your Jewelry Care Guide

Not very often, but once in a while, you might find that your jewelry needs a little clean. Here are some simple care tips for all the different metals we use at STUDIYO Jewelry to help you keep your pieces looking it's best!

REASONS TO CLEAN YOUR JEWELRY

First, let's discuss the most common reason why your jewelry might need a clean. Tarnish. What is tarnish exactly? Tarnish is a natural chemical reaction that occurs when a metal comes in contact with elements in the atmosphere. This just means that the top layer of the metal is undergoing a chemical reaction and creating a protective barrier on the outside to protect it from corrosion. Lots of things can attribute to a piece of jewelry tarnishing ranging from your personal chemical composition to the oxygen in the air. It can make your jewelry look darker and duller and can look like a thin grey or black film. It is also commonly referred to as oxidization and patina. Metals that are prone to tarnish include, brass, copper, bronze, and silver.

The next reason why your jewelry might need a clean is daily build up. Jewelry can get a build up of dirt, makeup, sweat, and chemicals (like sunscreen) that you may interact with on a day to day basis. It’s best to remove these from your jewelry when you can to prevent your piece from tarnishing or getting dull.

I’m breaking these cleaning tips down into two sections, “solid base metals” and “laminated metals” because the cleaning and care tips are quite similar for pieces in these categories.

SOLID BASE METALS 

includes brass, sterling silver, copper, and bronze
BRASS

Brass jewelry requires a little bit of maintenance, only because it requires an occasional clean if you prefer bright shiny brass. The MOD Collection pendants are all made of brass and gold filled ear wires. Brass tarnishing is a natural reaction and something that you can’t really stop. As soon as it touches the air, the chemical reaction has begun. How quickly it tarnishes really depends on the elements present in the atmosphere. When left out, brass jewelry usually takes on a darker yellow-brown color and can look duller over time. The good news is, it’s easy to clean!
 
STERLING SILVER

This is a popular precious metal that I use in the Hard Wear Collection as well as keep on hand as ear wires as an option for those who might have metal sensitivities. Sterling silver, if not worn, will tarnish and darken over time. It tends to take on a grey film that ranges from grey to black. The interesting thing is, the oils on your skin will help prevent tarnish so the more you wear it, the less tarnish it will have!
 
HOW TO CLEAN SOLID BASE METALS: Both brass and sterling silver pieces are solid metals all the way through so it is safe to use a cleaner that is a little more abrasive. Polishing cloths have an abrasive compound that will buff out the top layer of your piece and work incredibly well for brass and silver. Another easy way is to use some Bar Keeper’s Friend and some water to create a mixture and use your fingers to gently rub the tarnish off your piece. Rinse well and dry thoroughly. It doesn’t take much and your jewelry will look brand new in no time!

I have a video here to show how to do this super easily!

LAMINATED METALS

includes gold-filled and gold plated stainless steel

GOLD-FILLED

I consider gold-filled pieces to be pretty low maintenance. Gold-filled means that there is a thick layer of gold bonded to a brass core. These can be worn and taken care of just like real gold. I use 14kt gold-filled and 14kt rose gold-filled wire in the Hard Wear Collection, ear wires, and chains on all my jewelry because these are parts that rub against your skin the most and I want them to be long lasting! Depending on your skin’s chemistry, and your surroundings, gold filled jewelry can tarnish. It doesn’t happen nearly as quickly as brass or sterling silver and is much more subtle. If it does happen, don’t panic, it’s easy to clean!
 
GOLD PLATED STAINLESS STEEL

The pendants in the Tracery Collection pieces are all made with a stainless steel base, gold plated, and then coated with a nano ceramic coating. Stainless steel resists tarnish extremely well so these pieces will not tarnish on you. These pieces are super low maintenance and rarely require any cleaning or buffing.

 
CLEANING LAMINATED METALS: These metals will not require cleaning as often as the base metals. Because these metals are not solid and have a layer of gold on the outside, you’ll want to avoid abrasive cleaners. Soak your piece in some water and a drop of mild detergent and use a soft cloth to remove any dirt, sweat, and makeup. Make sure to dry your piece thoroughly before you store it away. Polishing cloths and Bar Keeper’s Friend can wear down the gold layer on your piece over time so definitely use sparingly or (preferably) not at all.

STORAGE

For any piece, it’s usually best practice to store your jewelry in a dry and moisture free environment when not being worn. Ziplock bags and jewelry boxes are great for protecting your piece from moisture and sulfides in the air as it reduces airflow. Every STUDIYO piece comes in a box that is perfect to store your pieces in and travel in! It can go a long way to care for your piece and ensure that it lasts for years to come!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I've included product links for cleaners and polishers for your convenience. Should you choose to purchase through these links, I do earn a small commission at no cost to you.*
Continue reading
}