Stainless Steel is widely used in fashion jewellery and watches. A bright, shiny, and versatile material, stainless steel is different from carbon steel because it contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, preventing it from corroding easily or rusting like ordinary steel and making it resistant to tarnishing.
Stainless steel is favoured as a material for watch bracelet straps and cases because of its smooth surface, non-magnetic properties and its resistance to scratching. It also contains hypoallergenic properties, so is unlikely to cause adverse skin reactions. Surgical stainless steel has low nickel content – those with allergies or sensitive skin often react badly to nickel. As it is lightweight, it is perfect for use in all body piercing jewellery, such as earrings and belly bars.
Leading fashion brands also use stainless steel for other popular jewellery pieces, including:
Don't be fooled by the name though, stainless steel isn't entirely 'stain' proof and can get grubby over time. However, it is easily cleaned and polished with a soft cloth and mild detergent. Avoid soaking in water and when polishing, clean along the grain of the metal. It is best to store other precious metals separately from stainless steel as it might cause damage to other items because it is so hard. On the other hand, don't assume that stainless steel is indestructible, be careful wearing it for manual work or sports.
Read our guide on Caring For Your Metal Jewellery.