Stainless steel jewelry has become a popular choice for many, known for its durability, versatility, brightness, and ease of maintenance. But what makes it particularly appealing is its suitability for those with metal allergies. Let's delve into the world of stainless steel jewelry and explore its properties, types, and why it's considered safe for those with sensitivities to metals.
WHAT IS STAINLESS STEEL MADE OF?
Stainless steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron, with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. The chromium reacts with oxygen to form a protective layer, preventing further corrosion. Other elements that may be added include nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium, and copper, each affecting the steel's properties such as strength, corrosion resistance, and appearance.
Types of Stainless Steel
- Austenitic: Made up primarily of iron, chromium, and nickel, it's non-magnetic and has good corrosion resistance.
- Ferritic: Composed mainly of iron and chromium, it offers good corrosion resistance but is generally less strong.
- Martensitic: Composed of iron, chromium, and carbon, it's known for strength and wear resistance but is less corrosion-resistant.
STAINLESS STEEL IN JEWELRY
The type of stainless steel used in jewelry depends on the desired properties. The most common type is 316L, a low-carbon, high-chromium alloy that is highly resistant to corrosion and hypoallergenic. Another type used is 304, also known as 18/8 stainless steel, similar to 316L but not as hypoallergenic.
Hypoallergenic Stainless Steel
Hypoallergenic stainless steel is considered safe for those with metal allergies as it contains a low amount of nickel, the most common allergen in jewelry. It's made with a higher percentage of chromium and a lower percentage of nickel, ensuring its corrosion resistance without causing allergic reactions.
Plating and Coating
Stainless steel is often plated or coated with other metals like gold or silver for aesthetic purposes. This can affect its hypoallergenic properties, as the plating may contain nickel or other allergens. For those with metal allergies, un-plated hypoallergenic stainless steel is the safest choice.
OTHER SAFE METALS FOR THOSE WITH METAL ALLERGIES
Besides stainless steel, other metals like Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Palladium, Silver, and Copper are considered safe for those with metal allergies. However, careful consideration of alloys and treatments is essential to avoid potential allergic reactions.
Stainless steel jewelry offers a stylish and safe option for those seeking the beauty of precious metal without the hefty price tag or the risk of allergic reactions. Its various types and hypoallergenic properties make it a versatile choice for jewelry makers and wearers alike.
At Continental Bead Suppliers Inc., we are committed to providing quality materials that inspire creativity and ensure safety. Explore our range of stainless steel products and embark on a creative journey with confidence.