What Are The Pros and Cons of Stainless Steel Jewelry?


The recent rise of stainless steel jewelry like male wedding bands or fashion rings for her is a phenomenon you surely experienced in your family or friends’ circle too.

If not, then it is about to happen because the advantages of this trendy metal jewelry are worth the praise for all those tired of dealing with the disadvantages of gold, silver, or platinum and other precious metals out there.

Despite its great traits, unfortunately, stainless steel too has its few drawbacks I can’t and won’t hide them from you either.

The pros and cons of stainless steel as jewelry are mainly around its durability and practicability on a daily wear basis (positive). On the other side, stainless steel rings, necklaces, or earrings may trigger allergic reactions due to nickel in some of them. To avoid that one needs to purchase 306 or 316 stainless steel accessories.

Basically, you need to weigh the good, the bad, and the ugly of this new fashion metal to make an informed buying decision and this is precisely again what I’m here to help you with now.

Stainless Steel Jewelry Pros and Cons

Before we can dive into the nitty-gritty of stainless steel as the jewelry of choice let’s get a clarification of what we mean when we talk about this kind of metal.

Since we have countless other definitions and metals which you may confuse, like titanium and stainless steel, as I used to do before studying and researching jewelry more in-depth.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an iron mixture that contains different elements such as chromium to a higher degree (11%) to prevent jewelry rust as well as carbon, manganese, or silicon and nickel. To produce the desired outcome (e.g. 316L) the alloy composition is alternated by increasing or decreasing the various elements.

Benefits of Stainless Steel

For some time now stainless steel is used in the food industry as preferred cookware or medicine for surgical tools, and of course in the jewelry niche for various benefits associated with it (see below).

Types of Stainless Steel for Jewelry Chart

Steel Jewelry Grade  Main Composition Use
202 Chromium (16-18%), Nickel (0.5-4%) Low corrosion resistance, prone to rust, tarnish
304 Chromium (18-20%), Nickel (8-10.5%) Middle corrosion resistance, a commonly used type
316L Chromium (16-18%), Carbon (0.085), Nickel (10-14%) High corrosion resistance, non-allergenic, luxury grade

Next to these three types of stainless steel jewelry, they are additional compositions for various uses outside the jewelry making like architecture and equipment. 

The best stainless steel grade is 316L relating to crafting an earring, bracelet, or ring. It is safe and includes next to the above steel grade chart composition iron, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, manganese, and molybdenum giving it the final strength against acids, oxidation, etc.

10 Advantages of Stainless Steel Jewelery

  • Rings, pendants, or earrings made out of stainless steel are durable (it’s a hard iron-alloy)
  • Chromium contained in this iron-mixture guarantees that the jewelry is rust-free
  • Heat-resistant wedding bands and other accessories benefit wearing in hot places
  • Different jewelry coloration from gold-look to silver-look can be iterated by varying the elements creating this iron-alloy
  • Scratches can usually be prevented due to the hardness and rigidity of stainless steels
  • Maintenance is low and simple which makes it an attractive jewelry possession
  • Doesn’t tarnish easily if any as a result of its anti-oxidation property (chromium addition)
  • It’s a hypoallergenic alloy that is good for your skin (except when nickel is in high amount)
  • Special stainless steel like 316 are food grade and therefore safe for use and wear
  • Unlike silver or gold, stainless steel jewelry is affordable and may still look like precious metal

Well, as you can see for yourself the popularity of this element as ideal jewelry for him or her has its solid foundation in all these benefits you can’t fight with.

7 Drawbacks of Stainless Steel Jewelry

  • It is a rigid hard metal that is difficult to bend and create all types of jewelry
  • Chlorine exposure reactivity in pools for example, may cause your pendant or band to stain
  • Due to its stiffness, stainless steel rings are hard to resize and not many jewelers can do so
  • To maintain your stainless steel-made chain  requires repolishing (though not as often as precious metals like gold)
  • Nickel contained in some body fashion accessories  created with this iron-alloy may cause an allergic reaction
  • There is a small variety of stainless steel jewelry on the market (still a new kid on the block)
  • Perceived monetary value can be low and confused with low quality by some buyers/or gift recipients

These are the main disadvantages of buying, gifting, and wearing stainless steel jewelry. Of course, they are more nuances to both sides of the story before buying that glowing engagement ring or awesome band you saw the other day.

How Long Stainless Steel Jewelry Lasts

Generally, stainless steel jewelry can last 1-1000 years depending on maintenance, composition, and steel grade. A 316L graded piece is e.g. ideally made for durability due to elements like molybdenum and chromium percentages, which gives stainless steel the best performance regarding longevity wear.

Is Stainless Steel Worth Buying?

Stainless steel-based jewelry like earrings are worth buying online or at brick-and-mortar stores when they are of good quality gradings like 304 or higher graded 316L. The former is widespread, which may include a nickel-level that causes an allergenic reaction while the latter is not, but high corrosion resistant.

Is Sterling Silver or Stainless Steel Better?

Sterling silver and stainless steel jewelry serve different uses and therefore which one is better difficult to say. However, 925 sterling silver is a metal alloy that resembles pure silver while stainless steel is an iron alloy that includes nickel which may trigger allergenic skin disorders for some.

Stainless Steel Jewelry Pros and Cons Conclusion

We can sum up together that the benefits of stainless steel promise rings for couples or mom’s name necklaces may outperform the admittedly existing drawbacks mentioned herein.


Custom jewelry made of 316L stainless steel is the best option as it is exceptionally solid designed for long-duration at least while simultaneously maintained and cleaned with simple household items like cloth, warm water, and soap.

The cheap jewelry stainless steel 202 graded type is less recommended as it may not last and shouldn’t be in contact with water, showering, pool. Moreover, it contains a higher nickel level which is for nickel-allergic people problematic. 


This iron-alloy accessory is not only elegant to wear on your fingers, chest or ear, and wrist, but due to its lightweight a comfortable platinum jewelry alternative (because it often imitates the look of it).

On the other, cheap selection like 202 stainless steel is not as good and comfortable as 304 or 316L graded types, because the latter possess better chemical and physical properties as illustrated in the above jewelry steel grade chart.


Needless to say, stainless steel jewelry is a high-value-for-money option. Precious metals from silver to gold or platinum make of course great gleam pieces to brag about at a dinner party or wedding. 

However, the price tag on them is significant, too.

Stainless steel is much cheaper to buy while possessing all the optical advantages of expensive metal collar necklaces, unisex rings, or stunning wedding bands out of fine gold, platinum, and real silver.

The pros and cons of stainless, glowing steel jewelry speak for themselves. Now it’s your turn to choose your new favorite lustrous accessory with all this insider knowledge of jewelry made from this trending and irresistible metal mixture.

Bill Dominic

Bill is an art history and business graduate. Moreover, he loves to test, compare, shop jewelry & fashion items for his 5 sisters, girlfriend, nieces when not enjoying a great novel.

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