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Stainless steel jewelry – The Beauty Biz

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A lesser-known alternative to traditional metals

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky
November 6 2010

stainless steel earrings

The rising prices of gold and silver have caused both men and women to turn to alternative metals when it comes to jewelry, and even gold- and platinum-clad items have begun to skyrocket since they still contain a base metal of silver. While beads and natural gemstones continue to gain in popularity, some people prefer the brilliance, tone and texture that only metal can bring, but gold or silver remain out of range for many individuals’ pocketbooks. That explains why stainless steel is capturing the jewelry industry by storm. It has a lot to offer in terms of aesthetics, durability and affordability.

First of all, stainless steel has a similar look to other white metals. It enjoys silver’s beautiful reflectivity while also boasting platinum’s status feel. Additionally, steel usually doesn’t require the use of filler metals like nickel, which are unfortunately often common in lower carat gold options of both white and yellow gold. As such, steel manages to provide the best of both worlds in one metal option.

Stainless steel is also a hard metal. Although it is not as hard as titanium, another alternative jewelry metal rising in popularity, it is significantly harder than gold, platinum or silver. That means it has more durability, which is an important factor for many individuals seeking to make a jewelry purchase. Steel can last for a lifetime and then be passed down through the generations.

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Unlike silver, or gold- and platinum-clad metals which can corrode over time, stainless doesn’t tarnish and requires very little in the way of care. It is also non-toxic and allergy free.

Steel’s most popular feature is very likely its affordability. In most instances, it is the most economical option against other jewelry metals. However, oddly enough, that is not always the case. Because of its hardness, steel does not lend itself well to filigree work or to the ornate twisting and bending required to make highly ornamental jewelry items. With steel it’s pretty much a case of “what you see is what you get.” Jewelers are even hesitant to set expensive gemstones into this metal because they feel it cheapens the overall look.

For the most part, men like stainless steel better than women do. Men are usually unconcerned about sparkle or shine and more interested in durability. Women, on the other hand, want the best of all worlds. They want their jewelry to look and feel expensive, which many equate directly to sparkle and shine. While steel does have reflectivity and can be very eye catching, it doesn’t catch the eye in the same way as gold, platinum or even silver.

Still, as more jewelers begin working in stainless steel and develop methods to enhance the metal’s positive qualities while minimizing its shortfalls, it is likely steel will grow even more popular. Once that occurs, the price tag for the metal may also increase. So now is a good time to begin investing in some unique stainless jewelry items!

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