With silver prices soaring, more and more brands are looking to alternative metals for their jewelry designs. One of the most popular options is stainless steel jewelry, known for its durability, versatility, and affordability. In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about stainless steel jewelry and why it’s one of our favorite materials to work with.
What Exactly is Stainless Steel Jewelry?
Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant alloy composed mainly of iron, chromium, and other elements. It is characterized by its lustrous appearance and ability to resist tarnish, rust, and corrosion. The addition of chromium to the alloy forms a thin, protective layer on the surface that prevents oxidation and ensures its long-lasting properties.
The concept of stainless steel dates back to the early 20th century. In 1913, English metallurgist Harry Brearley, while working on an erosion-resistant material for gun barrels, stumbled upon the alloy we now know as stainless steel. Brearley’s discovery involved adding chromium to iron, resulting in a corrosion-resistant material. The newly found stainless steel garnered significant interest for its industrial applications, but its potential for stainless steel jewelry designs wasn’t realized for till decades later.
The Emergence of Stainless Steel Jewelry
By the mid-20th century, stainless steel jewelry was primarily used for men’s accessories like tie clips, cufflinks, and watch bands. It didn’t take long for jewelry designers to experiment with more elaborate, intricate designs for women. In the 1980s, stainless steel jewelry surged in popularity. The punk and biker subcultures increased demand for stainless steel jewelry, bringing in a younger audience. The market had an increased demand for stainless steel earrings, necklaces, rings, and more fashion jewelry pieces.
Over the years, stainless steel jewelry designs branched out into various styles. Today, stainless steel is a popular option for stamped pendants, engraved cuff bracelets, chokers, anklets, and even wedding bands. Its hypoallergenic nature makes it a popular earring option for those with metal allergies. Opting for stainless steel huggies, hoop earrings, dangle earrings, and stud earrings increases the chance of buyers with sensitive ears reaching checkout. Stainless steel jewelry has the ability to mimic the appearance of precious metals, but unlike nickel and aluminum, stainless steel jewelry’s high durability makes it resistant to wear and tear.
Why Stainless Steel Jewelry Right For Your Brand?
When deciding which materials to manufacture your jewelry designs, it’s important to consider price, appearance, and consumer sentiment. Stainless steel jewelry is one of the most affordable options, costing significantly less than sterling silver, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum. However, despite its affordability, it is incredibly high quality. For example, our stainless steel chains and stackable rings are highly resistant to scratches and dents, which is vital considering these items are worn daily.
Nothing Beats Stainless Steel Jewelry on Quality
Unlike sterling silver and gold, stainless steel doesn’t tarnish due to its invisible outer layer of chromium. Stainless steel jewelry remains pure silver, often resembling sterling silver and platinum. The resistance to rust and tarnish is essential for two reasons:
- It is a huge selling point for customers. Consumers love the fact that stainless steel will not tarnish in their jewelry box.
- Business owners can confidently store jewelry without fear of tarnishing in their warehouse.
While all jewelry has an “infinite shelf life,” it’s not uncommon for us to hear from business owners who over-ordered gold or silver pieces that had to sit around in their warehouse before sales picked up. Once the orders came in, they had to polish the pieces before sending out customer orders. This was not only a huge time sink but also expensive as not only did additional labor need to be paid but customers who received an unpolished piece requested refunds. With stainless steel jewelry, tarnish is never a concern.
Another reason why consumers love stainless steel is its hypoallergenic properties. As a non-reactive metal, stainless steel will not turn the customer’s skin green or cause allergic reactions. This is a huge selling point for people who wear their favorite items daily, such as stud earrings, bracelets, and wedding bands.
We suggest you communicate to your audience the hypoallergenic nature of stainless steel, particularly regarding gift ideas and new arrival promotions. One of the best-selling gifts for designers to sell is sterling silver earring sets due to sensitive ears. Moreover, stainless steel’s allergy-friendly benefits mean you can access a broader market of jewelry wearers.
While in the beginning, stainless steel was mainly used in men’s accessories, today, stainless steel is a popular option for unisex and women’s designs. Like sterling silver, stainless steel can be used to create striking birthstone jewelry, beaded jewelry, minimalist jewelry, and more. It can be used for engagement rings that feature everything from diamonds to the more affordable cubic zirconia. Stainless steel chains come in various styles, from traditional box chains to elaborate techniques like Figaro and link chains. Stainless steel necklaces and stainless steel bracelets can be designed in multiple ways, from the intricate Cuban link to the more straightforward rope chain style.
While stainless steel is a great fashion jewelry option that can be manufactured quickly in order to stay on top of trends, such as the increasingly popular signet rings and stackable bangles, it is also a perfect solution for more timeless designs. Pendant necklaces are a staple item that all jewelry lines should carry, and stainless steel is ideal for a chain necklace with a pendant. Cross necklaces are always in high demand, and stainless steel is a durable material for cross pendants worn daily.
Great for Your Bottom Line
As a business owner, you have a responsibility to create the best quality products for the best price, and when it comes to jewelry design, this can be a tricky balance to strike. Fortunately, stainless steel resembles the look of precious metals but costs a fraction of the price. Moreover, gemstones, enamel, engraving, and intricate designs can be incorporated into stainless steel rings, necklaces, earrings, and jewelry sets, so you never have to compromise on appearance. Stainless steel is an affordable solution, allowing you to create pieces that are both appealing and accessible.
The versatility of stainless steel makes it one of the best options for jewelry manufacturing. It’s no mystery that this versatile, affordable metal is, for many brands, a best seller. If you’re looking to manufacture custom jewelry, stainless steel is the perfect solution for durable, beautiful pieces that will last for years to come.