Stainless Steel Vs Sterling Silver Jewelry | A Full Breakdown

Stainless Steel Vs Sterling Silver Jewelry | A Full Breakdown

As one of the most popular finishes on jewelry accessories, stainless steel and sterling silver have become more popular than gold in most cases. The best thing about these two materials is that it matches just about everything and is offered in a few different styles to allow you to find the perfect finish for your specific accessory.
Two of the most popular jewelry finishes, stainless steel, and sterling silver, are often confused when describing jewelry. Today, we will look at the differences between stainless steel and sterling silver to help you better understand the differences between the two.

Difference Between Stainless Steel & Sterling Silver

Whether you are looking to purchase new jewelry or simply looking for the right cleaning techniques for your jewelry, knowing the differences between stainless steel and sterling silver can help.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular materials used for jewelry, cutlery, and even countertops. When polished, stainless still has a property that offers a better light reflection. This is mostly all cosmetic and an excellent option for those who want a more aesthetically pleasing option.

Various metal alloys containing different chemical compositions are used to make stainless steel. Stainless steel has about 150 variations; the most common are steel and chromium. This allows manufacturers to use different types of stainless steel for different applications. For example, the stainless steel used for forks, knives, and spoons will differ from your stainless steel necklace.

Stainless steel has also been used to mimic the appearance of popular finishes such as chrome or pewter due to its ability to be polished or dulled. Stainless steel is strong and durable, offering some of the best scratch-resistance properties.

Sterling Silver

While silver is best known for being a metal, it is also an element and a precious metal. Sterling silver comprises 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper alloy.

Sterling silver was created because pure silver is a very delicate metal that can bend and break easily. Pure silver is simply too soft to be used for anything that needs to be durable.

If you own or have seen a piece of sterling silver, you have most likely seen a stamp that states .925. This indicates that they are made from sterling silver. Sterling silver is often used in jewelry as it has receptive properties and a soft luster.

The Benefits Of Each Metal

Both stainless steel and sterling silver offer great benefits that provide you with a strong, long-lasting piece of jewelry. However, each are going to offer a different set of pros and cons, so knowing this can help you pick the best material for your specific jewelry.

Pros Of Stainless Steel

  • Great For Daily Use
  • Resistant To Corrosion
  • Very Versatile
  • Durable
  • Scratch Resistant
  • More Luster Than Silver
  • Better Price Point Than Silver
  • Easy To Clean
  • Low Maintenance

Cons of Stainless Steel

  • Harder To Repair When Damaged
  • Some May Have Allergic Reactions

Pros Of Sterling Silver

  • Silver Is A Precious Metal
  • More Affordable Than Golf Or Platinum
  • More Malleable and Versatile
  • Can Be Used To Create More Intricate Jewelry
  • Easy To Clean
  • Can Be Restored To Look New
  • Easy To Repair

Cons Of Sterling Silver

  • Can Scratch Easily Due To Softness
  • Tarnishes Easier Compared To Stainless Steel
  • More Costly Than Stainless Steel

Which Metal Is More Durable?

When choosing jewelry, you will most likely want something durable to reduce the chances of it breaking or becoming damaged. When comparing stainless steel and sterling silver, stainless steel will offer the most durability. This is due to silver being softer and steel having metal alloy ingredients.

How To Take Care Of Each Metal

No matter which material you choose for your jewelry, maintenance will be vital to keeping it looking its best. Let’s take a look at the care instructions for each material.

How To Care For Stainless Steel

To clean stainless steel and keep it looking brand new, you can follow a few different methods:

Soap And Water

The easiest way to clean your stainless steel jewelry is by using soap and water. This will help clean any grime and dirt accumulated on the jewelry to bring back its shine. We suggest using a mild liquid soap with warm water.

Baking Soda

Baking soda can also be used to clean stainless steel jewelry. Mix a small amount of baking soda with a small amount of water until a thick paste forms. Using a toothbrush or other fine brush, clean the jewelry softly. After cleaning it, you can use a lint-free cloth to dry off your jewelry.

How To Care For Sterling Silver

Sterling silver can be cleaned using the same methods above, but you can also use a specific silver jewelry cleaner to restore it to its former glory. Silver jewelry cleaners can be purchased pretty much anywhere jewelry is sold and is very easy to use.

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