The most valuable and highest-quality metals are used in the manufacture of jewellery, although not only precious metals such as gold or silver are meant, but also steel. Stainless steel can be a particularly robust and visually appealing basic material for jewellery. Under this term the steel types are summarized, which exhibit a particularly high purity. For steel, this means that certain phosphorus and sulphur constituents must not be present in the material above a value of 0.025%. As a rule, stainless steel is rustproof, although this cannot be regarded as a classification feature, since stainless steels can also rust and non-stainless steel can also be rustproof. The sufficient criterion as to when a steel is a stainless steel is therefore the precisely definable proportion of alloy constituent. High-purity steels, in which other metals such as aluminum or silicon are precipitated in the manufacturing process, are regarded as stainless steel, for example. However, stainless steel can also be an alloy, with chromium, nickel, molybdenum, titanium or niobium being the most common alloy components. Stainless steel has a high chemical resistance, can be processed without problems and has an attractive appearance; all qualities that make it an excellent basic material for high-quality jewellery.
Advantages of stainless steel
Many applications and extremely resilient - this is how stainless steel is commonly known. So it is not surprising that the jewellery industry has also discovered this material for itself. Jewellery made of stainless steel is very hard and therefore more scratch-resistant than silver or gold, for example. In addition, stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, does not oxidize, as for example silver jewellery, and is extremely easy to clean. Stainless steel also has another positive property: contact with oxygen from the surrounding media (air, water and other substances) causes a thin layer of chromium oxide to form on the steel surface. This layer protects the underlying steel from further external influences. If the surface is damaged, this layer of chromium oxide forms again automatically under the influence of oxygen. For this reason one can speak of a self-healing effect.
Variety of different finishes
Stainless steel has become indispensable in the jewellery sector and enjoys great popularity. The grey-silver colouring of stainless steel matches numerous styles and looks. However, stainless steel jewellery can be combined even more versatilely with different coloured coatings. These range from casual black and light silver to modern rose gold and noble yellow gold. Such a coating, also called plating, can be achieved by different techniques. By rolling on a fine metal foil, by dipping, by welding or by pouring on. The very durable ion plating is particularly popular nowadays. In this process, the surface is first cleaned by ion bombardment. An evaporator source vaporizes the material to be coated with the desired metal. This forms a layer on the starting product. During this process, the metal to be coated is strongly heated. The purpose of plating, apart from changing the colour, is to give the material a higher wear resistance.
The right care for stainless steel
Stainless steel is absolutely easy to clean and can be easily cleaned with water, mild soap and a fibre-free cloth. For shiny surfaces, you can use cotton wool for an even more beautiful shine. Matt surfaces that have become shiny over time can be treated with a so-called matting fleece. Of course, stainless steel jewellery can also be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Jewellery is an object of daily life and thus exposed to physical and climatic influences. These influences can transfer to the piece of jewellery and leave traces such as scratches. Previously matte surfaces can leave traces of shine and shiny jewellery may appear matte over time. Any material from which jewellery is made can have traces of wear. These make your jewellery unique and thus your personal piece of jewellery.