Stainless Steel: An Eco-Friendly Metal that is Built to Last

Although not overwhelmingly popular, stainless steel is starting to get a new reputation as an eco-friendly alternative in jewelry. It’s shiny with a silver color, and it’s extremely durable as well as affordable. But what makes it eco-friendly, per say? Well here are a few reasons:

  • Stainless steel is 100% recyclable, and it is easy to break apart the metals it is made up of to reuse individually.
  • It is predicted that “brand new” stainless steel is actually already 50-60% recycled. This is due to the fact that in 2007, a very large quantity of stainless steel was produced largely from the recycled metal. As the years pass, the percentage in stainless steel on the market will only increase.
  • Unfortunately, stainless steel sometimes does end up in the garbage. The good news, however, is that it is not harmful to either the soil or the water it will come in contact with.
  • Refining stainless steel is much less toxic to the environment.

In addition to its benefits on the earth, it benefits extend to the jewelry wearer. Stainless steel is very resilient against water and air, so it will not corrode, rust, or tarnish like other metals—even precious metals—do. It will stay shiny and last for many years. Stainless steel is also much less expensive than alternatives such as sterling silver, and it does not contain any copper. It is light-weight and extremely durable.

As with all jewelry, you should take care of your stainless steel pieces despite their non-corrosive and durable qualities as all jewelry is still delicate. Like all jewelry, you should not swim with it on—the chloride in seawater and the chlorine in swimming pools can cause a chemical reaction, which may allow the piece to corrode. Should you forget to remove your jewelry before jumping in, after you get out, be sure to rinse it in fresh water and allow it to fully dry. Normal wear-and-tear should not do these pieces any harm. 

“But what about my metal allergies?” you may ask. Many people have nickel allergies and can be very sensitive to certain jewelry. I should start by saying that if you have worn stainless steel jewelry in the past and have had an allergic reaction, I’m not trying to tell you that it won’t happen again. However, stainless steel jewelry has a very low nickel content if at all and is generally consider to be hypo-allergenic. Stainless steel has been recommended for people who are sensitive to metals, including copper.

In my designs at Delirious Blue Jewelry, I often use a stainless steel cable chain as part of my necklaces—for example in the often coveted gold bar necklaces. This is to offer an eco-friendly and affordable option to customers who may not be able to or want to invest in sterling silver or gold (which by the way comes from a 100% recycled source) or who may be sensitive to chains made from copper.

Should you see a design of mine that does not incorporate stainless steel but that you wish did, simply send me a message. I’m happy to work with you to make a piece that you want and love!