Does Stainless Steel Rust ? Stainless Steel Jewelry Ultimate Guide

We all have different ideas about perfect jewelry. Of course, the metal might be a consideration. But, there is so much in the dark about stainless steel jewelry that you must know.

We don’t want to blow its hone. The guide covers most aspects of stainless steel jewelry that you are unaware of at the moment. Keep reading to know if it can tarnish or rust. With a pros and cons list, you can decide whether to invest in it or not.

The type of stainless steel you buy will determine if it rusts or not. Also, conditions you expose the metal to matter.

A) 316L

Most stainless steel jewelry is from 316L steel. It is an alloy with high amounts of carbon, nickel, manganese, iron, and chromium.

Because of the stainless steel jewelry contents, it tarnishes with time. The right conditions influence this process. Dermatologists and jewelry dealers recommend this metal.

It is one of the safest and most hypoallergenic stainless steel versions. Buy this if you want the best for external use and piercings.

B) 304L

Never use stainless steel 304L for your body jewelry. But, some people debate about this. There is a lot of contradicting information about this type of stainless steel.

30L is another type of stainless steel. It is also called industrial-grade and has the highest amount of nickel.

You can also wear jewelry from this type externally.

Stainless-Steel Jewelry - Pros and Cons

Stainless steel jewelry has its advantages and disadvantages. Assess them to weigh if these are suitable investments.


1) Low Maintenance.

One of the typical upsides of stainless steel jewelry is low maintenance. These are corrosion, scratch, and tarnish-free. Most people prefer them for wedding bands for this reason.

You will notice that the bands last long. The metal withstands daily brutality but maintains its shine.

It is easier to maintain its newness. Cleaning it needs warm soapy water and a soft piece of cloth.

2) Works for all Occasions.

There isn’t an occasion you can’t wear stainless steel jewelry. The metal is shiny and could pass for an expensive alloy.

Wear it daily and blend with all occasions. You can use stainless steel jewelry to dress up or down. The results will still be excellent.

3) Hypoallergenic and Lightweight.

Stainless steel is one of the lightest metals so is its jewelry. Therefore, one is comfortable wearing such for long.

Its hypoallergenic nature is perfect for sensitive skin. Invest in this if you get reactions to different metals on your skin.

4) Ages Well.

Stainless steel is corrosion and scratch-free. Hence, it ages well. Its signs of wear and tear font show for a long.

The metal won’t damage if you expose it to water.

5) Affordability.

Let’s not say cheap, since most people use this in place of ‘low-quality.’ Stainless steel is lower in price than platinum, gold, and silver.

Considering its durability, it is an excellent deal. But, unfortunately, god-quality stainless steel passes for an expensive metal.

We attribute this to the luster. Go for this if you want an affordable metal.

6) Environmentally friendly.

Stainless steel is safe for the ecology. Thus, production is less hazardous to the environment.

Manufacturers use less energy to produce stainless steel jewelry. As a result, the waste is also less than most metals.

Did you know that stainless steel is 100% recyclable?


The layman says all that glitters isn’t gold. Yes, the jewelry we are talking about isn’t gold. But, it has its fair share of concerns.

The cons aren’t much to deter you from buying stainless steel jewelry. Use them as a measure of investment.

1) Maintenance

We know in the pros, we mentioned stainless steel needs low maintenance. But, again, it is because the care process isn’t complex.

Getting the luster on stainless steel jewelry is easy. But, you need re-polishing more often than other metals.

You will notice aging after the metal serves you for years.

2) Susceptible to Dents.

Stainless steel needs proper care and maintenance. Otherwise, exposure to sharp or heavy objects dents it with time.

Your stainless steel jewelry will dent if you expose it to regular abrasion.

3) Reacts to Chlorine.

Chlorine affects the luster of your stainless steel jewelry. Buy 316 or 304-stainless steel jewelry if you are a swimmer.

You will notice corrosion if you use a different type of stainless steel.

4) Few Wedding Bands.

We are used to gold and silver wedding bands. But, stainless steel options are newer in the market. Thus, these are very few.

The cost might be bank-breaking. Also, there aren’t so many designs yet in the market.

5) Rings Resizing.

Few jewelers have specialized machines to resize stainless steel. It is because of the metal’s high melting point.

Resizing your rings will be a challenge. It is best to get the perfect fit to avoid this.

Which Stainless Steel Grade Is Better for Jewelry?

316 Stainless steel is the best grade of this metal for jewelry. It has three variations 316, 316L, and 316F.

The fashion industry considers this one of the most fashionable ornaments. It has molybdenum that increases its resistance to high temperatures. The component also helps the metal withstand conditions.

People prefer 316L stainless steel since it has high tensile strength. Besides, its wear and tear reduce because of its anti-oxidation properties.

316L stainless steel withstands the outer atmosphere extremities. It stands against seawater, nitric and sulfuric acid.

The color of this stainless steel type is modern and the most preferred. Moreover, it has another high-quality version for sensitive skin.

The 316LVM is excellent for body piercings and surgical uses. We attribute this to low carbon and nickel. It also has high molybdenum and chromium.

Does Stainless Steel Tarnish or Rust?

All metals will at least go through rusting or tarnishing in their lifetime. The processes are inevitable, no matter how high-quality metal is.

Stainless steel jewelry not rusting is a high misconception. It is time we debunk this. The claims are because of its chromium film.

Even with the outer film, continuous exposure of this jewelry to the environment fades it. Thus, you will not notice tarnishing soon.

It takes longer in stainless steel than in other metals. The chromium amount is only 10% in this metal.

Hence, it doesn’t guarantee complete lifetime protection against rust or tarnishes. How you use the jewelry also influences its rusting time.

Regular contact with water tarnishes rings and necklaces faster.

How Long Does Stainless Steel Jewelry Last?

The use of stainless steel jewelry is increasing. It is a fashionable metal, and most couples prefer it.

You can buy this metal for special occasions or simple gifts. Quick re-polishes help to improve the luster of stainless steel rings.

It is incomparable to other options like gold and silver. You need more to keep them in pristine condition.

Apart from preventing it from tarnishing and rusting, there is nothing much to it. So stainless steel jewelry doesn’t need special care.

Prevent exposure to potential damage, even as you wear it. For example, stainless steel will fade if exposed to harsh environments.

You want to keep it away from strong chemicals like chlorine. Stainless steel jewelry needs regular cleaning if you expose it to seawater.

Sometimes, the tarnish on this jewelry is extreme. Professional jewelers can help restore it to its original condition.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry?

cleaning stainless steel jewelry

Cleaning stainless steel well helps to improve its appearance. It might tarnish after a while. But, here is how to care for it to maintain its luster.

1) Ultrasonic Cleaning

Ultrasonic cleaning is the best solution for tarnished stainless steel. The process uses high vibrations to clean jewelry.

It is perfect for nooks and crannies. But, the process is expensive.

2) Cleaning with Soapy Water

Warm soapy water is a good DIY if you can’t afford ultrasonic cleaning. First, put warm water in a bowl and add three drops of mild dishwashing soap. Then, have another bowl with plain warm water.

Use a small soft cloth with warm soapy water to rub your jewelry. Soft toothbrushes help to remove grime.

Dip the clean jewelry in the other bowl to rinse. You can dry it with a clean and smooth cloth. Next, Polish your stainless steel using a polishing cloth specific for jewelry.

3) Clean with Water and Baking Soda

Add two parts of bicarbonate of soda to one part of clean water in a bowl. Make a paste and dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in it.

Scrub your jewelry and rinse using warm water. Pat dry using a soft cloth. Polish the stainless steel with a jewelry cloth.

How to Get Stainless Steel Jewelry Wholesale?

You need to get a reliable supplier if you want to sell stainless steel jewelry. Of course, you must get your wholesale items at reasonable prices.

Stainless steel jewelry wholesale suppliers help with most buying and shipping tasks. But, first, you need to give your stainless steel specifications.

State the type and different jewelry you want. Then, the wholesale supplier sources the latest and most fashionable designs.

You are getting wholesale prices for stainless jewelry. So, the profit margin is high. While at it, insist on high-quality jewelry.

How to Find Stainless Steel Jewelry Suppliers from China?

There are various ways of finding stainless steel jewelry suppliers from China. Check out some common ways and choose what works for you:

1) Exhibitions and Fairs.

Most overseas buyers use this method, and brand companies love it. You will have one-on-one interactions with manufacturers. Buyers are also present at the fairs.

It is easy to check samples in real-time and liaise with the manufacturer. The buyer gets to judge factories before engaging with them.

Some of the common fairs are Hong Kong international jewelry and Canton Fair. Asia’s fashion jewelry Fair is also a good one.

2) Online B2B Platforms.

Importers prefer to search for stainless steel suppliers on B2B platforms. Use keywords of the stainless steel jewelry you want to buy.

You will get a long list of countless items and suppliers. Some platforms are DHgate, Alibaba, and Global Sources. Others are Made-in-China, AliExpress, and
about the Wholesale site you can read this post 
Top 8 Best China Wholesale Websites Definitive Guide

3) Google and Social Media Search.

Chinese suppliers are advancing on Google and social media. They are exposing their companies to more crowds. So you will find a lot of resourceful information o Google.

Don’t sleep on social media too. Suppliers and factories have independent pages and sites to promote their products.

Need to souring stainless steel jewelry?

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Where are the Stainless Steel Jewelry Wholesale Markets in China?

China is the heart of jewelry and accessories wholesale markets. It is the best place to get a variety of high-quality stainless steel jewelry. Here are a few markets to check out:

1) Yiwu International Trade City.

Yiwu is the biggest small-commodity wholesale market worldwide. It specializes in exports. The market is typical for its accessories and jewelry.

It is a one-stop location for fast-fashion jewelry.yiwu jewelry

2) Guangzhou Jewelry Market.

The Guangzhou jewelry market is decentralized. It has several wholesale markets within it. Some of the top-most markets are Guangzhou Taikang jewelry city and Xijiao Building. These are for overseas clients.

Another is the Guangzhou Liwan Plaza.

3) Qingdao Jewelry Market.

Qingdao has more complex jewelry than the options above. Thus, the prices here are also higher.

It is near Korea and employs its craft style. So go to markets like Sino-Korea international and Jimo small market.

How Can You Choose the Right Stainless Steel Jewelry?

There are different aspects to consider when choosing stainless steel jewelry. So many factors affect the quality and price.

You don’t want to pick anything because the seller says it is silver. Check out some factors to consider:

1) Check Stainless Steel Grade.

There are several grades of stainless steel. Some people refer to them as types. Whichever way you call them, check the grade first.

In the article, we have explained the best grade of stainless steel jewelry. Others exist, but it is best not to settle for less.

Some common stainless steel grades in the jewelry market are 304 and 316. Of course, 316 is the best of them all. But, it can be a bit expensive.

Most people use it for wedding bands and simple gifts. But, it has a variation that is hypoallergenic. You will find this in hospital theatres.

Most professional piercing shops use this 316 stainless steel variation. In addition, it applies to high-end stainless steel jewelry.

It isn’t easy to tell the two types apart from looking at them. You need a thorough test to check the grade.

We advise doing this to avoid paying high for something substandard.

2) Check the Quality of Polish.

Pay attention to detail when choosing stainless steel jewelry. It is the finest of details that will help you weigh the quality.

An excellent aspect to check is the polish. Also, some manufacturers are quick in production. As a result, the jewelry has quality issues in the polish.

The polish might look dull or uneven in some areas. Take your time and assess the jewelry well.

Check for evenness on all surfaces. Ask to know the type of polishing. Research on the side to know if it is durable.

3) Choose the Plating Process.

The cost of stainless steel jewelry varies. Some are cheap, and others cost more. Electroplating is a way of preparing low-cost jewelry.

It doesn’t mean that the products are trash. It is the manufacturing process that is cheap hence the price. Electroplated jewelry lasts longer with proper care and maintenance.

But they damage faster if you expose them to abuse often. You can invest in expensive jewelry if you have a budget for it.

In this case, you will consider PVD-prepared accessories and jewelry. These boast a fantastic luster effect.

It doesn’t mean that they are maintenance-free. Like any metal, rust and tarnish are inevitable.

You want to take care of all jewelry to ensure they last long.

Why Choose an Agent to Source Stainless Steel Jewelry from China?

Sourcing agents are different from suppliers. Agents are familiar with the jewelry production process in China.

These are guys on the ground who know the best factories to go to in China. Importers use them to source stainless steel jewelry at the best prices.

Genuine agents give accurate information about the suppliers they get. They are more reliable than depending on emails and pictures for correspondence.

The agent negotiates better bulk and wholesale terms for you. You want to get more jewelry at affordable prices to get a profit after selling.

The best ones don’t compromise quality while at it. Agents organize shipping for your goods. If you are a drop shipper, they ensure the fulfillment on your behalf.

Issues could arise with suppliers on the quality of stainless steel jewelry. Agents resolve such problems and ensure you get the best shipment.

Since they are on the ground, they give accurate information on local markets. You can know the new market and shipping trends through agents.

Agents act as mentors if you are a beginner at buying and selling stainless steel jewelry. They guide you through the buying process. You will understand the pertinent things about jewelry manufacturing in China.


Gold-plated stainless steel tarnishes with time. It is a metal and prone to fading with continuous exposure to harsh environments.

The chromium film on the outer side of stainless steel protects it for a while. But, it needs proper polishing, care, and maintenance to shine.

Gold-plated designs add an extra protective layer. Besides, the electroplating process allows the jewelry to have luster.

But, the gold layer oxidizes and tarnishes, especially if it is fragile. Scratches on it fasten the tarnishing process.

Stainless steel jewelry is good. It is becoming a fashionable ornament in the market.

Most people prefer it because it is low maintenance and affordable. But, you can’t compare its handling and price to others like gold and platinum.

Even though it has different types, 316 stainless steel will serve you better than the rest. If you have sensitive skin tone, this is the best option.

But, of all the stainless steel types, it is the most expensive. We attribute this to its properties.

So many factors can cause the tarnishing of stainless steel. So, if you expose such jewelry to harsh environments, you will notice the impact after some time.

It might take a long because of the chromium and protective film. In addition, elements like chlorine tarnish stainless steel. Neither will harsher acids spare it.

Continuous exposure to heavy objects and abrasion is another factor. Stainless steel tends to scratch and wears out if you stop cleaning and polishing it.

Stainless steel is an excellent choice for gifts. But, it depends on the amount of money you intend to spend.

It also depends on who you are gifting. For example, some people understand metals better. So they might not appreciate your choice as much.

The occasion matters a lot. You can get these for birthdays and simple events to gift. But, some people might prefer them for daily wear.

If the stainless steel has its natural color, it maintains it. A color change might mean dirt. It fades if it is electroplated with silver, gold, or copper.

Fading means a color change. It could be from sweat erosion or abrasion. The plating thickness is also a determinant.

Final Thoughts

Stainless steel jewelry is the best if you want affordability. The prices are lower than platinum and gold.

The metal has a chromium film to protect it from rust and corrosion. But, it can tarnish with time.

You want to avoid exposing it to harsh conditions to maintain luster. Losing luster increases the chance of rusting on stainless steel.

It is best to care for stainless steel jewelry and maintain it. Clean it from time to time and polish it well. You can get help from a professional jeweler in case you are unsure.

But, the cleaning and maintenance process is simple. Follow the steps in our guide to doing this at home.

There is so much to learn about stainless steel jewelry. Now you can source stainless steel jewelry from China. Contact Fulfillbot to source stainless steel jewelry from the right supplier.

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