When choosing the perfect ring for yourself or a loved one, you need to consider the lifestyle you/they live and how much care is willing to be taken to avoid the dreaded tarnish that can dull and damage your piece.
There are several materials on the market that rings are made of, each one requiring a different level of care. As many may already know, sterling silver is notoriously easy to tarnish; some can handle this and take special care to avoid it, but others may not want to spend so much time worrying about their jewelry.
One popular metal used for ring bands is stainless steel! Today, we’re going to talk about this versatile material and whether or not it’s possible for a ring made of stainless steel to tarnish. Stick around for the care information you need; in the end, you’ll be able to make a more informed choice so you can cherish your ring for years to come.
What It Means When a Ring “Tarnishes”
Nearly everyone knows that when a ring tarnishes, you have to clean it – but not everyone knows exactly what it means for a ring to tarnish.
Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms over time on objects made of certain materials, including jewelry. This corrosion dulls the metal and can make your ring just look dirty overall. This corrosion often can be removed, but in doing so, you have to be very careful not to cause further damage.
Things That Cause Rings to Tarnish
If you have ever had a ring, necklace, or bracelet that has tarnished before, you may be wondering what caused it. Knowing where you may have caused this to happen will help you avoid these mistakes later!
Rings tarnish when:
- They are exposed to moisture for prolonged periods of time. To avoid this, take your jewelry off when swimming or showering. Even repeatedly washing your hands with a ring on can tarnish the band.
- They are exposed to too much impure air. Many metals are so delicate that prolonged exposure to the outside air will gradually tarnish them. When storing your ring, do so in a jewelry box or dedicated cloth bag.
- They are exposed to everyday chemicals in cosmetics and cleaning products. No matter how harmless a product may seem to your skin, it can still cause a reaction with the metal ring band that causes it to tarnish. Remove the ring when applying lotion or doing household chores (i.e. washing dishes, scrubbing floors.)
- They react with your skin. Everyone’s skin is different, and some people tend to have more acid in their skin than others. If this is the case, your ring may tarnish just because you are wearing it! While this isn’t an extremely common occurrence, note that it can happen.
Stainless Steel Rings: The Makeup
What determines whether or not rings tarnish? The makeup of the metal! Most metals used in rings are actually alloys, or a mix of several metals in order to boost durability and resistance to damage.
Stainless steel is made up primarily of four parts:
Steel is known for being an incredibly durable metal, so it’s a popular choice for ring bands. Carbon in jewelry will add to the strength of the metal. Nickel is in most jewelry products in order to add scratch resistance to your piece.
Chromium, however, is the most important part in making stainless steel, stainless! Chromium coats the outside of the ring in a near-invisible layer to keep the ring from accruing any damage like scratches or corrosion.
For a stainless steel ring to be considered of high quality, at least 12% of the makeup must be chromium. Anything less, and your piece will not be as durable as you should expect.
The Verdict: Do Stainless Steel Rings Tarnish?
To make a long story short – no. Stainless steel rings do not tarnish. The chromium layer covering the rest of the metal will ensure that what lies underneath will not be exposed to air or water.
This is great news for those people who just want some low-maintenance jewelry to wear! Sterling silver can be tedious to clean; while beautiful, that ring choice is not for everyone. If you want a ring that you can wear and forget for a while, stainless steel is the perfect fit for your finger.
How to Care for a Stainless Steel Ring
Stainless steel rings won’t tarnish, that’s true. However, there are still some care instructions that you should follow if you want your ring to stay polished and beautiful for years to come.
The downside of wearing a stainless steel ring is that the surface may still get scratched, causing your ring to be visibly less shiny and polished over time. To avoid scratching the ring, you should:
- Avoid handling other sharp objects while wearing the ring.
- Store your ring away from other jewelry when you take it off.
- Try not to bump into walls and doors with your ring too much.
- Avoid wearing it while doing some household chores or manual labor.
Whenever your ring looks dirty or duller than it should, take a moment to polish it. There are a few ways to do this, depending on the effort you want to put into the routine.
- Take it to a professional jewelry polisher. If you don’t want to polish the ring yourself, you can take it to a professional and let them shine it up in no time! Please remember that you do have to pay for this service. If you’re more of the frugal type, try a DIY polishing method instead.
- Polish your ring yourself with one of these DIY methods.
Where to Find Stainless Steel Rings
Now that you understand exactly what it takes to properly care for your stainless steel ring, you may be ready to pick out your piece! There are several beautiful stainless steel ring choices on the market that might inspire you in your search for your dream ring, and we’re going to help you get started.
- Think Engraved has a wide array of beautiful stainless steel rings to choose from. These rings can be engraved with a message of your choosing, as long as it fits under the 20 character limit. Click on the link here to find out more.
- Etsy is an online marketplace full of artisans of all types! Though not every seller is reputable, you can read the reviews to decide which shop is the best. Keep in mind that some of these rings can be a little more expensive because most are handcrafted. Click on the link here to find out more.
- When you think of Amazon, the biggest online marketplace, you may not immediately think of high-quality jewelry. Again, there are some sellers who may not be reputable, but you can find almost anything on the site that you’ll love, including stainless steel rings. Click on the link here to find out more.
In summary, stainless steel rings are perfect for those who don’t want to deal with the extensive care that comes with buying a sterling silver ring. They’re durable, tarnish-proof, and beautiful! The perfect fit is just a click away.