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Stainless Steel vs Sterling Silver – What’s the Difference?

Stainless Steel vs Sterling Silver – What’s the Difference?

Spicing up your regular daily outfit can be done by adding a bit of dazzle through jewellery. When it comes to choosing jewellery accessories, sterling silver and stainless steel ones are some of the most popular choices, especially since they are similar in appearance. 

However, the similarities end there because stainless steel and sterling silver are vastly different from one another.

So, if you were to choose one, what would it be? 

With that said, listed below are their definitions, differences, and the various pros and cons of each type of metal. 

Hopefully, with this article, you can choose which one works best for your needs and what will showcase your unique sense of style more. 

Let’s begin. 

Stainless Steel 

Stainless steel is a popular choice for jewelry, cutlery, and even surgical equipment due to its ability to offer better reflection of light after being polished. This gives it a higher level of sheen that can appeal to those who like to add a little bling to their outfits or their dining table. 

Stainless steel is composed of different metal alloys that have different chemical compositions as well. There are almost around 150 varieties of this metal but the most common is the combination of chromium and steel. 

This particular combination offers the durability, strength, as well as functionality of steel while offering the low-maintenance and corrosion-resistance of chromium. Other metals that can be used for stainless steel are nickel and titanium. 

Nevertheless, the numerous varieties of stainless steel mean that the one used for a particular product like your jewelry is different from the one used for food equipment like cutlery.  

Another reason for its popularity is the variety of options that can be done with it. It can be used to mimic the appearance of chrome or pewter. It’s also stronger and more durable, perfect for everyday use as it also offers incredible scratch-resistance. 

Check out the wide variety of stainless steel jewellery we offer by Italgem Steel.

Sterling Silver 

Silver is not just a metal but it’s also considered an element, with the chemical symbol of Ag. 

Just like its rarer cousins, gold, and platinum, silver is considered a precious metal and has numerous uses, not just jewelry. 

Sterling silver, in particular, is composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper alloy. They often alloy other metals – like copper, zinc, and platinum – with pure silver as the latter is too soft to use for anything durable or functional.  

Anything made out of pure silver has more chances of losing its original shape because of snagging, bending, and it can even end up broken. Because of this, sterling silver was created which offers more durability and functionality than pure silver. 

Jewelry and other items made of sterling silver often have 925 stamped on them to indicate their composition as sterling silver. It is often a popular choice for jewelry due to its receptive properties and the soft luster it offers.  

Aside from jewelry, however, it’s also used for items like cutlery and even musical instruments wherein some manufacturers choose sterling silver over brass for instruments like the saxophone. 

Check out a wide variety of sterling silver jewellery we offer at Bogart's.

Stainless Steel vs Sterling Silver 

Although both stainless steel and sterling silver are alloy metals, meaning that they’re a combination of several other metals, not just onethey still have differences that can affect your decision when deciding which one is better for your needs. 

With that said, in terms of durability and longer lifespan, stainless steel has more to offer as its combination of several different metals enables it to withstand the constant wear and tear of everyday use. 

Moreover, the adding of different metals also enables it to be corrosion and scratch-resistant, allowing you to use it for different uses and wear it on a daily basis with no worries about its appearance. 

However, if you’re looking for something that’s a bit more elegant and is malleable enough to be used for various intricate designs, especially for jewelry, then sterling silver is the better option. 

Additionally, sterling silver is more lightweight compared to stainless steel and since it’s a precious metal, it holds more value compared to stainless steel.  

On the other hand, sterling silver tarnishes more easily and since it’s softer, it’s more prone to damage and scratches compared to stainless steel.  

To summarize, stainless steel offers enhanced durability and longer lifespan than sterling silver due to its inherent corrosion and scratch-resistance. This makes it better for everyday use, especially for jewelry. 

However, if you want something that’s more lightweight and exudes elegance, then sterling silver is the way to go. 

Stainless Steel vs Sterling Silver: Pros and Cons 

Pros of Stainless Steel 

  • Corrosion-resistant 
  • Harder construction 
  • Increased durability 
  • Scratch-resistant 
  • Gives off a nicer shine compared to silver 
  • Versatile 
  • More affordable compared to silver 
  • Ideal for daily use 
  • Easy and low-maintenance cleaning 

Cons of Stainless Steel 

  • Cannot easily be repaired when damaged 
  • Can trigger allergic reactions in some people 

Pros of Sterling Silver 

  • It’s a precious metal yet more affordable than gold or platinum. 
  • Offers more malleability and versatility 
  • Easy to create intricate designs with it 
  • Can easily be cleaned and restored to its former glory 
  • Can easily be repaired in case of damages 
  • Offers a nice luster for jewelry which can add a touch of elegance to your appearance 

Cons of Sterling Silver 

  • More prone to damages like scratches due to its inherent softness 
  • More prone to tarnishing compared to stainless steel 
  • Tends to cost more than stainless steel 

Final Thoughts 

Depending on your needs, either stainless steel or sterling silver can work for you. Despite their highly similar appearance, they have vast differences – from their metal composition to their properties. 

Stainless steel offers increased durability and is ideal for everyday use as it can stand the wear and tear of consistent use. 

On the other hand, sterling silver offers more value than stainless steel and exudes a higher level of elegance, especially for jewelry. 

Nevertheless, both are great metals that are versatile enough to be used for various items – from jewelry to musical instruments.

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