The corrosion-resistance of iron-chromium alloys was first recognised in 1821 by the French metallurgist Pierre Berthier, who noticed the resistance against attack by some acids. It is this attack which makes other metals tarnish, most noticeably in silver. This is why the use of this iron-chronium alloy was suggested for its use in cutlery. Stainless steel however was officially discovered between 1900 and 1919 in both Sheffield in England and the US at the same time, both fighting for the same patent.
After years of development, stainless steel was marketed under the ‘Staybrite’ brand in England and was actually used in the construction of the new entrance for the Savoy Hotel in London in 1929.
Stainless steel was then incorporated into the designs of mens watches, which then went on to encourage designs of stainless steel jewellery in around 1980, mostly for men at first, but now with ladies and unisex jewellery also.
The properties of stainless steel make it virtually indestructible. It has a minimum of 10% chronium mixed with iron and when other metals are added such as nickel, molybdenum, titanium and copper, it can be up to 1,000 times stronger than iron. Stainless steel is tarnish and scratch resistant and extremely strong. It is also unlikely to discolour.
There are many different types of finishes stainless steel can have, such as millegrain, matt, polished and brushed which help create a multitude of different looks.
Stainless steel is also a fantastic choice for those who suffer with nickel allergies as it is extremely unlikely that a reaction will be caused by wearing this metal. It is for this reason that medical ID jewellery is commonly made with stainless steel.
Stainless steel is an ideal choice for sturdy, hardwearing and modern jewellery designs.
Care and Cleaning
To clean stainless steel, simply wash the item in warm soapy water, then rinse in cold clean water. Dry thoroughly before wearing.
Stainless steel can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.
This method of cleaning is not recommended for watches. Please follow the manufacturers guidelines when cleaning stainless steel watches.