Stainless Steel Vs Sterling Silver, Tell You The Differences Between Them

Whenever you are going to buy new jewelry and sometimes kitchenware, you will come across stainless steel and sterling silver.

They have the same color, but they are utterly different.

When you look at the pieces, therefore you will realize that it’s identical. The metals have the same luster, so today, we are going to check the differences.

Note that silver is never just metal it’s instead an element that has a symbol, Ag. This product is rare, too, but it’s not as uncommon as gold and platinum.

In the world of jewelry, therefore, silver is one of the most precious options. Silver makes some of the best coins in the world, but you can also use gold, bronze, zinc, and lead.

One of the most critical features of silver is that silver is very soft and notice that you can’t use it to make all the jewelry last, but if you use an alloy, then it will be stronger.

The definition

Of course, when you want to understand the two metals all too well, we must define the two metals and elements.

When you are looking for the best jewelry for weddings and fancy events, you will have different gemstones and metals in mind.

When it comes to jewelry, people like to use gold, platinum, diamond, but you can also have silver. Traditionally these have been believed to be the best options; however, did you know that you can also use stainless steel.

For a long time, we have used stainless steel to make the kitchenware successfully. The metal is not only sleek and shiny; it’s also durable and versatile.

Today it has become a center of attraction with more buyers asking for stainless steel ornaments just as much as they ask for sterling silver.

Stainless steel

stainless steel

This features the use of steel and chromium. The two elements bring the strength, durability, and functionality of the steel.

It also features the low maintenance and corrosion resistance of the chromium. The metal makes cookware, surgical materials, architecture, and jewelry.


  • It’s cheaper but also looks so good on jewelry
  • It’s not prone to scratches
  • It won’t tarnish even if you wear it daily
  • They are much more durable.


  • Some people are affected by the jewelry as it causes skin reactions.

Want to know more about Stainless Steel Jewelry? Check the articles below.

How To Clean Stainless Steel Jewelry
Surgical Steel Vs Stainless Steel Earrings
Stainless Steel Jewelry Care
Stainless Steel Jewelry FAQ
Is Stainless Steel Hypoallergenic
Stainless Steel Jewelry Pros And Cons
Zinc Alloy Vs Stainless Steel Jewelry
Surgical Steel Vs. Stainless Steel

Sterling silver

This is a type of silver we use to make some of our best jewelry. Often it contains about 92.5% silver and another 7.5% combination of another metal.

sterling silver

If you are going to use pure silver, you may have a problem making it functional. The reason is that the element is way too soft. It’s further nicely flexible yet lustrous, which is why most people use it to make jewels.


  • This metal or better referred to as the precious element, is more affordable than platinum or gold.
  • The element is malleable, which makes it easy to mold into a piece of perfect jewelry. Well, this is the best reason why we have several unique jewel designs.
  • You can quickly repair the silver if you damaged it a little
  • Did you know that silver tarnishes easily? The best part though is that you can easily clean it. Therefore, it will maintain its appearance for a long time.


  • Compared to stainless steel metal silver is costly.
  • The jewelry is very soft then, which makes it susceptible to scratches.

Related article: Sterling Silver Vs Silver

Which metal is better when you are looking for jewelry?

I’m assuming you want to buy jewelry, and you don’t know which one to choose. About the above pros, there’s every reason why you would choose one and not the other. Here are the factors that may guide your decision.

More reading: Jewelry Metals – Metals For Jewelry Making

What is the cost

If you intend to buy the best piece, you shouldn’t worry about the cost. However, you may want the best piece in a jewelry store, and if you don’t have enough money for them, then you can’t take it.

Notice that there are so many things that determine the cost of the jewelry. The gemstone you use, the carat size, the cut, and the style will be factors that make it costly.

Stainless steel: Real stainless steel will be costly compared to galvanized steel. Still, it will not be as expensive as other metals in the market, which includes silver.

Sterling silver is expensive compared to stainless steel. Where the stainless steel will cost you about $3 per pound, you will need about $18 for sterling silver. This may not be the exact price, though the stainless steel will sometimes cost you higher than three dollars.

Thus expect to spend more if you are choosing sterling silver than if you wish to buy stainless steel.

Are you prone to skin allergies?

Unfortunately, most people who wear jewelry suffer from skin allergies when wearing jewelry. If you have sensitive skin, therefore, stay away from the metals that cause skin irritations.

Sterling silver: for most people, this is safe to use; you rarely hear people complain about allergies. The element that causes the reaction is nickel, and lucky for you, sterling silver never contains nickel.

More reading: Sterling Silver Allergy 

Often the additional metal is copper, and the good thing is that it rarely causes a skin reaction.

Stainless steel is also generally a safe choice since the metal they use to create jewelry is free of nickel. Nonetheless, you may have other metals that contain nickel, and that will cause skin reactions. You need to check, therefore, the type of metal you have.

Note: It’s important though to avoid the very cheaper options as they may be the ones with elements that cause skin reactions. Generally, though, both of this jewelry won’t cause irritations if you choose the highest quality ones.

Ease of maintenance

Of course, before you buy the jewelry, the first thing you should ask is how easy it is to maintain it. If you don’t keep it clean, then it won’t last long. If you are lucky, you may have the jeweler offering the polishing option.

Stainless steel: it’s easy to clean this metal generally, and if you clean it, you will keep it looking great. The good thing is that it never develops stains, although you may find watermarks. Remember to keep the piece clean at all times. You only need water and soap solution to clean it.

Sterling silver: here, you will have to be careful to make sure you don’t damage it. Unfortunately, if you won’t care for the silver, it will soon tarnish if you expose it to salty air.

Worry not, though, as you can clean it yourself. Just use a soft cloth to clean it and never leave it wet. Also, you shouldn’t use harsh chemicals on the silver; otherwise, it will tarnish. Also, do polish it once in a while.

Which one is durable?

We will consider the scratch resistance, hardness, chemical reaction resistance, and effects of the temperatures.

Stainless steel: this is one of the best metals that doesn’t stain, and it’s resistant to water, and it never corrodes. The stainless steel metal is also scratch-resistant.

Although you can use it every day, you shouldn’t use it in a chemical environment. In some circumstances, you could dent the stainless steel metal.

Sterling silver: in most cases, the silver is corrosion-prone, and maybe this is because of the alloy. Suppose you put the jewelry in a wet environment or in a harsh chemical; you will damage it. Remember, the material is soft, so it’s also possible that you can flake and dent it.

So for both metals, you can be sure that if you subject the metal to a harsh environment, it will corrode. But silver will react faster with other elements than steel.

Stainless steel is more durable, especially when we are talking about both high-quality products. Although you can wipe the silver when it tarnishes, it won’t last as long as the same quality stainless steel.

If you are going to use metal for jewelry, it would be best if you choose sterling silver over stainless steel.

Which one looks the best?

Of course, this may differ depending on who is seeing it. Nonetheless, it’s one thing that will determine the choice.

We will choose the one that attracts us the most. To understand it better though here we break it down:

Stainless steel and silver look almost the same with the perfect silver shine. It further has the same greyish white color.

Also, it appears smooth and pleasing to see. If you are looking at them under light, you can be sure they will seem even shinier.

Nonetheless, silver, as you would expect, is shinier than stainless steel. The steel one is duller, and it has a flatter shine style.

Of course, it goes that sterling silver is flat-out beautiful based on aesthetics. So if you want the classic shine, then you should choose sterling silver.

Although the surface of the stainless steel is almost the same, it can’t compare to silver. It’s no wonder silver works best in jewelry.

The flexibility and hardness

When we are talking of 100% silver, you can be sure the element is very soft and can’t make jewelry. But today, jewelers use sterling silver, which is a combination of other metals like copper to make it manageable.

So even when you use sterling silver, it’s still softer than the stainless steel options. The other positive is that the silver never corrodes.

It’s true, though, that stainless steel is harder than silver, and that’s why it works well when creating cookware.

Although it’s much more durable than silver, most people don’t like stainless steel for jewelry because of its weight.

When you want a class with the perfect shine, you will most likely go for silver as opposed to stainless steel.


Is stainless steel jewelry good?

We have this question coming up all the time. And the answer is yes, if you find a high-quality stainless steel jewel, it will serve you longer, but it’s also beautiful. Note that stainless steel is also affordable for its quality.

Can you tell the stainless steel from the silver jewel?

I must say that both jewels look just the same, but if you have been in this business as we have, it won’t be hard to tell the difference. The ornaments have a cool tone, the perfect shine, and sleekness. But obviously, the silver is shinier and smoother. You will notice this best when the light hits the jewelry.

If I was looking for jewelry for my wedding, which is the best material to use?

I bet there’s no right and wrong answer here. It will majorly depend on what you are looking for. Both pieces are great to use. I would say you may have different feature preferences, so it’s best to make sure it ticks all the boxes.

Both pieces have their advantages and disadvantages. Always research to make an informed decision. Of course, if you were to ask me, I would go for sterling silver, but another person would choose stainless steel.

Is it okay to shower or swim with the jewelry?

It’s not always advisable to go to the water with your precious jewelry. It may just over time, get damaged. But if you have stainless steel, you can wear it even in water.

Is sterling silver or stainless steel better?

We have broken down the different factors for you to choose the one that works best for you. I can’t deny that even though stainless steel is durable and still looks good, there’s just something that will attract you to sterling silver.

It’s classy and with the perfect shine/appearance. We may have a difference of opinion here, but silver is best used for jewelry than stainless steel. I know some of you will vouch for the stainless steel, and that’s okay since steel is an excellent metal.

Stainless steel is cost-effective, it’s durable, it generally looks good too. Nonetheless, if you experience allergies, you may want to stay away from stainless steel with nickel as part of the alloy.

Nonetheless, it’s not as easy to get stainless steel jewelry as it is sterling silver jewelry.

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