Zinc Alloy Vs Stainless Steel Jewelry – Which One Should You Choose

Which metal would you choose zinc alloy or stainless steel?

The versatility that comes with metalsmith jewelry is what makes the industry keep growing.

Of course, different people prefer different jewel metals; that’s why we deem it necessary to show you the difference between these two.

The first thing to note is that they both have the best sides; therefore, you will only need to know what you like then choose the one to go with.

What’s zinc alloy?

Zinc alloy is one of the most common metals that’s used to make jewelry. People like it because of its versatility and its affordability.

It features the alloy of lead and tin to make the perfect jewelry. Note that most metals that make jewels come in alloy form, and zinc is one such type.

zinc alloy jewelry

The jewelers use the casting alloy, which means you can use silver, bronze, and brass. You may also use aluminum, magnesium, and copper to make the zinc alloy.

The good news is you can use nickel if you want. But the jewelry will always choose the perfect combination for the metal.

The jewels made of zinc alloy like the ones made of silver have a significant drawback, and it’s that they tarnish and discolor over time. However, zinc alloy jewels are cheap, which is why they are common in the market.

Nonetheless, they will last longer if you store them and care for them. Since it contains different metals, you can be sure it can corrode if you don’t keep it well. However, if you choose the brass one, you are safe since it’s corrosion-resistant.

For safety, choose the jewelry pieces with protective layers making sure it doesn’t corrode when exposed to air and water. The other positive is that it’s cheap, making it easy for you to purchase different styles.


  • It’s also durable, like most other jewel metals.
  • You will like the fact that it’s budget-friendly as that gives you a choice to buy the different types.
  • The jewel is rustproof because of the alloy metals.
  • you will like the versatility, and you can use it for different reasons.


  • It’s not as strong as the other options we do have.

What is stainless steel jewelry?

It features an alloy of iron, carbon, and chromium.

Stainless steel is one of the common metals you use to make cookware autos and also jewels. Its chromium layer is the reason why the pieces of jewelry are corrosion resistant.

Remember, you will choose the grade of the stainless steel jewelry that pleases you from the many categories we have.

stainless steel jewelry

Stainless steel also has additional metals to add strength and vitality. These kinds of pieces of jewelry are ideal for those in dry tropical climates. Even if you are in cold temperatures, they will still make the jewel durable.

Of course, there are different types of jewels, but the one that people use for jewelry is 304. Sometimes though, they use the 316L one too. Both models are great options with different advantages.

You will like the different grades since they increase the corrosion resistance. Often you will use grade 304 for the food containers and cookware. You will also like the fact that stainless steel is hypoallergenic. For this, therefore, only choose the types that are nickel free.

Jewelers know the type that has nickel, but you also have about 100 more alloys to try.


  • The durability is the most attractive feature. It will last longer than most other jewels if you take proper care of it.
  • You can use stainless steel to make different kinds of beautiful jewelry.
  • Most of them have chromium layers that make them able to stand corrosion, and they will never scratch either.
  • Unlike most other metals that make the jewels, stainless steel will never oxidize.
  • They are easy to clean, and you only need water and mild soap.
  • It’s one of the most affordable pieces on the market, making it easy for you to buy a different choice.
  • It’s further rustproof even though its stainless steel will never rust easily.


  • If you hit it with too much force, then you will have it dented.
  • If you want to resize it, it’s next to impossible since it’s hard.
  • If you wanted to set a gemstone, you can’t do it quickly. Jewelers don’t use it often when they intend to add on a gem.

The differences

Although the jewels may appear similar, they are quite different.

The difference in durability

When buying jewelry, the first thing one considers is durability. Everyone wants to have the jewels that will serve them for a long time. And between zinc and stainless steel, it goes without saying that stainless steel is more durable.

This metal is usually a hard alloy, and it will handle the tear and wear more comfortably. If you buy stainless steel jewelry, you will have a high return on investments. Remember, if you keep it right, then you can be sure it will not corrode.

If you were using pure zinc, you could be sure it would last long since it’s a pretty sturdy metal. Unfortunately, we also add minerals like copper and brass to make it much more robust. Also, with the extra metal, you add dimensions as well.

So understand that the zinc metal has different dimensions, but it’s also durable. Remember, though, that you will have to take good care of it to last longer.

Note: if you say that zinc is strong and durable, we will say that stainless steel is even stronger and durable. They are both great pieces, but if you want a one-piece that will last longer then you can use stainless steel.

Does it tarnish?

Most jewels will tend to tarnish over time. Zinc will tarnish because it contains copper, and therefore, it will react with the air outside to form the tarnish.

The only difference is that it doesn’t tarnish faster. It has a protective film to prevent the tarnishing from happening sooner. It will, therefore, depend on a blend of alloy you have.

Stainless steel like the zinc above may tarnish, but the truth is that it takes longer for the tarnishing to happen. It occurs due to reactions with elements in the environment.

Nonetheless, it’s safe for those who know how to take care of it. It will never tarnish; in fact, it may take forever for it even to change color.

Check out the guide to know more information about stainless steel tarnishing.

So, in a nutshell, stainless steel will tarnish, but it takes longer than zinc if subjected to the same environmental conditions.

More reading: Jewelry Metals That Don’T Tarnish

Do these pieces rust?

The good thing you will find is that the piece won’t even rust. Generally, the stainless steel won’t rush, but neither does the zinc rust. It will further depend on the alloy metals you use.

The ones that won’t rust contain chromium metal in the alloy. This often forms a protective layer that keeps it safe from rust.

Remember to choose the metal that has at least 10% chromium.

The versatility

More than anything, you will like the jewels because of their versatility. Of course, we all go to order ornaments for different reasons. Depending on why you are buying the jewel, you can be sure to have it serve you longer.

Stainless steel will serve you for different occasions, mostly because you can have it in many styles.

Is it good material?

Let’s just say that good is relative. For some, you will find the zinc being good while others say stainless steel is good. But for the aesthetic appeal, I must say the stainless steel has a better shine and look than the zinc jewels.

You should take extra care of the pieces if you want them to serve you longer and look as good as new.

Do you expect an allergic reaction?

Of course, the metal that causes the problem is nickel, so it will depend on whether the alloy you are using has nickel. This is, therefore, to say that whether you are using zinc or stainless steel, they can either cause a skin reaction or not.

Whichever jewel you use, if it doesn’t contain nickel, you are almost sure it won’t cause the reactions. Stainless steel contains nickel, and for some people, it stirs a reaction while to others, the chromium offers protection.


As you would expect, stainless steel is more expensive, mainly since it contains chromium, which is why it doesn’t corrode or rust. Zinc is containing no chromium, and even the alloys that make it are just not pricey.

However, if it contains chromium, then expect it to be just a little costly. Still, the zinc is massive, which is why it never destroys. But it’s not as strong as stainless steel, which is why it’s more durable and thus a lot more costly.

Consider the fact that if you get jewelry with a gold plate, it will be costlier than if it’s a nickel plate. For example, if you use stainless steel and then have it gold plated, you can be sure it will be expensive.

Still, be very observant when you are purchasing to be sure you buy the right.

How to choose between stainless steel and zinc

When you choose the jewels, you will need to consider a few options we have listed below.

Where will you buy it?

Of course, the first thing to do is make sure you order the jewels from legit brands. If you are sure the jewel store you are going to buy the jewels from is legit, then you are good to go. Of course, this means that they will maintain the perfect aesthetic appeal; and you can use them for years.

There are many shops in the market, but we advise you to visit Amazon for a wide variety and fair pricing. You are further safe since you can use the guide of the prior buyer’s review.

The tarnishing question

Most jewel buyers want to know if their new jewels will tarnish. So well, stainless steel rarely tarnishes. This is unless you subject it to a very harsh environment. If you are concerned about this, therefore you should choose stainless steel.

Zinc will tarnish in a few months, so you should keep polishing it to maintain its newness. With proper care, you’re it will still serve you greatly. The good thing though, is that it won’t rust, and it’s easy to maintain. When you notice tarnish, just start to clean it sooner.

Does it scratch?

You will like your stainless steel and silver because if you keep them right, you can surely be sure they won’t scratch.

When the price is an issue

If you are on a budget, I would advise choosing a high-quality zinc jewel because they are cheaper. Stainless steel is a little costly.

Have you checked the authenticity?

Before you settle on the pieces, test to see that the zinc and stainless steel are of great quality. If you don’t choose the best quality ones, then they won’t serve you right.

Check the reviews

If you are ordering the jewel pieces online, you should confirm that the stainless steel or zinc jewels are excellent by reading the review. This is the major reason why you should order from sites like Amazon. If you notice it has a lot of negative reviews, just leave.

What are you looking for in the jewels?

If you want a silver-like shine, you can choose stainless steel. If you like a budget-friendly option but still want to look good, you can select the zinc option.

Which one will it be? Stainless steel or zinc alloy?

Lastly, I want to help you decide, but I just can’t. I know we may have different preferences, and that’s okay. I feel like both options are great, especially when you know what you are looking for in the jewel.

You can use the pros and cons to guide you to the right jewels. But if it’s your very first time you can buy both of them to test and see which one serves you better.

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