If you haven’t, you should – it’s FABULOUS!
My relationship with stainless steel jewelry is relatively new; I most often work with anodized aluminum, copper, brass and occasionally bronze. In the past I’ve only purchased light-weight stainless steel chains to replace Sterling silver chains that had broken. While I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the stainless steel chains coordinated with the Sterling silver pendants I used them with, I still didn’t fully appreciate stainless steel’s mojo. However, my feelings changed a couple of years ago when I first started making chainmaille jewelry. I then fell DEEPLY in love with stainless steel jump rings!
Above & Below: Stainless Steel Chainmaille Bracelet, Persian 6:1 Weave, by Happy Eyeballz Designs
What I love most about stainless steel jewelry is how sturdy, durable and flexible it is, but not necessarily “industrial” looking. It has a neutral silvery-grey color (in a shiny or matte finish), and is an inexpensive alternative to precious metals like Sterling silver, platinum, and white gold. In its “natural” state, stainless steel is un-plated which is helpful to people with allergies or sensitivities to base metals like copper or brass. It’s also available with copper, silver, gold and other metal plating if that’s the look you want.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I must inform you that working with stainless steel DOES have 1 drawback. Specifically, despite its flexibility, IT’S STILL HARD AS HELL. [Think memory wire.] So, before you start a project, be sure that you have the proper tools on hand. For example, memory wire cutters MUST be used to cut stainless steel wire because if you use any other type of cutter it will be RUINED. Also, when using stainless steel (& bronze) jump rings it’s helpful to use parallel action pliers, especially when the gauge (wire) is 16 or greater.
If you’d like to learn more about the “FABULOUSITY” [I hereby declare this to be a REAL word henceforth!] of stainless steel jewelry, click on the following link which will take you to one of my favorite resources, Fire Mountain Gems. If you decide to conduct some hands-on stainless steel jewelry experimentation, please drop us a line to tell us how your [jewelry] world was rocked (or wrecked).