Does Stainless Steel Jewelry Tarnish? All you Need to Know!

Does Stainless Steel Jewelry Tarnish? All you Need to Know!

The shiny appearance makes stainless steel an excellent choice for jewelry. Jewels made from this metal have an understated look that blends with several outfits. Unlike silver and sterling silver, stainless steel doesn’t tarnish or change color in a few months or years. 

Does it mean stainless steel jewelry doesn’t tarnish? Not exactly. Stainless steel jewelry can tarnish in extreme cases where it has impurities in the metal or is exposed to water/ moisture for prolonged periods. 

How is Stainless Steel Jewelry Made? 

Stainless steel is a combination of metal alloys of chromium, titanium, and nickel. It is strong, durable, and break-resistant. The silver-like color (white metallic shade) makes stainless steel a great choice for jewelry. 

316L stainless steel is used to make jewelry and contains carbon, iron, silver, and manganese, apart from chromium, nickel, and other metals. Steel is tempered (heated and cool thrice) and then heated to mold into necessary shapes. Specific tools are used to make stainless steel jewelry. The tempering process ensures the metal’s durability and strength. That’s why stainless steel jewelry has a long life. 

Why Does Stainless Steel Jewelry Tarnish? 

Stainless steel belongs to the category of metals that do not tarnish. It is corrosion-resistant and highly durable. However, stainless steel jewelry will also tarnish, but not for a long time. 

But why does it tarnish? 

It’s because of the chromium level in the stainless steel used to make the jewelry. Stainless steel alloy is used for jewelry and contains a combination of metals prone to rust and corrosion. 

However, the presence of chromium reduces the risk of oxidation and tarnishing. But if the chromium layer is damaged, the metals oxidize. It doesn’t happen as fast as it occurs in other metals, but it will tarnish one day, nevertheless. 

Furthermore, stainless steel jewelry can show signs of discoloration and appear dull due to repeated use (and lack of proper care). This makes the pieces look tarnished. A good round of cleaning and polishing will make your stainless steel jewelry look new and shiny.  

Is Stainless Steel Jewelry Waterproof? 

Yes and no. 

Stainless steel is rust and corrosion-resistant (to an extent) and can be exposed to water. You don’t have to worry if you get wet in the rain or take a shower with your stainless steel jewelry (though the remains of soap can eat away at the protective film). 

However, stainless steel should not be exposed to chlorinated water in swimming pools or salt water in oceans and seas. Chlorine and salts speed up corrosion. An occasional swim won’t harm your stainless jewelry, but make sure to wash off the residue with tap water, just in case. 

Your stainless steel jewelry will lose its sheen and display signs of tarnish when repeatedly exposed to different types of water. Check out the lightweight Silver Hoop Earrings with a stainless steel post to pair with your outfit for all occasions. 

Tips to Prevent Stainless Steel Jewelry From Tarnishing

Taking good care of your stainless steel jewelry can further delay tarnish and keep it as good as new. Do your best to prevent the jewelry from getting scratched. These are almost impossible to remove. 

Mild Soap & Water 

Use mild and chemical-free soap with tap water to clean your stainless steel jewelry. Wipe with a soft towel and leave it to dry before storing the jewelry inside. Do this once every three months or so, depending on the usage. 


Take a soft cloth and rub it all over the stainless steel jewelry. This will remove dirt particles, thus preventing the accumulated residue from damaging the protective layer. However, be careful not to use excessive force when polishing. Tiny dust particles can cause fine scratches on the surface. 

Proper Storage 

Always store stainless steel jewelry in a clean and dry place. Don’t leave it out in the open. Don’t store it in moist and damp conditions. You can use a jewelry box or a pouch to store the jewelry. Close the lid to prevent exposure to the atmosphere.  


Use vinegar only if the stainless steel jewelry has discoloration or tarnish. Mix white vinegar or baking soda with water. Follow the 1:1 ratio for water and vinegar solution. 

Soak the jewelry in the solution for 15 minutes and wipe with a soft cloth. Wash it under running tap water and pat dry to prevent water stains. 

You can also dip a soft cloth in vinegar and rub it on the stainless steel jewelry to remove the tarnish. Wash it with clean water afterward. 

Lemon Juice 

Mix lemon juice and cream of tartar in equal parts. Apply the paste on the tarnished stainless steel jewelry. Rub it on the stains for a few minutes and rinse with warm water. Pat it dry with a soft cloth. This method is useful for tougher stains. 

The tarnish on stainless steel is not permanent. It can be removed and prevented from occurring again by taking good care of your jewelry. 

Pros & Cons of Stainless Steel Jewelry 

Stainless steel jewelry is popular because it has more advantages than disadvantages. Let’s take a brief look at the pros and cons of using this metal. 


  • Stainless steel is a cheaper and cost-effective option 
  • The metal looks similar to white metal jewelry 
  • Takes a long time to tarnish and can be used as everyday jewelry 
  • Strong metal that doesn’t break or bend easily 
  • Easy to clean and maintain compared to expensive metals 


  • Some people can be allergic to stainless steel jewelry 
  • It is a hard metal and not a good option for resizing (still possible, though)  


Stainless steel jewelry can easily last a long time without showing signs of tarnishing. Even though it is available in a single color, it is a preferred choice of metal for many jewelry lovers. Don’t forget to try the hot new jewelry collection at Bijou Limon and flaunt your taste. 

Written By:
Christiane Bilodeau

Traveling and exploring fashion for the last couple of decades. A passionate curator for your stylings, providing access to hundreds of the most fashionable jewelry. Rosé, parties, and bikinis are her favorites. And jewelry. FIERCE METAL GRACES HER NECK! When she`s not designing jewelry, you can find her mixing cocktails.

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