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Can I Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry In The Ocean? Will It Tarnish?

Can I Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry In The Ocean? Will It Tarnish?

I am surprised on how stainless-steel jewelry, especially rings and bracelets, have grown in popularity. There is quite a few myths and misconceptions around stainless steel and where it can be worn that I also believed until recently.

Can stainless steel jewelry be safely worn in the ocean? Stainless steel jewelry can endure a small amount of exposure to salt water. A small amount of tarnishing can occur but that can easily be wiped off with fresh water. But, its not recommended to wear any form of jewelry while swimming in the ocean.

Stainless steel jewelry can last forever if looked after correctly. Not all stainless steel is created equally and there are a few things to consider before exposing your jewelry to the elements.

Should I Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry In The Ocean

It is not a good idea to wear any jewelry while swimming in the ocean. Even stainless steel will show small signs of tarnishing after been exposed for the day. Although, the durability of your rings, necklaces or bracelets will depend on the quality of stainless steel and if the jewelry contains any other materials.

Stainless steel is very durable but if your jewelry contains a clasp or other cheap material these could easily rust or rot from the exposure. Not to mention, sand is very hard on all types of jewelry. Sometimes rusting or tarnishing can form in the joints or bends of your jewelry if left exposed to saltwater for too long.

Not only will the ocean water damage jewelry but just being exposed to seaside atmosphere for the day can begin the rusting process. Also, sea water contains dissolved organic and inorganic materials that can further damage your jewelry. But, if a small amount of tarnishing has formed on your jewelry it should wipe off easily when rinsed with fresh water.

If you want the most durable stainless-steel accessories, I recommend only buying jewelry that contains medical grade 316L stainless steel. It is the most durable of all grades while still being affordable.

Another reason to not swim in the ocean with your jewelry is it can be easily lost. When you swim in cold water your hands shrink and rings can easily fall off. Many very expensive engagement and wedding rings have disappeared into the ocean because of this.

You also don’t want to be wearing any shiny objects when swimming in the ocean. That is a good way to attract a variety of unwanted sea creatures.

Sun lotions will not harm stainless steel jewelry since they don’t contain any corrosive material. The only exception is if the jewelry contains string (strung jewelry), sun lotions will rot any type of string.

A lot of people will store their jewelry in a plastic or zip lock bag while swimming. This is not a good idea because you are trapping moist air with your jewelry and the metal cannot breathe. Doing this expedites the rusting/oxidizing process rather than preventing it.

It is recommended to either leave your jewelry at home or store it in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area while you swim.

Can You Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry In The Pool

Just like swimming in the ocean you should remove all jewelry when swimming in a pool, especially if it contains chlorine. Chlorine is very hard on all types of jewelry including stainless steel. In fact, chlorine will corrode stainless steel faster than sea water.

Chlorine breaks down the film on the surface of stainless steel called chromium and then begins to eat away at the metal.

Minor exposure is to chlorine is ok and unlikely to cause permanent damage, but long-term exposure will damage your jewelry and any other material exposed. If exposed, just rinse it off with warm soapy water to clean off the chlorine and any tarnish.

Can You Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry In The Shower

It is safe to shower while wearing stainless steel jewelry. Exposure to soaps and washing gels will not harm the metal. But, if there is any other material contained in the jewelry, water and soap could cause rusting and rotting of that material.

Clasps, strings or other mechanical parts that are part of the jewelry, and not stainless steel, could be damaged. You don’t want to trap moisture and water in the crevices of those parts.

There is a common myth that if you shower while wearing stainless steel jewelry your exposed skin will turn green. This doesn’t happen if your jewelry contains high quality stainless steel such as 316L. If your skin does turn green, then you’ve been sold something that is not stainless steel.

The only metals that will turn your skin green upon exposure to water are copper and bronze. Those metals should never be worn in the shower or exposed to water.

Most tap water doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals capable of tarnishing stainless steel. But, its not recommended to leave your jewellery submerged under water for hours.

Is it Safe To Wear Stainless Steel Jewelry

This is a very common question since stainless steel is used for appliances and medical instruments. But stainless steel has become more popular in both men and women’s jewelry because of high durability and low price.

Stainless steel can mimic the look of more expensive jewelry and precious metals while remaining affordable and budget friendly. This is the reason rings made of stainless steel are the smart choice for everyday wear, very durable and very strong. This metal is also widely used for body jewelry.

Medical grade stainless steel is perfectly safe and hypoallergenic. The most two common types of medical grade stainless steel are 304L and 316L. It is recommended to only buy medical grade stainless steel and for this reason Rebels Depot only carries 316L medical grade stainless steel jewelry.

Stainless steel is very resistant to scratching and corrosion because of a protective layer of chromium that prevents oxidation (rusting) of the metal. Another bonus is you can easily keep your jewelry clean by simply using warm soapy water as opposed to cleaning silver, bronze, and copper.

But stainless steel can be dented and be difficult to size because the metal is very hard, rigid and stiff.

If you have a severe nickel allergy, it is not recommended to even wear 316L medical grade stainless steel. 316L stainless steel contains between 8% – 10.5% nickel and is not suitable for people with severe nickel allergies.

An alternative, if you are allergic to nickel, is either niobium or titanium jewelry.