Zinc Alloy vs. Stainless Steel Jewelry(Differences, Pros&Cons Explained in 2024)

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What do you go for between a zinc alloy and stainless steel jewelry? Which is better zinc alloy or stainless steel? Well, that all depends on what you’re going for. They both have good things going for them, and other things to consider before making a purchase.

Here, we are going to look at zinc alloy jewelry and stainless steel jewelry. We hope here you’re able to make an excellent and viable choice for your needs. The issue of pricing and metals will be tackled to ensure that you get what you need.

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Let’s get into it.


What is zinc alloy jewelry?

Zinc is alloyed with lead and tin. It is a material commonly used in making jewelry. The reason way zinc alloy gets used is that they are versatile and they are cheap.

Otherwise, it does tarnish and discolor. ( here is a detailed post you guys can read)Generally, they do take a few months to tarnish, but with the care, it should be able to last long when you do avoid moist and wet conditions. When not in use it ought to be in an airtight container with a silica gel sachet so that the moisture gets absorbed.

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Zinc is rarely used in its pure form; that is why it gets used to make metal alloys. Some of the alloys include brass, bronze, German silver, spring brass, and soft solder and lastly aluminum solder. ZAMAK is the name given to popular zinc alloys, that is, zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper. The best-known alloy of zinc is brass which is comprised of 55 percent copper.

Brass is most common because of its corrosion-resistant nature. In general, when zinc gets exposed to air, it naturally reacts with the carbon dioxide and thus forms a layer of zinc carbonate.

This layer is essential as it creates a protective coating that causes it not to react to air or water anymore. You’ll find that because of this factor, zinc alloy is what gets used to galvanize other metals so that it prevents corrosion.

When it comes to making fashion jewelry zinc alloy is a right choice because it is affordable. For that reason, as a person, you can purchase a ton of jewelry to complete your everyday look. It would make any woman want to buy their fair share of zinc alloy so that you have options.


What is the stainless steel jewelry?

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Stainless steel is an alloy of iron, carbon, and chromium at about 10.5 percent. The reason for the chromium is because it gives strength and corrosion resistance to the stainless steel. There are various degrees of grades, and they can have additional alloys such as nickel, titanium, molybdenum, and niobium. The additional metal is meant to boost resistance and also add strength and ductility. That allows it to weather environmental factors.

The best place to wear stainless steel is in tropical dry temperatures as it can weather the humidity. It is also best in super cold temperatures as it can also withstand the temperatures of outer space.

The types of stainless steel that get used for jewelry making is type 304 and also type 316L. The difference is that the former is also called chromium-nickel, and the latter has 2-3 percent molybdenum for increasing corrosion resistance.

The most popular grade of stainless steel, as mention is 304. It is made up of 18-20 percent chromium, 8-10 percent nickel, and 0.08 percent carbon. It is the same type of steel that gets used in making food container, and that also makes it ideal for jewelry.

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There are other alloys used in stainless steel are silicon, sulfur, phosphorus, nitrogen, and manganese.

In general, stainless steel tends to be hypoallergenic. That means that it has below normal and it is ideal because they are perfect for those who have allergic to metals in general.

The term hypoallergenic is also synonymous with ‘nickel-free’ because that is the metal that people around the world tend to be allergic to.

Do, however, keep in mind that there are instances where they would be nickel in the stainless steel. You have to specify when dealing with jewelry; there could be eight to twelve percent nickel.

Another aspect to know about stainless steel is that there over 100 alloys. Each has a unique SAE stainless steel grade number. The labeling can be one or more letters. The reason that there is typically nickel in the stainless steel is that it makes the iron and carbonless brittle.


The difference between Zinc Alloy Jewelry and Stainless Steel Jewelry

Let’s look at the good things and drawbacks of zinc alloy and stainless steel jewelry.

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Pro and cons of Zinc Alloy Jewelry and Stainless Steel Jewelry


  • Zinc alloy is a durable layer
  • Zinc is cost-effective to make
  • One great property of zinc alloy is because of it rustproof
  • This metal is also versatile as it can get alloyed with different metals
  • Zinc gets used to galvanized other metals


  • Not as strong as other metals
  • It is not as aesthetically pleasing


Pros and cons of stainless steel

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  • Stainless steel is durable so you can wear it every day
  • It also looks like fine jewelry
  • It can withstand scratches and corrosion thanks to the chromium layer
  • Stainless steel does not oxidize
  • You can clean your stainless steel jewelry only with water and liquid soap
  • It is affordable and thus budget-friendly
  • Stainless steel is also rustproof


  • Stainless steel can dent when hit with too much force
  • The metal is hard and stiff, therefore resizing is difficult
  • It is hard to set gemstones, so jewelers don’t like using it
  • If you have a nickel allergy, then you can’t wear stainless steel


Price of Zinc Alloy vs. Stainless Steel Jewelry

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In reality, stainless steel is more expensive, thanks to the chromium content it has. Chromium costs more than zinc, which explains why zinc is cheaper.

The other reason why stainless steel is more expensive is that it is corrosion-resistant. You will find that zinc is solid as well, but not as strong as stainless steel.

It is important to note that zinc is heavy and makes it an excellent corrosion-resistant alloy when mixed with other metals.

The other aspect that determines the cost of the metal is what alloys have gotten used. You can also have nickel-plated or gold-plated jewelry.

The same can be the case with stainless steel when it gets plated, for example, with gold or titanium and thus increasing the price of the alloys.

You do have to be careful when making a purchase- ask if you’re making a purchase of silver/gold jewelry or plated. If it is getting plated, it means that you’re not getting the actual value.


How to choose between the two?

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How then do you know what to choose? The reality is that these two metals are different and thus depends on what you’re looking for.

When looking at zinc alloy, there is a durable layer that protects the jewelry. Because zinc will tarnish after a few months, there are some things you can do to maintain the same look. One of those ways is using good old toothpaste to remove the faded color and the black tarnish. It is also cheap to keep, and you don’t have to worry about it rusting.

Stainless steel, on the other hand, is durable, and you’re able to wear it daily. The other thing is that because of the chromium later they are shiny, and thus you’re able to look like you’re earring white gold or titanium if that’s the look you’re going for.

It can also withstand scratches and corrosion and also doesn’t oxidize. Maintaining stainless steel is super simple. With just liquid soap and water, you’re able to clean them; you can do the same with baking soda and water.



Stainless Steel Jewelry Available on Amazon-Click the Picture to Check Price

Stainless steel does cost more, and zinc is also a good alternative for cheap jewelry. Another aspect to regard when choosing stainless steel or zinc alloy is knowing your target market if you’re a jeweler. What kind of metal do you want to sell to your customers?

You will need to look extensively at the pros and cons before picking the one you want. Talk to your supplier and let them let you know what alternatives you have with regards to the various alloys.

If you are, however, purchasing for yourself, then you can always pick both. You don’t have to choose if you have the choice. The only time where you have to make a choice is when you’re on a budget or do have a nickel allergy. Then you’ll have to settle for something different.

All in all, we hope this post was useful in helping you determine what the best type of jewelry to reach for.

For more posts, please visit our home page or go to our jewelry metals section. You will learn more about jewelry metals and jewelry tips.

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