Stainless steel rings come in beautiful ornate styles and can last a lifetime if properly cared for. Unfortunately, some retailers advertise rings as being stainless steel when they are in fact made with aluminum or other materials that will tarnish and may even cause irritation to your finger. Know the signs of what to look for when considering authentic stainless steel rings.
Things You'll Need
Check the weight of the ring with a jewelry scale. Silver is heavier than other metals. Some retailers advertise rings as sterling silver, when the rings are actually aluminum. Aluminum has a density of 2700 kilograms and steel has a density of 7500 kilograms. If you do not have a personal jewelry scale, you can take the ring to your local jeweler.
Check for rust. Stainless steel does not rust. If you see a red or brown rust forming on the ring, it is likely the result of iron particles that have contaminated the surface of the steel. Take a look at the rusting and attempt to wipe it away with a rag using a solution made of even parts nitric and hydrofluoric acid. However, if the ring has rust on it, it is likely not 100% stainless steel.
Wipe the surface of the ring with a cloth to detect a natural shine, which is a feature of stainless steel finishes. If your ring is stainless steel, you should be able to see your reflection quite clearly.
Tap the ring with a brass key. If the ring is stainless steel, it will make a “ting” sound when tapped and the sound may even reverberate long after the tap.
References and ResourcesWarm Tips: How to Tell Stainless Steel from Aluminum
Materials Engineer: Stainless Steels