When it comes to stainless steel jewelry, the two grades most commonly used are 304 and 316-grade stainless steel. While both are made from the same material, there are several key differences between the two grades that are important to consider when deciding which type of jewelry to purchase.
The composition difference in the material
The most obvious difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel jewelry is the composition of the material. 304 stainless steel contains 18-20% chromium and 8-10.5% nickel, while 316 stainless steel contains 16-18% chromium, 10-14% nickel, and 2-3% molybdenum. Molybdenum is a chemical element that provides enhanced corrosion resistance properties, making 316 stainless steel more resistant to corrosion than 304 stainless steel.
The difference in durability
Another key difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel jewelry is durability. 304 stainless steel is less durable than 316 stainless steel and can be more prone to scratches and dents. While both types of steel are hardened for strength, 316 stainless steel is more resistant to the elements and daily wear and tear. This makes 316 stainless steel more desirable for jewelry that will be worn frequently and exposed to the elements.
Price difference difference
The cost difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel jewelry is another factor to consider when deciding which type of jewelry to purchase. Generally, 316 stainless steel jewelry will cost more than 304 stainless steel jewelry. This is due to the higher cost of molybdenum, as well as the higher quality of the material.
The difference in nickel content
One final difference between 304 and 316 stainless steel jewelry is in regard to the presence of nickel. 304 stainless steel contains more nickel than 316 stainless steel, making it more suitable for people who have sensitive skin or who may suffer from allergies to nickel. 316 stainless steel is a better option for those who prefer hypoallergenic jewelry.
When deciding between 304 and 316 stainless steel jewelry, it is important to consider the composition of the material, the durability of the material, the cost difference, and any allergies to nickel. Each grade of stainless steel has its own unique set of properties, and understanding these can help identify which type of jewelry is best suited for your individual needs.