Stainless Steel, Not Just for Building

Hematite and steel pendant

Who would have thought a medal as industrial as stainless steel could be pretty enough, malleable enough for jewelry.  I know it’s been used that way for a while, but I always  snubbed it thinking it inferior for jewelry and a poor substitute for sterling.

Well time certainly does change everything. The higher price of sterling along with a love for white metal has finally made me try working with stainless steel.

Steel is quite hard, no wonder it’s used in all kinds of constructions from swords to buildings!  I have to admit though, it does have a soft luster and subtle beauty to it.

So I’ve given in, even though it hurts my hands to work this wire and my tools, so accustomed to copper, are becoming damaged.  I’ve found a new metal to play with!  I can combine it with my copper, bronze, brass and maybe just a touch of sterling.

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About zoraidabros

I'm Zoraida and I design and create handmade, one of a kind jewelry. My work is inspired by the art of ancient world cultures that have endured the shifting trends of fashion. I prefer to work in copper and semi precious gemstones but also appreciate fine lamp work beads, wood and other artistically crafted materials. Please visit my studio at and my website at
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18 Responses to Stainless Steel, Not Just for Building

  1. Donna Geurin says:

    Zoraida, absolutely stunning. You never cease to amaze me. I always check to see what you have made.

  2. zoraidabros says:

    Thanks Donna!! I guess you never really get to old to learn something new 🙂

  3. Tela Formosa says:

    Lovely work! Coming from someone who has worked with stainless, I am very impressed with what you’ve done with it. It makes my hands hurt, too and yes, it is murder on the tools!

  4. Carla Burke says:

    Well, I guess that decides it for me, too! Until now, I’ve only used stainless for purely utilitarian purposes, feeling the same sentiments you exressed. I have agift project I’ve been procrastinating on, because it requiresa white metal, & it requires far too much wire to allow for the expense of more precious metals.

    Stainless it shall be! Leave it to you to find the quiet beauty of this ‘sleeper’ metal. 😀

  5. Rose says:

    That pendant is really lovely. You’ve managed to master yet another metal!

  6. zoraidabros says:

    Thank you Rose. I wouldn’t say mastered just yet but I’m enjoying the challenge.

  7. Diane Smith says:

    It doesn’t surprise me how beautiful your new stainless steel designs are. I think you could take twigs and make something beautiful from it! Kudos for being open enough to try something new & experimenting with it. You never cease to amaze me with your talent & ingenuity. Kudos!

  8. Janicef Plasterer says:

    Zoraida, I love the look. I also work with alot of copper so how hard is it really on your hands? Also where do you purchase steel wire? Thanks again Janice P

    • zoraidabros says:

      Thanks Janice! Stainless steel is about as hard as half hard sterling silver. Of course, it depends on the gauge you use – 26 GA is a lot easier than 18 or 16 Ga which are more difficult to manipulate.
      Also, I think square is more difficult than round. In any case, it’s worth trying. I’ve been buying my wire from FDJ Tool – They have a great assortment and good prices. I’ve never had any problems with my orders. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

  9. Deniseinark says:

    Thanks for showing us. I know that this is an old post, and I’m guessing that you’re doing well enough these to go ahead and use more sterling, but have you continued to use the stainless? I’ve taken to using a lot of half-hard nickel or German silver. Is the stainless about the same difficulty to work with? Would you recommend either one or both?

    • zoraidabros says:

      Hi Denise! No I haven’t worked with stainless again but may do so again in the future. I was looking for a white metal that would be less expensive than sterling silver. It is very hard to use. I’ve never tried nickel or German silver so I can’t really compare. I have worked with copper,bronze,sterling and even aluminum though. I’d say bronze was the next hardest metal I’ve tried. Frankly, for a white metal, I’d go with either silver filled or solid sterling since many people have allergic reactions to nickel (like me).

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