WHAT JEWELRY DOES NOT RUST?


Here's a list of what you'll learn in this post:


  • First, what causes metal to rust?
  • What is the difference between corrosion and rust?
  • What metals don't rust: top 10
  • How to get rust off of jewelry:
  • How to prevent rust:

Rust is a form of corrosion that affects metal when exposed to oxygen and moisture. If left untreated, rust can cause jewelry to break down and become brittle. But not all jewelry is susceptible to rusting. Some metals, like pure gold and platinum, are resistant to corrosion. Read on for a list of some of the best metals for jewelry that won't rust.


FIRST, WHAT CAUSES METAL TO RUST?


Iron oxide is a substance that causes rust on metal. When iron comes into contact with oxygen in the air, it erodes due to this harsh chemical reaction. The appearance of rust on metal appears as an orange-brown discoloration.


Water is the leading cause of metal rust. Water molecules can enter microscopic openings in iron and steel, which seem solid from the outside. This process begins the corrosion. Rust in water is accelerated when salt is present; similarly, exposure to sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide will accelerate the corrosion.


Iron rust causes metal pieces to expand, putting significant strain on the entire metal structure. Simultaneously, metal particles become flaky and brittle as a result, which can lead to breakage.



WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CORROSION AND RUST?


Some individuals mix up the terms corrosion and rust. Corrosion is a catch-all phrase referring to any metal material's degradation by oxidation or other chemical processes. In contrast, rust is the process of corroding iron and iron alloys. Thus, the main distinction between rust and corrosion is that rust exclusively refers to the rust of iron, not to other forms of corrosion.




WHAT METALS DON'T RUST: TOP 10



Remember, just because these metals don't rust doesn't mean they don't corrode. They each experience different types of corrosion, including pitting in stainless steel or the bluish-green patina that develops on oxidized copper.


 

1. ALUMINUM METAL


Aluminum metal is one of the most widely used metals on the planet, and it's perhaps the most well-known for not rusting. Aluminum contains almost no iron, while rust is made of iron oxide. Thus, aluminum does not rust because it only contains trace amounts of iron, but it is still vulnerable to metal corrosion.



2. BRASS METAL


Another metal that doesn't rust is brass because it contains little iron; therefore, it does not rust (similarly to aluminum).



3. BRONZE METAL 


For the same reason as aluminum, bronze metal does not rust, as it has a tiny amount of iron in it. Because of this, no iron oxide, or rust, can develop.



4. COPPER METAL


Copper, brass, and bronze do not rust for the same reason as aluminum. All three hardly have any iron in them; therefore, no iron oxide, or rust, can develop. However, with exposure to air over time, copper can develop a blue-green patina on its surface.



5. CORTEN OR WEATHERING STEEL


Weathering steel, also known as "COR-TEN" steel, contains up to 21% of alloying elements such as chromium, copper, nickel, and phosphorous. The alloys form a protective rust patina that slows down the metal corrosion process with time.



6. GALVANIZED STEEL


Carbon steel, or galvanized steel, would most likely corrode if not coated with one or more layers of zinc. The zinc coating serves as a sacrificial metal for the steel. In contrast to the iron in steel, the zinc layer will combine with oxygen more rapidly. This combination develops a coating of zinc oxide that stops the growth of iron oxide, hence preventing the development of rust.


 

7. PURE GOLD METAL


Another metal that doesn't rust is pure gold; because pure gold is a non-reactive metal, so it does not react with oxygen (one of the most active elements); hence, it will never rust or tarnish.



8. PLATINUM METAL


Platinum - the chemical symbol PT - is classed as a 'noble' metal. This means it is unreactive, and platinum will not tarnish, corrode, rust, or change color over time.



9. PURE SILVER METAL


Pure silver doesn't rust because it doesn't contain iron. It is resistant to metal corrosion and does not oxidize readily, although it sometimes develops a silver sulfide tarnish on its surface layer.



10. STAINLESS STEEL METAL


Yes, stainless steel is another example of a metal that does not rust. However, it's crucial to remember that some grades are more rust-resistant than others. High levels of nickel and chromium are present in austenitic stainless steels like 304 and 316. Before the iron can react, the chromium mixes with the oxygen to generate a chromium oxide coating. Due to its high corrosion resistance, this layer shields the underlying metal from rust and prevents it from developing. However, ferritic or martensitic stainless steels may rust more easily due to lower amounts of chromium.



HOW TO GET RUST OFF OF JEWELRY


There are a few home remedies to remove rust. For example, you can use baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice.


1. BAKING SODA: 


Baking soda is a great way to remove rust from jewelry. Make a paste out of baking soda and water. Then, apply the paste to the rusty areas and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the paste into the rust. Then, rinse the jewelry off with fresh water and dry it off.



2. WHITE VINEGAR:


White vinegar is another excellent way to remove rust from jewelry. Removing rust using vinegar is effective because the acid in vinegar destroys rust because it is acidic in nature. The acid in the vinegar will eat through the rust and corrosion that has tainted the metal, making it simpler to remove with an abrasive sponge.


First, soak the jewelry in white vinegar for a few minutes. Then, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the white vinegar into the rust. Then, rinse the jewelry off with fresh water and dry it off using a soft, cotton cloth.



3. LEMON ACID:


Lemon juice is another great way to remove rust from jewelry. The acidity of the lemon juice reacts with the rust (iron oxide) to soften and dissolve the deposits making them easier to scrub away.


First, soak your jewelry in lemon juice for a few minutes. Then, use a soft-bristle toothbrush to scrub the lemon juice into the rust. Then, rinse the jewelry off with fresh water and dry it off using a soft, cotton cloth.




HOW TO PREVENT RUST:



1. REMOVE JEWELRY BEFORE SWIMMING


Swimming, of course, involves getting your jewelry wet, making it easier for rust to form. Furthermore, chlorine and components such as salt found in oceans and pools can aid the rusting process. These chemicals and harsh elements can have several negative consequences on jewelry.




2. APPLY A SEALANT SPRAY 


Sealant sprays are available at most craft and hardware stores. Some are created with silicone as a base, while others use different chemicals. Spraying your jewelry and allowing it to dry completely produces a barrier between water, oxygen, and your piece. This barrier slows down or even prevents the rusting process.




3. USE CLEAR NAIL POLISH


Simply apply a layer of clear nail polish to any exposed metal surface to keep your jewelry from rusting. Clear nail polish will create a barrier that will protect the metal from moisture and air. You can reapply the nail polish as needed to maintain the protection.




4. UTILIZE CLEAR BAGS


Keep each piece of jewelry in its own sealable bag if possible. The additional layer of plastic can assist in keep the air out even if the pieces are placed in an airtight container. You can place your necklaces, bangles, and earrings in transparent poly bags that allow you to view inside easily without exposing the pieces to moisture.




5. USE SILICA GEL PACKS



Silica gel packs are great for more than just keeping your jewelry box organized - they also help prevent tarnishing when you travel.


The two main rust-causing agents are moisture and oxygen, which gel packs are excellent at absorbing. So, keeping your jewelry in a gel pack-protected environment gives your jewelry a fighting chance against corrosion. Just make sure the gel packs are the right size for your jewelry box to avoid overcrowding and keep them in good condition.




6. CLEAN JEWELRY REGULARLY


One of the best ways to prevent rust is to clean your jewelry regularly. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could potentially cause rust to form. Use a gentle soap and water solution to clean your jewelry, or buy a special cleaner from a local store. Make sure you rinse and dry your jewelry before storing it away as moisture can cause rust to form.


 


7. AVOID CONTACT WITH CHEMICALS


If possible, avoid getting makeup or hair products on your jewelry. Harsh chemicals in products like conditioners, shampoos, gels, mousses, and hairsprays can cause the metals in jewelry to rust. If you must use one of these products, take off your jewelry before its application and place it back on after the product dries. If any residue from these products does get on the jewelry, make sure to wipe it off with a damp cloth as soon as possible. 



WRAPPING UP


Rust can significantly damage jewelry. However, you can do a few basic things to keep your jewelry from rusting. First, make sure you seal your jewelry with a protective lacquer, store it properly in an airtight container, and clean it regularly. If you must take your jewelry with you on your trip, store it in a space protected by silica gel packets. By following these tips, you can keep your jewelry clean and sparkling for many years!