Ear hooks made with surgical steel have been pretty common for a number of years, and most craft stores and jewelry supply vendors sell them. However, the steel jewelry component market is expanding now. More and more jewelry supply companies are providing steel as an alternative metal when it comes to jewelry findings, chains, and other jewelry supply components. For example, the company Prima Beads has a line called Steel Elegance. The collection includes chains, toggle clasps, ear hooks, charms, and beads.
Finished steel jewelry is also becoming more available. Companies that sell retail jewelry items are starting to sell steel jewelry as well. QVC, for example, carries a line called Steel by Design. You can find finished steel jewelry for sale from other outlets such as Overstock.com and the Home Shopping Network as well. So steel is obviously a very strong trend in the jewelry industry, both when it comes to companies that supplies the components we need to make jewelry as well as those who sell the finished jewelry pieces.
So why is steel becoming more popular, even to the point of soon becoming a common metal used for jewelry making? What are the benefits of using this type of metal over precious metals like gold and silver? The first reason that comes to my mind is cost. Steel is not a precious metal, so it has a much lower price point. Both those companies who sell finished jewelry as well as those of us who make jewelry will find this an important factor to consider. Additionally, stainless steel and surgical steel are hypoallergenic, so for jewelry that is a huge plus.
Steel may not be everyone's first choice of metal when it comes to jewelry, but if you are looking for something different to mix in with other metal jewelry you make, it might be worth take a look or two at steel as an alternative.