Stainless steel in pickle

One of my customers wants me to make her some sterling earrings
using surgical steel for the posts. I have always used sterling
posts and never had to be concerned about putting them in pickle.
However, I am concerned about using the steel posts. Will the
sterling develop a copper coating when pickled with the surgical
steel? She is adamant that sterling posts irritate her ears and
insists on my using the steel which she will provide…

I would suggest titanium posts.

If silver posts irritate her ears the solder used to put on the
stainless posts will irritate them as well. Lately I have had to
rhodium plate some platinum earrings because of allergy issues. In
those cases the solder not the platinum posts was what was
irritating the ears.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Will the sterling develop a copper coating when pickled with the
surgical steel? 

No. Stainless steel is generally safe in the pickle. I suppose, if
you heavily oxidize the steel, and your pickle is very saturated with
copper, you could have a problem. but in general stainless,
especially surgical stainless, won’t cause copper plating.


No, surgical steel should not give the pieces a copper coating but
even if they did it is not that big a problem to clean them up.

Jerry in Kodiak

Thanks Jo for the about the solder being an irritant. The
postsshe is providing have large pads, and I will use the minimum
amount of solder. What puzzles me however is that she is not
concerned about the silver from the stud part of the earring—just
the posts. It is my guess that she has had posts that were notsmooth
and had rough edges which caused the irritation. I will mention this
to her. Another thing that puzzles me is that she wears earrings with
sterling shepherd hooks, and has not complained about them. She says
it is only posts that cause a problem. Alma

Using stainless steel on ear posts will not contaminate your pickle.
I have found Sterling Silver is a dirty metal especially going thru
the ear. I have used a number of ear ring post over the years from
white and yellow gold — platinum – titanium – surgical stainless
steel – on sterling silver ear rings depending what the customer
tells me about her allergies.

Most customers do know their ears. My posts of choice is the Sparkie
post from Rio Grande with the fusion nib disc on it. I grind the nib
off — tin the disc which keeps the solder from touching the ear and

I have used this technique on dozens of different style ear rings
with 99% success.

Thank you all for your responses to my question about stainless
steel in pickle. I will use fresh pickle, and feel secure that there
were be no copper plating on my silver. Alma

I would suggest titanium posts. 

Yes, but of course you can’t just solder them on. Needs a fusion
welder or some other technology of that sort to weld them on. If you
do have a sparkie welder though, titanium posts weld beautifully.
Easier and stronger than sterling welded to sterling.