Steel in jewelry nichel-free surface treatments
Recently, the jewelry sector has also started to consistently employ steel, which represents a more economical but high-quality alternative to the precious alloys traditionally used in jewelry production. To achieve the same finishes already available on common jewelry alloys, surface treatments are necessary, which, however, can affect the steel’s structure, introducing corrosion phenomena and nickel release. This paper describes the current state of the art in galvanic and PVD finishing processes performed on steel, from surface activation to the types of finishes commonly used. In the second part, it also describes a case study on how galvanic cycles have been optimized to minimize and in some cases completely eliminate nickel release from treated steels.