SEATTLE – Stainless Steel Jewelry was once confined to jewelry used in piercings. One enterprising steelsmith, leaves behind his career as a machinist and ventures out into the world of fashion jewelry that appeals to everyone from bikers and gothic folks to high fashion models.
Machinist Jim McGiveron, from the Seattle area stumbled onto a potential goldmine when he began to make stainless steel jewelry for his friends near Seattle.
“It all started very innocently,” says McGiveron, “at first I was just making one piece or two, here and there, just because someone thought it would be cool. Next thing I knew, my machine shop began to transform into a jewelry shop.”
“Stainless steel jewelry appeals to a wide variety of people,” McGiveron explains, “At first I was approached by bikers and automobile enthusiasts, who were very maculine in nature. They liked the idea of wearing stainless steel jewelry because it was a maculine – nearly indestructible – alloy.”
As the word spread, McGiveron was approached by a new market segment of individuals with allergies to the normal fare of alloys used in the manufacture of Jewelry.
“It was amazing,” McGiveron continues, “People were coming to me with notes from their doctors, stating their sensitivity to gold or silver. Here, the doctors were telling them that they should not wear normal jewelry which sent them on a journey to find jewelry that was manufactured from a hypoallergetic alloy like stainless steel.”
McGiveron was then approached by a Seattle man who ran a tattoo parlor and piercing studio. It was the first time that he had received a bulk order, wherein the client desired to maintain an inventory of the stainless steel jewelry to generate additional sales to his clients.
Rather than restricting the piercing clients to a single piece of stainless steel jewelry (the standard alloy for body jewelry), now they could “accessorize” their piercings by wearing other optional pieces of stainless steel jewelry.
This gave birth to a new vision for the former machinist who left behind his traditional machinist trade to persue the manufacture of jewelry as a creative and artistic outlet.
Unlike traditional jewelry designs that are normally poured into molds, the manufacturing process is completely unrelated. McGiveron’s stainless steel jewelry is carved from a solid piece of steel. Meticulously carving away steel shavings until the final resulting matter represents a fine piece of custom jewelry.
Jewelry manufactured from stainless steel has several other advantages over its shirt-tailed jewelry composite alloys. If a certain alloy tends to discolor your skin, it is likely that stainless steel will not. It will not tarninsh. It is rugged and in the event of damage to the piece, it can easily be repaired by buffing scratches out without jeapardizing the integrity of the original piece, making it nearly indestructible.
“Think about it,” says McGiveron, “mechanics buy their tools manufactured from the same material because they are relying on those tools for their livlihood. They expect it to last them a lifetime. Stainless steel jewelry can last, virtually fovrever, even if subject to rigorous abuse.”
“I have made several that were intended for use as wedding rings . . . and I think you’ll see this as a growing trend in men, especially if they are involved in more masculine trades because they can beat the heck out’a these rings, buff them out and they look just like new again.”