Neither Stainless Steel nor Surgical Steel appear on the Periodic Table of Elements because they are alloys.
An alloy is any metal that is made up of 2 or more elements.
Both Stainless Steel and Surgical Steel can refer to a variety of alloys.
- Surgical Steel:
This is an alloy that is made of the following elements: chromium, nickel and molybdenum. Nickel? Surgical steel was created as a material that was well suited for medical applications because it is easy to clean, is strong and corrosion resistant. The nickel is chemically bound and does not cause an allergic reaction in the majority of the population. Because there is still nickel present, the term, “nickel complaint” is used being used more commonly in the US and is a legal requirement in the EU. This means that the product has been subjected to testing and does not leach (leak out) more nickel than prescribed limits.
- Stainless Steel:
This is an alloy that is made with chromium which prevents rust. There are dozens of stainless steel alloys. I use a number of them including, 303 and 304, which also qualify as surgical steel and nickel complaint. I also use 430 and 410 that are actually nickel free.
Personally, 430 is my favorite stainless steel to work with. 430 is completely nickel free and is easy to shape because it does not work harden. Due to its composition it is tarnish free, corrosion free, and will last forever. Unlike many stainless steels it has a low spring back. The bracelet I wear 24/7 is made from 430 stainless steel, and it still looks just as shiny and new today as it did a year ago when I put it on.