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Aghiari copper-silver alloy


#1

Dear all, I’m interested in finding more about a type of
alloy called aghiari, an alloy of copper-silver with silver contents
of less than 50% which has been used in Greek traditional jewellery
and possibly in parts of the Balkans. However, it does have a white
surface. Has anybody experience with working with this alloy? How is
the white surface appearance created? Which solder alloys have been
used? What methods have been used for polishing or cleaning the
surface? Thank you in advance.

Best, Maickel van Bellegem
The British Museum
London


#2

Hi, this is really of great interest to me that any alloy of silver
30 plus and remaining copper gets white colour. All you have to do
prepare a batch of this combination, for “skin” and for solder 10to
20% zink can be added. after making the article it shuld be pickled
two to six times. every time it should be annealed pink. after five
or six pickles it will become white and will remain white on further
annealings. for cleaning it can be magnet polished or simply cleaned
with brass bristle brush. for drying it can be kept in dryed lime
powder. which makes it white. hope you try this.


#3

As I understand it is generally illegal to to describe any alloy
less than 925 as silver certainly in Britain and Europe and
Australia, and I think in America? If you use 30% silver, it should
be made clear to your customers that is not legally sterling silver,
Also when the depletion plating wears through customers are liable to
have reactions to the zinc and how do you explain the underlying
colour?

David Cruickshank. Australia


#4

Hi Guys,

Backing up David, I refer to the Australian standard AS 2140-2008
"Jewellery - Fineness of precious metal alloys".

A silver alloy can be stamped 800, 835, 925 or 999 to be considered
"silver".

Names like “Sterling” or “Britannia silver”, aren’t included in this
standard, as its prime focus is on precious metal content.

I see a few transitional teething problems, but there are a lot of
advantages within the scope of the document.

Due to this transitional time, it would be prudent to advertise your
silver with its precious metal content, and its international
equivalent.

Regards Charles A.
P.S. David, I’ll be selling catalogs next Friday.


#5

Hello all, thank you for all suggestions so far. First of all to set
things straight, indeed such an alloy can most likely in most
countries not be hallmarked.

Apart from that as a material it has historically been used to make
jewellery (but indeed the pieces that I know off are not hallmarked).
That is predominantly what I’m trying to research. Do we understand
how such pieces were made and do we know the working properties of
the material? Similarities to alloys such as tumbaga from
Pre-colombian South America or shibuichi from Japan do spring to
mind, though does seem to be yet slightly different. Or is it a lost
technique…

I don’t expect this material to be used on a large scale anymore but
possibly there may be some people out there who have done some
experimenting or people who have been doing repairs to such pieces.
If anybody has, please do share your experiences.

Thanks again,

Maickel van Bellegem
The British Museum, London.