I keep reading about how wonderful argentium is to use…but my experience is the opposite.
It was a nightmare, never fused, bezels kept falling off, and when eventually they did, my work looked terrible. It was expensive too, I bought a whole load of the stuff to try out, including all the special flux and solders.
I am a student, and have been making silver jewellery for about 6 or7 years…so I am not a newby. My teacher while an acknowledged silversmith who used to work with Malcolm Appleby, had never tried using Argentium. She really couldn’t help. We puzzled it out, I watched endless YouTube videos of soldering/fusing argentium. It was an unmitigated Disaster!!
First I tried scoring a groove in the long piece I had, to attach 2 wires on each edge with the idea of making a raised edge a bit like train tracks. What a palaver…some stuck/fused. Some lifted, and I ended up sawing through where the wires lifted. Making a flat notch and trying to set a bezel in the flat area. All materials were argentium. I used a special flux and argentium solder in the end and they seemed to stick…but only after I had resoldered the bezels about 6 times each and there were 6 or 7 bezels. So much extra work!!
Success fou!! But when I tried to fit these bezels with coral cabochons, the edges of the bezels were rock hard and would not push or fold in to keep the cabs in place. Sadly I ended up gluing the cabochons in place. It was a huge disappointment to say the least. The design is quite nice, and the combination of silver and coral is very pretty…and the whole thing was a very expensive mistake!! It made me disheartened. I am now left with a whole lot of sheet, wire and casting beads.
My decision is to persevere and try again, perhaps with a more simple design. Am I alone in this?