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Argentium heat hardening


#1

Hi all

I emailed Peter Johns the inventor of Argentium regarding heating
times.

He actually emailed me first to talk about my Argentium experience.
How amazing is that? Here is his kind reply.

My sequence for finishing Argentium. I would normally finish all
soldering and heating operations. Heat harden at 300 C X 2hr or as
near as possible. 
Clean up and polish, then heat at 100 C. For I hour. The reason
for this sequence is because metals generally polish more easily
when they are hard. Also some stones will not take 300 C. I have
asked professional setters about setting Argentium when it is hard.
They tell me it has a hardness that feels about the same as
fourteen carat gold. The 100 C heating should bring the Ge to the
surface but also oxidise the Germanium. 

This is my take on the process.

When the piece has been heat hardened there is some “tarnish” on the
metal.

(I can only get my oven to 250 C but it works.) I remove this with a
quick pickle and then finish the piece. And then clean up I use 1200
grit sandpaper and polish.

I do not use tripoli only hyfin.

I then wash the piece in dishwashing liquid and dry well. As per the
rhodium posts there is some tacky stuff in town water today so dry
well. I use generic tissues/paper towels as there is nothing in them
but paper.

Then raise the Germanium by heating for 1 hour at 100 C. Set the
stones.

I am sending my silver lemel to A & E metals this week, about 1700
grams. I used to use the lemel to make reticulated pieces. Now I use
Argentium I easily fuse the Argentium lemel and make very interesting
pieces IMHO with it. So now I only use sterling for reticulated ring
bands.

Argentium does not reticulate as well as sterling. So the only lemel
from sterling is now the swarf from sawing and filing.

There are some people who have trouble using Argentium. It seems
they have not read the instructions.

Argentium is very easy to use just a bit different from sterling.
And hey no firescale! I am updating my PDF on open back bezels for
use with Argentium. I will take some photos this week and make it
available, free of course. Why should Gerry be the only one to give
away cool stuff? LOL. Actually I would like to see what Gerry
thought of setting in Argentium? Guess I better make a piece and send
it to him.

I spoke to a 40 years on the bench jeweller this weekend about
Argentium. It took him a couple of minutes chatting to get the
differences from sterling. Looking at my pieces he could not believe
how white it was and the high polish.

He did not like sterling because of the firescale. Just used 18 kt,
he worked for a high end jeweller. And of course is joining Orchid.
He liked the idea of using an onglette graver to bright cut, thanx
Gerry and Jo.

I must state again that of the new alloys I only have access to
Argentium so I am not promoting it over the other new silver alloys.
Except for reticulation I have found it a far superior alloy to
sterling.

I have also found it easier and faster to fabricate and polish than
sterling.

all the best
Richard