Yesterday, Peter Johns and Sam Davis gave a presentation to the
Boston Section of TMS (The Minerals Metals and Materials Society) on
Argentium Sterling Silver: Past, Present and Future. Over 40 people
attended the dinner meeting, with diverse affiliations such as the
jewelry industry, academia, metal smiths and flute manufacturing. The
meeting room was located on the sixth floor of the Sloan building on
the MIT campus in Cambridge. The view overlooking the Charles river
and the reflections cast from the Boston skyline on the water at
Equally entertaining were the sweet sounds of an Argentium flute,
which was Manufactured and played by Jonathon Landell of Landell
Flutes in Vermont. Mr. Landell also brought regular sterling and
titanium flutes to play and hear the difference in tones emitted. The
increased hardness of the Argentium flute produced crisper, warmer
and more resonant notes.
During the social hour, time was spent mingling with guests over a
drink and watching the video playing, titled “The Silversmith of
From this video, we learned how ancient silversmiths disguised fire
scale on regular sterling by raising the fine silver content on the
surface. On display were fine works of Argentium sculpture and
bracelets by Cynthia Eid, Argentium mill products, granules and paste
solder from Stern-Leach, Argentium findings from Hallmark-Sweet and
Argentium chain made by Excel.
After dinner, desert and coffee, Peter Johns (the inventor of
Argentium) spoke to the audience on the history of the Argentium
invention and development, the benefits of Argentium (improved fire
scale and tarnish resistance, improved ductility and welding,
reversible age hardening and so on). Mr. Johns explained that
germanium (the key ingredient in Argentium) was invented by a german
named Clemens Winkler who named it after his homeland germania (latin
for german). Ironically, Germanium had no practical use until WWII,
when england used it to make transistors that were used for radars to
defend England from Germany and eventually win the war. Peter
finished his presentation by showing many fine works of Argentium
art, such as the carousel cuff links made by Eva Martin in Argentium
and 18K gold, which won the prestigious 2006 Saul Bell award.
Mr. Sam Davis (Senior Process Engineer at Stern-Leach) then gave a
talk on Argentium based upon his experiences manufacturing it and
providing customer technical support since Stern-Leach (a company of
the Cookson Material Products Group, Cookson Precious Metals
Division) became the sole licensed manufacturer of Argentium in North
America in August of 2004. The benefits of Argentium were explained
from a metallurgical and chemical basis, technical problems and
solutions were discussed, the business case for switching to
Argentium from other sterling alloys was presented, and examples of
many products and processes were given. This was
pertinent to everyone from large scale jewelry manufacturers to
artisans, craftsman, students and metal smiths.
After their presentations, questions from the audience were fielded.
Karen Eraslen, Chair of the Boston Section of TMS, presented Mr.
Johns with an engraved dish spun out of Argentium in appreciation for
his travels from Old England to New England to make the presentation.
Samuel A. Davis, P.E.
Sr. Process Engineer
49 Pearl Street
Attleboro, MA 02703
Ph: 508-222-7400 x1284