While I can’t speak to your first question concerning a Canadian
supplier, I recently (last week) had the honor of competing in the
Dallas, TX Smart Show Bench Pressure Challenge, administered by The
Smart Show and InStore magazine, and sponsored by Stuller. As you may
know Stuller is now selling Continuum Silver. I believe it is their
own alloy and they are the only source. They used the Bench Pressure
Challenge in part to help “raise awareness” of Continuum at the trade
The Challenge consisted of four goldsmiths that competed nationally
for entry (and let me tell ya, the other three competitors are scary
good). The competition was loosely based on the TV show "Iron Chef"
and required the completion of three different bench projects, each
limited to two hours. The first task was to set 14 2.5mm CZs in an
anniversary band using the traditional French Bead Setting style. The
mounting was laid out with 14 undersized, blind tapered holes and was
supplied in a tumbled but otherwise rough, as-cast condition. The
metal was Continuum silver.
I found the Continuum to be much harder than sterling, actually much
closer to 14K yellow gold than any other metal. It was also quite
malleable, engraved very nicely and was pretty easy to drill and cut
with burs without being overly sticky. I won the first place trophy
for this particular task.
Overall, I was quite impressed with the Continuum silver alloy. I
have been hesitant to create bridal style jewelry with silver, but
with metal prices being what they are, the pressure has been on. Now
that I’ve worked with it, I would have no problem making pretty much
anything using Continuum silver to set valuable I don’t
know about the long term wear, but I would think it’s going to be
similar to yellow gold, as that’s what it feels like. I did not have
a chance to do any fabrication or soldering work with it, or any
forging or milling, but I think it would behave in a manner similar
to Argentium. I’m told that it casts very well too, and judging by
the casting provided by Stuller at the competition, I would say
that’s probably pretty accurate.
I have no affiliation with InStore or The Smart Show and received no
compensation from them other than airfare, a couple of trophies, a
nice room at the Gaylord Texan Resort and a few darn good meals. They
treated us like we were rock stars. I have no affiliation with
Stuller or Continuum Silver and receive no compensation from them.
I’m just one of their many happy customers.
Hope this helps at least a little bit, Janet!