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Argentium or continuum silver


#1

Can anyone out there tell me if there are any stockists of Argentium
or Continuum silver in Canada, please?

I know I can get Argentium from Rio but it might be quicker for me
to use a Canadian supplier. Very occasionally I need materials in a
hurry!

Also, has anyone worked with both metals, and can give a comparison
between the two? There’s loads of objective info available about
Argentium, but I can find little or nothing about Continuum except
the manufacturer’s praises - not exactly the objective info I’m
looking for!

Janet
Fox Jewelry


#2

I am in Hamilton Ontario. I use a lot of Argentium, I am unaware of
it being stocked within Canada.

For my Argentium needs, I get next day delivery (FedEx) from G&S
metals in Michigan. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep80ib

Very helpful and good service. They called me yesterday to get my
advice for another one of their Canadian customers so that they knew
that they were doing the best that they could for that customer. They
take servicing their Canadian customers seriuosly.

Franklin


#3

Janet- I haven’t worked with Argentium, but have with Continuum. I
wanted to use continuum because I wanted silver with spring to it. I
used it to make my eye glasses. They can be found on our web site
under Custom Design.

It heat hardens to 150 vickers. I needed strong and thin to keep the
weight of the glasses down. It solders like gold and sets
beautifully. I’ll use it again.

I’d like to try enameling and casting with it next for another pair
of glasses.

l am in no way affiliated with Stuller and their metals dept.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#4
Also, has anyone worked with both metals, and can give a
comparison between the two? There's loads of objective info
available about Argentium, but I can find little or nothing about
Continuum except the manufacturer's praises - not exactly the
objective info I'm looking for! 

Continuum is the first alternative sterling that has seriously made
me consider switching over to it for all my sterling needs. But I
really like the way it works and looks. No need to be careful not to
move it while it is hot like Argentium and quite hard even after
soldering so no need to heat treat every item. However if you want
to heat treat it then it gets quite a bit harder. Just recently did
some casting in it and again quite pleased with it in that regards.
My only reservation is that it is quite a bit more expensive due to
the palladium content. But I like it and will certainly continue to
use it for many things.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#5

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
show level.

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!
Dave Phelps


#6

Hello Dave,

A congratulations to you for being selected for the Smart Show Bench
Pressure Challenge! Way cool.

Thanks for sharing your experience using Continuum silver. By chance
did you have the opportunity to try fusing with the alloy? Argentium
does fuse well! I really like it for making chain linkage - faster
than soldering. Also what kind of solder was used on Continuum? Guess
I need to call the tech people at Stuller.

I have some Continuum sheet, which I have not worked yet, so after
reading your comments, I do plan to give it a whirl on an anticlastic
piece. If it works as well as you report, and comes out as tough,
I’ll be sold.

Judy in Kansas, where the hummers are obviously heading south on
their long migration. Just wish we were seeing more Monarch
butterflies.


#7

Hi Janet,

In my neck of the woods, Craftsman’s Art Supply in Mineville, NS
[(902) 462-0602] carries some Argentium™ stock. I have bought
only wire, so can’t comment on the breadth of his offerings.

Umicore (formerly Imperial Smelting) in Markham, ON [(800) 263-1669]
have a product they call Arctic Fox™ which is a tarnish-resistant
sterling. About18 months ago I tried to get some abut
this (at that time new) product, particularly as it compares to
conventional sterling and Argentium™. It was like pulling teeth!
Many question remained unanswered. In the end, I made a formed cuff
with 1mm thick sheet and textured it. The material seemed to handle
much like Sterling. I was unable to fuse closed 0.8mm rings (for
Etruscan chain) but that task was a breeze with Argentium™.
Because Ihad trouble with that task using fine silver, it may be
explained by my lack of skill rather than the material.

Hope this is helpful.
-jd


#8

I know what you mean about the lack of objective info on Continuum!
I have used Argentium for 4 years now. I cast, pulse arc weld,
solder, and fabricatewith it. I have been combining Continuum
findings and Argentium stock, findings and castings for about 2
years. I also buy my Argentium from Rio–they have really supported
Argentium and have a broad line of products with it. I live in
Canada.

Stuller, out of their Toronto branch, has Continuum items including
casting grain, wire, sheet and findings. They have a fast
order-delivery turnaround in Canada. I order on Friday and pick up
on Monday.

As to a more in-depth comparison of the two metals, I too would like
to see this. I currently buy much of my findings from Stuller, and
many (all now?) of their sterling ones are made from Continuum. I
combine them with Argentiumto make finished pieces, using Argentium
solders. The mixed finished Argentium-Continuum pieces seem to have
the same bright white colour, tarnish equally slowly, do not need
fire coat, and exhibit roughly the same characteristics. I have not
had a chance to compare them further-I have not cast or drawn or
worked Continuum like I have Argentium, but would be interested in
doing so. (A little support from the suppliers would be appreciated
here). My primary question to Continuum users or suppliers would be,
does Continuum havethe collapsing problem that Argentium does? I
have found Argentium pieces need support when heated, or they break.
This has caused me grief until I changed my technique, now always
locally heating just a fraction of a item or by supporting the
piece. But I’d rather not deal with this limitation and liability,
as I need not do this with any other metals I regularly use, mostly
14/18K gold. In all other respects, In general, I find Argentium a
fantasticreplacement for old fashion sterling and wonder why people
keep using the traditional silver+copper sterling when better is
available. I suspect Continuum is also much, much better…

I would use Continuum for casting and fabrication, or possibly
switch to it exclusively, if it was equal or better than Argentium,
as Stuller Canada is abetter supplier supplier than Rio, IMHO. Their
fast service and very broad product line up, equal to Rio’s, would
be my motivation.

Joris
jorisart.com/jewelry


#9

I have tested both metals. You can see results from experiments on
my Continuum is an interesting alloy. It is fusible (similar to
Argentium) and can be torch fired using enamels. You can see these
video clips on the blog page. I but found Continuum to be harder and
not as malleable when trying to hammer. So, my thoughts were to make
a clasp with it since the hardness could be a plus in that
situation. But you can harden Argentium, so no real advantage over
the Argentium. I find Argentium more versatile and easy to use, but
it is what I am used to. Continuum is the closest alloy I have found
to the working properties of Argentium. There is a low melting
eutectic in Argentium produced by the copper and the germanium. It
is this eutectic that also causes the cracking when you try and move
Argentium at red heat and also causes the metal to sag at high
temperature. Many people consider the “hot short” cracking a defect
but it is the feature that allows Argentium to fuse easily.
Continuum does not have the “hot-short”, but does not fuse as
easily. I am still sold on Argentium as my metal of choice, but it
is because I fuse almost everything and am going to granulate or add
gold by fusing. I have tried fusing 18 and 22k gold to Continuum. It
fuses, but can peal back and delaminate when hammering. And I love
the pure white color of Argentium. But, again, this works for me
because of the type of work I do… most of which is adding high
karat gold. I consider Argentium and Continuum to be a “high karat
sterling”. Both cast well, both fabricate. Not sure what kind of
work you are making. is it sheet and wire or cast?

Ronda Coryell
jewelrystudiesintl.com


Popularity of Argentium Sterling Silver
#10

Congratulations David for winning the 1st place trophy for setting
those tiny stones in the continuum using the French Bead Setting
style. Having seen pictures of your work, I am not surprised that
you placed first.

Continuum sounds like a wonderful material to work with when doing
bead setting, and as a complete novice in this technique I am
looking forward to getting some with which to practice. I have been
using brass and copper for practice, but need to move on to working
with precious metals.

Alma


#11

Thanks so much to everyone who has replied to my queries about
Argentium vs Continuum. It has been really educational, and amazingly
helpful.

I’m blown away by you fantastic Ganoksin people and your willingness
to answer questions and help solve problems.

Interesting to note that I have received several off-line responses
from the makers of Argentium, but none from Stuller (which to be
fair, may only mean that Stuller doesn’t subscribe to the Ganoksin
forum)

Janet
Fox Jewelry


#12

I have a hard time understanding why someone would pay twice as much
for continuum sterling when I can buy traditional sterling from coin
dealers for slightly over spot, but if feels good, do it!


#13
Interesting to note that I have received several off-line
responses from the makers of Argentium, but none from
Stuller......

Janet, we did not want influence your decision to chose a particular
sterling; in your starting email you made it clear that you wished to
receive only objective info!

In our opinion, both Continuum and Argentium fill their own
particular niches, as can be clearly seen by the above responses. It
is unfair to compare the two. Continuum was introduced into jewlery
market when Stuller noted a lack of a higher hardness sterling
silver. Practically all deoxidized sterling silvers like Argentium
are softer than standard sterling (92.5% silver & 7.5% copper).
There is yet a sterling silver that combines all the charecteristics
of (1) deoxidized sterlings and (2) sterlings containing platinum
group metals. In our opinion, Continuum fills the bridge (may be not
adequately for some).

Sincerely,

Shan Aithal
Corporate Metallurgist
Stuller, Inc


#14

Richard,

Do you have any idea what the de-ox alloys offer? I doesn’t sound
like you do.

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com


#15
Do you have any idea what the de-ox alloys offer? I doesn't sound
like you do. 

I have cast over a million pieces of sterling and I have fabricated
over a thousand models and hundreds of custom pieces in sterling. I
have done fusing with sterling. I am quite happy with the way
sterling works, fire scale and fire stain have not been much of a
problem over the last 40 years I have used traditional sterling. I
think the price of the other sterling alloys are nothing but a
negative for me. Rio has Argentium for $31 for one ounce, Continuum
is $54 for one ounce. I can get all the sterling I need for spot.

Richard Hart G. G.
Denver, Co.


#16

Hi Richard,

Just to provide some clarity, the reason for the higher priced
Continuum Sterling Silver is due to the amounts of Palladium used in
the metal. Using Palladium allows Continuum to offer value-added
benefits such as more secure stone setting, anti-tarnishing
capabilities and increased hardness.

If you’d like to learn more about the metal, please visit
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep80iw

Thanks!
Randi B.


#17

Dear Hratch,

Did you use Continuum in your shop?
What is your opinion about it?

Regards,
Shan


#18

I use it and love it.


#19
Did you use Continuum in your shop? What is your opinion about it?

I just bought some Continuum silver sheet and am a little concerned
about using it as it is quite expensive. On Stuller’s education page
it says to anneal it you should hold it at 725c to 790c for 15
minutes. I don’t have a kiln and really don’t want to have to buy
one to work with this new silver. Can it be torch annealed and if
so, do you do it by color like regular sterling?

Thanks for any input.
Lona