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Argentium silver cost


#1

I’ve read a lot of comments about this and how wonderful it is. I’m
just wondering, for those of you who have been using it, what’s the
expense/cost in comparison to traditional sterling?

Sojourner


#2
... I'm just wondering, for those of you who have been using it,
what's the expense/cost in comparison to traditional sterling? 

Hello Sojourner,

I think you’ll be surprised. Of course it depends on who you get it
from but raw stock usually rings in at around $1 per oz over regular
sterling, depending on the quantities you purchase. If you order
finished wire or plate you will of course have to deal with
fabrication charges which seem to vary pretty wildly.

When I ordered the stuff I bought it in the cheapest form I could,
raw cast plate that had been rolled down to 5mm, and that’s worked
out great. Of course you need a rolling mill to make good use out of
it in that form but the stuff is a joy to roll. It work hardens
noticeably slower that regular sterling and if you’re careful you can
pretty much avoid pickling after you’ve annealed.

There’s a price comparison chart at
http://www.silversmithing.com/1compare.htm#Argentium but it’s quite a
bit out of date.

Visit my Argentium blog at
http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html

Cheers,
Trevor F.


#3

I’m just wondering, for those of you who have been using it, what’s
the expense/cost in comparison to traditional sterling?

Hi, it depends on where you are, and how much you buy, but, here in
the U.S., it’s generally about 85 to 95 cents more per ounce.

Cindy
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4

After looking into this some more, and comparing to the price of fine
silver, I’ve decided I REALLY want to try some of this stuff - but
where can you buy it from? The only source I’ve seen mentioned wants
a tax number to get onto their website, which I don’t have yet - I’m
told it takes a couple of months to get this around here.

I’m thinking braiding, crochet, knitting, weaving - just so many
things I could do with this, potentially, that otherwise have to be
done in fine silver or 18k gold (which is currently DEFINITELY
outside my financial capabilities!)

I’m interested - can anyone point me at a source I can access?

Sojourner


#5
... The only source I've seen mentioned wants a tax number to get
onto their website, which I don't have yet .... 

Hello Zen,

I suspect you’re talking about Stuller. It is being said that they’re
supposed to be more open in terms of their metal sales but maybe
that’s a goal they haven’t achieved yet. I understand that Cynthia Eid
(www.cynthiaeid.com) is in pretty close contact with them. Perhaps
she could put you in touch with someone who could help things along.
Cindy?

I’m not personally aware of other vendors in the US at this time.
Another source, the one I’ve used, is Kultakeskus
(www.kultakeskus.fi) in Finland. I know that might sound a bit far
afield but their prices are good and it might be as simple as getting
them to Fedex you the goods. My contact there was Anthony Jackson. I’m
told they do prefer to ship the stuff in fairly raw form so if you’re
looking for fabricated wire or plate they’ll have to charge you
fabrication costs. FWIW I bought 10 mm cast plate scrunched down to
5mm from which I’m rolling and drawing my own stuff.

You might also consider contacting Thessco in Sheffield, England as I
understand they still have some thinish sheet in stock. Their number
is UK(44)114-272-0966. Mike Rhodes is the fellow I dealt with there
though that was for flux not Argentium.

For these and related topics check out my "Working with Argentium"
blog at www.touchmetal.com

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light


#6

Hi Sojourner

 I'm thinking braiding, crochet, knitting, weaving 

I suspect that Argentium sterling silver is closer in hardness to
conventional sterling than it is to fine silver. If that’s the case
(and someone will correct me if I’m wrong), then you are much
better off using fine silver for the above techniques. You’ll find
the softer metal much easier to work with and fine silver is by
definition tarnish resistant.

Beth


#7

Dear Sojourner,

I have an account with Stuller, and I can’t seem to access their
site either. Try CALLING them on the phone. They say that they have
adjusted their policy, so that you should be able to order silver
with your credit card, and not need an account, tax #, or other
stuff. They say that they can sell to anyone in the world. With a
credit card. If you have trouble, feel send me an e-mail describing
the problem— I’ll forward it to the head honchos there.

I am told that Rio Grande expects to have Argentium Sterling Silver
in stock in April.

All best,
Cindy
Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#8

I’m thinking braiding, crochet, knitting, weaving

   I suspect that Argentium sterling silver is closer in hardness
to conventional sterling than it is to fine silver. .... 

Quite so, possibly harder under certain conditions. It does however
give you a noticeably longer working time between anneals. In this
regard it is more like --but not the same as-- the working properties
you’d expect from fine silver.

I’m not a braider, chocheter, kniter nor weaver so I couldn’t say
whether it would be appropriate for those applications or not. Beth’s
experience and the quality of her work is considerable indeed: I’m
sure she knows of what she speaks.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light


#9

You can call Stuller’s toll free number 888.877.7777 then press 2,
and speak with a representative about setting up an account. You must
fax a copy of your tax exempt number plus some additional information
that they will request over the phone.

Margery F. Cooper


#10

Hi Trevor,

    I'm not a braider, chocheter, kniter nor weaver so I couldn't
say whether it would be appropriate for those applications or not.
Beth's experience and the quality of her work is considerable
indeed: I'm sure she knows of what she speaks. 

Thanks for the compliment but actually I do not know of what I
speak :-). By that I mean that I was making an educated guess. I
don’t braid, crochet, knit nor weave either. I guess someone who
does will have to try these techniques using Argentium silver and let
us all know how it compares to fine silver. Unless someone already
has?

Beth


#11

I would love to try crocheting it, but haven’t really found a source
for 24, 26 g wire. I have been out of the loop with reading all the
posts lately, so if I can find it here in the States, I would
appreciate knowing …

Thanks
Joan


#12

I contacted Stuller and they were more than helpful in setting me up
a tool account. They told me to purchase pre-made and findings,
however, I would need a tax id. I’ll admit, I have the account, but
haven’t purchased anything yet- that’s this week.

Terry Toney


#13

Another poster stated that she thought that the Argentium was harder
than fine silver (when annealed to dead soft, I presume).

I though I had understood that the Argentium was softer in the
annealed state and work-hardened much more slowly, but could be
hardened by heating to be as hard as regular sterling.

Could you clarify this point for me, if you’ve been working with it?

I’m going to try to call Stuller tomorrow.

Thanks.
Sojourner


#14
... You must fax a copy of your tax exempt number plus some
additional .... 

Hello Margery,

I believe the original poster, Zen Sojourner, said that that was in
fact the problem, that he (?) did not have a tax exemption number.
Statements have been made in recent weeks that Stuller is planning to,
perhaps already does, waive that requirement for purchases of raw
materials, among other things.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light


#15
I though I had understood that the Argentium was softer in the
annealed state and work-hardened much more slowly, but could be
hardened by heating to be as hard as regular sterling. 

Hello Zen,

I’d say you understood correctly, more or less.

Peter Johns, the developer of Argentium, tells me that his tests
indicate that initially Argentium actually work hardens faster than
regular sterling. After that though it reaches a “plateau” where the
work hardening seems to level off quite markedly. Beyond that point
you can expect more workability than you’d experience with standard
sterling.

I can’t say I’ve noticed the faster hardening at the beginning but I
have certainly seen, and enjoyed, that “plateau” and the extended
working time beyond it.

My own impression is that Argentium does anneal to a softer state
than regular sterling but I have no technical data nor controlled
test results to back that up.

It was these things --the softer anneal and the extended work time,
not to mention the firescale and tarnishing resistance-- that led me
to say that in terms of it’s workability Argentium is more like, but
not the same as, fine silver than it is like standard sterling.

I haven’t tried the heat (precipitation) hardening yet so I can’t
comment on that. I’ve heard the “twice as hard” claim too but,
frankly, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light


#16

Terry,

If you need any help on tools please call me… as well if you are
interested in the tools special I will be happy to fax to you or
email to anyone as a matter of fact…

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791


#17

Hello Joan,

If you need a U.S. source, I bought Argentium round wire in 24 gauge
from Stuller. That’s the smallest gauge they currently stock. I’m
looking forward to the announcement that Argentium silver solder is
available. (hint, hint)

Judy in Kansas


#18

I finally got hold of someone at Stuller who would talk to me (ummm,
I cheated and stole the contact # off this list, thanks, Andy the
Tool Guy!).

From what I can tell, the fabrication costs (per ounce) are
APPROXIMATELY as follows:

5 oz metal price + 5.87 fabrication fee
5 oz to 10 oz metal price + 4.57 fabrication
10 oz to 20 oz metal price + 3.89 fabrication
20oz + metal price + 3.39 fabrication

There are probably other price breaks above 20 oz, but since it’s
unlikely I’ll ever buy that much at once, I stopped them there.

Grain is considerably cheaper than this, but at this point I’m not
quite ready to melt, roll, and draw my own wire. I’m not ruling
that out… just not right now. The price I was quoted for casting
grain was either 1.99 fabrication or 84c per ounce, depending on
whether the pennyweight price they quoted me was based on a $6 metal
base or today’s price of $7.15. That was for at least 20 ounces at a
time.

It was kind of tough figuring this out because they usually sell by
the inch and price by the pennyweight (don’t ask me, but that’s how
it goes apparently). It’s all computerized and the rep has to enter
the amount of wire you want IN INCHES and tell you the total cost,
they can’t give you a metal + fabrication cost per ounce like Rio
Grande or Indian Jeweler’s Supply. I was picky, so the friendly
helpful sales rep conference called a tech guy, who managed to find a
chart giving cost per pennyweight using the above price breaks. From
those quoted prices (for 24 gauge wire with a metal base price of $6)
I was able to come up with the info above. Other gauges of wire will
be cheaper, I imagine sheet is even cheaper yet, and grain would be
cheapest of all.

They do have a “metals club” where all the metal you buy in a month
gets added up for the total quantity discount and you get a rebate
or credit to your next order. They were very helpful, friendly and
patient.

At quantities of 10 oz, Rio Grande charges a $5.10 fabrication fee,
for 12 oz fine silver 24 g wire is 4.60. So assuming I did the math
right and none of us got our signals crossed, and my assumptions
about how to figure the fabrication fee from the pennyweight costs
are correct, it looks like the Argentium silver 24 g wire is slightly
less expensive than or at least comparably priced to similar wire in
fine silver from Rio Grande.

E.g., I can afford it.

I’m looking forward to trying some weaving and knit/crochet with
this stuff. (It won’t be that much trouble to draw 24g wire down for
some of the finer knit/crochet work).

Use these figures as rough estimates only, since there were so many
places to “translate” from their pricing scheme to the style I’m
more used to using that there’s likely some slop in there. But I did
try to work up a “worst case” scenario, using the most expensive (I
think) form that the material comes in.

The solder won’t be an issue for me… yet…

Sojourner


#19
    I haven't tried the heat (precipitation) hardening yet so I
can't comment on that. I've heard the "twice as hard" claim too
but, frankly, I'll believe it when I see it. 

Hey all,

I agree with Trevor F with this comment. I have been working with
this metal for about a year now and found that little tricks make
this metal awsome. Stuller offers great in their Metals
Book that I recommend for everyone to read. I have found that with
following some basic rules stated in the Argentium web site and
Stuller Metals Book, you can achieve a harder state that will please
customers that are not so happy with the standard sterling hardness.
I currently produce signets and class rings with Argentium, and have
found my customers happier with the longer durability and over all
improved “strength” of the metal. Argentium puts other “tarnish
resistant” silvers in last place in all aspects of casting and
fabrication. I will never go back to the “super silvers” loaded with
zinc.

Mark Flynn
Public Safety Goldworks Inc


#20
I believe the original poster, Zen Sojourner, said that that was
in fact the problem, that he (?) did not have a tax exemption
number. Statements have been made in recent weeks that Stuller is
planning to, perhaps already does, waive that requirement for
purchases of raw materials, among other things. 

Since getting a tax exemption number isn’t that difficult, I don’t
think Stuller should drop that requirement, they just need to keep
those who have them, on their list for more than 6 months. It’s
tiresome to keep sending invoices, every six months to prove that
you actually have a business and may need to be “reinstated” even
when you’ve not ordered in a while.