Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Argentium Sterling and Firescale


#1

Hello,

Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? I bought a piece
of Argentium silver and made a ring (using medium solder) and got
loads of purple patches which I found very difficult to remove. Also,
after leaving the piece out for a few days on my bench, it turned
close to black! Am I doing something wrong? Please help!

Kind regards,
M. Kim


#2
Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else? I bought a
piece of Argentium silver and made a ring (using medium solder) and
got loads of purple patches which I found very difficult to remove.
Also, after leaving the piece out for a few days on my bench, it
turned close to black! Am I doing something wrong? Please help! 

If I may hazard a guess it sounds like your Argentium Silver (AS)
hasn’t been sufficiently heat treated to “activate” it’s tarnish
resistance. It’s not an uncommon occurrence. The good news is that
it’s dead easy to solve: just heat the AS nicely and the problem goes
away.

If you check the Orchid archives at

http://www.ganoksin.com/orchid/archive

and search for “activate” or “activation” you’ll find a number of AS
specific threads related to just this topic.

If you’re interested in more info on this I talk about it a fair
amount on my “Working with Argentium Silver” blog (follow the "blog"
link at my site). Again, search for “activate” or “activation” and
you’ll get a couple of good hits. Search for “tarnish resistance” and
you’ll get several more.

Cheers,
Trevor F.
in The City of Light
http://www.touchmetal.com


#3

Hi Kim,

That seems very strange, indeed! It sounds to me like it is not
Argentium. Here is a test to see whether it is truly Argentium
Silver. (This is fun to do, actually, with Argentium Silver.) If you
put a torch on and off of Argentium Sterling so that it is heated,
and oxygen is introduced, it will turn black, just like traditional
sterling. However, as you keep heating, it will turn white again! It
amazes me every time I do it—it is so cool.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com


#4

I’ve noticed that Argentium will discolor when heated if the
original surface has been abraded. The bright surface seems to be
restored by pickling (I use sulfuric acid in water) and brushing
lightly with a stainless steel brush. I have noticed that the surface
can turn black if heated in a carbon rich atmosphere, but this is
corrected by reheating in an oxidizing atmosphere.

Is it possible that your ring was plated with something during
fabrication, like from the pickle?

Phillip Baldwin