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Argentium Sterling Silver - Antique


#1

Dear All,

Does anyone use a good antique beside liver of sulfur that works
with this new silver, or perhaps a successful process for keeping the
antique on the silver? It seems the deox silvers don’t hold an
antique well. I even mix the liver of sulfur with ammonia to give it
more punch. With the copper level in these metals changing it impacts
the traditional antiquing process. I have not tried to antique this
Argentium yet, just looking for a few tips before starting. Even with
very gentle cleaning I don’t get all pieces in a batch to stay
antiqued.

Thanks & best regards,
Todd Hawkinson


#2
... It seems the deox silvers don't hold an antique well. 

Hello Todd,

I can’t speak for the “deox” silvers (they often have a fair
percentage of zinc and/or a dash of silicon) but I do know that
Argentium responds very well to the liver of sulfur (LOS) process.

I have been using an industrial LOS-based solution from Belgium that
has worked marvelously. I wish I could tell you what’s in it besides
LOS but the ingredients are not listed on the bottle or the “fact
sheet”. I highly suspect it’s a fairly standard mix though.

If you’d care to read a little more about using this stuff on
Argentium you might want to have a look at the "Argentium patination"
entry in my “Working with Argentium Silver” blog:
http://www.touchmetal.com/blog/argentium-blog.html

Keep in mind that Argentium isn’t just a deox silver. Those deox
alloys and Argentium have different ingredients and often behave
quite differently. From what I’ve seen and heard they’re not in the
same ballpark at all.

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


#3
Does anyone use a good antique beside liver of sulfur that works
with this new silver, or perhaps a successful process for keeping
the antique on the silver? 

Hi Todd,

I have been using Griffith’s Silver Black, which is hydrochloric (or
muriatic) acid, to “antique” my work made in Argentium Sterling
Silver. It works quickly and well. I usually use liver of sulfur for
copper and brass alloys, because of the beautiful range of colors,
and the depth of the colors. However, for “antiquing” silver, when I
just want the recesses to have a black patina, I don’t use liver of
sulfur, because of its short shelf life. I like the way the acid
types of “antiquing” patinas are always ready to use—no mixing, or
heating up required. (Of course, it is important to have adequate
ventilation, use gloves and tongs, etc.!) I imagine that the other
brands, such as Midas Black Max, would also work (but I have not
tried them, because the little bottle of Silver Black I have has
lasted for a long time!)

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


#4
With the copper level in these metals changing it impacts the
traditional antiquing process. 

Yes, changing to perhaps no copper at all (?) in the Argentium
alloy. I have questions about use of Argentium for casting, since
much of my work depends on antiquing to look right. So far I have
just used it for earrings that I want to look all bright.

Todd, have you tried Rio Grande’s Black Max? It is not just liver of
sulfur, it contains hydrochloric acid and tellurium. Hazardous
shipping charges, but it works very well for me on regular or de-ox
sterling castings, using the de-ox alloy from Stebgo Metals. It also
will color gold grey when used with a steel applicator. Usual
disclaimer.

I have used many pounds of de-ox sterling shot over the years, but
have switched back to regular sterling, along with using a
modification of Lee’s firescale-free casting technique. I cast
centrifically, so I _ carefully_ reach over the spinning arms and
prematurely stop the spinning by pressing down on the center button
with my heat-gloved hand. Then I quickly put the flask in a larger
flask on a steel plate, drop some wax shavings on the button area,
and slap another steel plate on top. This creates an oxygen-poor
environment for the flask cooling process, and makes much cleaner
trees. Who ever knew that oxides were forming so late in the
process?! It really helps. My castings are usually white now.

M’lou Brubaker, Jeweler
Goodland, MN
www.craftswomen.com


#5
Yes, changing to perhaps no copper at all (?) in the Argentium
alloy. 

Hello M’lou,

I think you’ll find that Argentium is usually pretty close to
sterling in it’s copper content. For instance the Kultakeskus stuff
that I’m using is about 6% copper and 1% germanium. As I’m sure you
know, standard sterling is usually around 7% copper.

It’s my understanding that all the Argentium alloys currently made,
US and Europe, are going to be very close to this.

FWIW, I’ve found that the antiquing solution I use --one of those
pre-made LOS solutions with stuff added to give it longer shelf-life
(among other things-- actually works better on Argentium than it does
on regular sterling. Don’t ask me why but it does.

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