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Argentium Sterling Wire Discrepancy


#1

Hi All!

I normally order my silver from Rio. I have always been more than
happy with the Argentium wire that I have gotten. It fuses
beautifully - and this is what I primarily use it for. Recently I was
ordering silver and gold from another company and the Argentium wire
I got from them I really dislike - it does not fuse at all. It fuses
okay (but not great) when i use flux - but I have never had to do
this before and it adds too many extra steps of cleaning before each
course of fusing. I am used to fusing and hammering over and over
again not having to clean in between each time.

I searched the forums and found some tips that might help.

I sanded the wire - that didn’t help. I thought I’d try to draw it
down and see if that would do anything - it did, it made it worse!
When I tried to fuse with it this time - it didn’t and it turned a
orangey-copper color. Reheating only made the color worse - not turn
white again. And - it still wasn’t fused!! Even with regular sterling
if it is oxidized, I can still get it to fuse to itself.?

Here is a link to a photo of the sort of pieces I am doing (this was
done w/ rio Argentium). It doesn’t really work to flux the whole
thing.

To return the Argentium wire I don’t like - I’d have to pay for
shipping and 10% restocking fee. Its not really worth it b/c then I’m
actually losing money. I can still do other things w/ this wire
besides fuse w/ it.? So I’d like to keep it.

Does anyone have any advice as to how to get it to fuse how I’m used
to?

Thanks for the help!
Beth Cyr


#2

Beth,

I noticed the Argentium silver I purchased from another company was
much harder than the AS sold by Rio Grande. You may only need to
anneal the wire.

Because you report a copper colored surface, you probably should
test the silver just to make sure that it is Argentium silver. To do
this, cut three very small same size snippets of this silver and
torch them into balls on a charcoal block. If the granules look flat
white, the silver likely is Argentium. If the granules are copper
colored, the silver likely is standard sterling. Next, cut some
similar size snippets of silver that you know is Argentium silver and
torch them into balls. On a scrap piece of 26 or 24-gauge standard
Sterling silver (use a small amount of organic glue but no flux),
place three balls together of the known Argentium silver at one end
of the scrap and place three balls of the silver you are testing
some space away at the other end of the scrap.

Torch heat all of the granules until the known Argentium silver
granules begin to melt. Because there is no flux protecting the
standard Sterling scrap, the sheet metal will oxidize to black.
Notice that the Argentium granules melt outward in all directions
and form a white halo extending at least a millimeter past the
granules over the top of the oxidized sheet metal. Only Argentium
Sterling forms this white halo. If your test granules melt at the
same rate and look the same, then you have Argentium silver. If the
granules are standard sterling, they will remain dark and copper
colored. I have written an article on this silver testing that has
been accepted by Art Jewelry for publication in the near future.

Hope this helps.
Nancy
www.psi-design.com


#3

Hi Beth,

I like the piece—looks like you really are having fun fusing! I
think that you have correctly figured out that it is not Argentium
Sterling Silver. I think you have done everything possible to get it
to fuse well—I don’t have any other ideas. I would like to point
out that the company that sold it to you, if they listed it as
Argentium Sterling, should accept it back without a re-stocking fee,
and reimburse you for the shipping, since they are the party at
fault, not you. You could, if you wish, let them know that if they do
not pay for the return of the silver, and reimburse you, you will
tell everyone on Orchid who they are.

If you don’t wish to return it, I would suggest keeping it separate,
and using it for work that is soldered, or cold.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com