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Argentium turned yellow on the beach


#1

I made some anticlastic hoop earrings for one of my customers and
she was very pleased with them. She has had them for several months
and was wearing them a lot. I recently received a phone call from her
telling me that she took them on vacation with her and wore them to
the beach. She did not go in the water with them on but apparently
sat on the beach. After getting back to her hotel room, she noticed
that they had turned yellow. She said that she tried silver polish
on them with no success on removing the film. I told her to return
them to me and I would see what I could do to help. When I got them
they were indeed very yellow and she also thought they were pitted,
but that was just the look of the film that was on them. I used a
fine sanding sponge on them and it removed the film but in some of
the hammer marks, it was still in the recesses. I then tumbled them
in stainless steel shot in the rotary tumbler and they looked good as
new when I got them out. I am wondering if it was the salt air that
caused this. I remember a thread about Argentium turning yellow
while stored from some of the people, but this has never happened to
me. It would be nice if this problem could be figured out. I do love
the argentium wire and am using that almost exclusively, but have had
some problems with the sheet sagging when soldering and now this new
problem. Just wanted to make everybody aware of this problem.

Thanks to all of you for enlightening me on many subjects. I love
this forum.

Lona Northener


#2

I have made a number of necklaces using Argentium wire for the chain
links, and I find that the sparkle dulls in a couple of weeks of just
not being worn, and that on some people after a couple of wearings a
yellow or even thick black coating can appear.

The solution is simple: soap and water and a soft toothbrush, dry in
a terry towel. I tell people to clean the necklace before they put it
on every time to renew the sparkle (and prevent the build-up of the
yellow or black).

Some people never get the yellow or black, and it seems to have to
do with body chemicals or things like makeup, sunscreen, etc., but at
any rate, it washes off! My mother lives in Florida and plays golf
with sunscreen on, and her Argentium chain starts the day like new
and ends up solid black every time…this does not happen to any of
her regular Sterling chains. But she cleans it each time and it looks
great. And cleaning it is much less work than polishing. (By the way,
it is very difficult to get the black stuff off with silver
polish…very frustrating.)

I think it is a mistake to sell Argentium as "tarnish-resistant"
without these cleaning instructions. People are very disappointed
when their Argentium isn’t all shiny and new when they thought that
magically they would never have to do anything to it.

Frankly, I don’t understand why I have never read this on any of the
Argentium websites and sources. It seems to be a secret.
Any thoughts on this?

vera meyer


#3
I think it is a mistake to sell Argentium as "tarnish-resistant"
without these cleaning instructions. People are very disappointed
when their Argentium isn't all shiny and new when they thought
that magically they would never have to do anything to it. 

I agree with this. I based my buy of Argentium on the I
read here and in Rio’s catalog. I do love working with it, but
honestly, I love working with Sterling and Fine as well, and haven’t
seen anything that is particularly easy about it, cept maybe the
lack of fire scale, but then I didn’t have much of that as a problem.

I really bought it because of it’s claim to be tarnish resistant.

Dinah


#4

Did she perhaps get sunscreen on them? depending on the ingredients
in the sunscreen, it could have caused the discoloration. Since she
didn’t go in the water, she most likely did use sunscreen. Also, this
would explain it getting into the hammer depressions.

Just a thought!
Theresa Bright


#5
Did she perhaps get sunscreen on them? depending on the
ingredients in the sunscreen, it could have caused the
discoloration. Since she didn't go in the water, she most likely
did use sunscreen. Also, this would explain it getting into the
hammer depressions. 

Many silver compounds are photo-reactive. The little I have played
with Argentium has made me think the yellow tarnish is accelerated
by sunlight exposure. I have been told if the Argentium is processed
by correct heat treating that the tarnish is not a problem. I have
not worked enough with it to have an opinion about that but I have
seen the yellow tarnish on my pieces of it and noted that sunlight is
a factor in its appearance. Areas that were totally shielded from
light did not tarnish but areas that were exposed to light did. FWIW

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts