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Argentium vs Continuum vs Sterlium Tarnish


#1


Here is a photo of castings of (from left to right) Argentium 935 Pro, Sterlium, Continuum that are six years old and have been sitting on the shelf in Ronda Coryell’s studio. I originally saw these when she was doing research on the three alloys six years ago. You can see the differences in how the three tarnish. These photos are unedited in anyway and taken with an iPhone. I have been working with Argentium for the last six years and I love the fusing properties, the ability to granulate on fabricated or cast pieces, and the whiteness of Argentium.


#2

I saw this exact comparison somewhere earlier today. I am very interested to hear people’s take on this :slight_smile:


#3

I saw this exact comparison somewhere earlier today. I am very
interested to hear people’s take on this

My take on the picture Cheri posted is that purely for anti-tarnish
qualities you can’t go wrong with Argentium. In Argentium’s favor I
really, really like to use it when making chain. The color is so
incredibly white and bright, and it stays that way. The rings fuse
closed so easily, no solder needed.

But a problem with Argentium is that at hard soldering temperature it
loses strength. I remember using a pick to move a snippet of solder and
the Argentium gave way like slush, ruining the piece. Most of the time
all it takes is a little care and adequate support for the metal, but
for some things a stronger silver with at least some anti-tarnish
properties would really be great.

Continuum does not come off that well in Cheri’s picture, but that is 6
years without polish. Jo’s favorable views of Continuum carry much more
weight with me than the picture does. I’d like to try it and Sterlium.

Neil A


#4

I’d like to see some better pictures than this one. You can see a very large specular highlight at about 3 o’clock on the Argentium wheel, which is more overexposed than the other two. Part of the darkening on them could be the lighting. Also, if you look at the buttons, they are much closer in tone than the actual pieces, although it does still look like the Argentium is the winner and the Continuum the most tarnished. Another issue is that this is the Argentium casting alloy and the fabricating alloy is somewhat different, so you can’t make a comparison there. Since the wear of use would tend to take tarnish off the high spots, one wonders what these pieces would look like if worn somewhat.


#5

Does anyone have any other pictures they can post of any pieces made with any of these three alloys that have been “hanging around” for more than 3 or 4 years?


#6

One experiment might be, to place samples of the 3 different metals, in a weak solution of liver of sulfur .

The samples might be drilled and hung on copper wire bent for separation , (free liquid flow), then lifted periodically to see what happens.

Mike


#7

In 2006 Gary Dawson did a paper @ the Santa Fe Symposium comparing some of the commercially available tarnish resistant sterling silver alloys including traditional sterling. Its a fine read if you have the book or can find it digitally.
The main alloys that were tested was the sterling’s with palladium & platinum and of course Argentium.
Over the years there have been several other papers/studies on tarnish resistant Sterling Silver alloys.

Ken Babayan
David H. Fell & Co. Inc.


#8

Top sample is ten years old. Middle sample has liver of sulfur and has been worn daily for three years. Bottom sample is 2-3 years old. All are Argentium and none have been cleaned. The photo is unedited.


#9

I took new pictures. Again from left to right, Argentium, Sterlium and Continuum. The top picture is in natural sunlight with a white paper background. The bottom photo is indoors with Sylvania Warm White Fluorescent bulb in a bench light. It’s with an iPhone 6 and unedited. I wish I had a better camera.


#10

On the left is Argentium 935 Pro and on the right is 935 scrap.


#11

I’m with Neil A. I am more interested in the working properties of a metal
rather than the anti tarnish resistance. If I had a large line of sterling
jewelry sitting around in a bunch of galleries getting tarnished I’d use
Argentium. I prefer Continnum because of it’s hardness, malleability,
stability, and strength.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#12

Wow this is wonderful to see that argentium is really a non tarnish , I have always pushed its use as an alternative to Sterling . While I love to use Sterling. Argentium does take a little getting use to, but once you do it is just so easy . I hope that this post that I have responded to will maybe get a few more of my fellow hobbists ( I would never call myself a silversmith) to try this great metal.
I am really greatful to all of the professional metal/silver smiths who give so freely of their time on this blog . I find it truely helpful.


#13

@squirmite

"Wow this is wonderful to see that argentium is really a non tarnish "

That isn’t correct!
In time it will tarnish, don’t make the mistake to believe that it’s tarnish free.

It only takes longer depending on the enviroment or/and the person who is wearing that ring or whatever.
Argentium has unique specifications and one of them is that you just whipe of the tarnish.
A way easier to clean but it will tarnish in time, trust me.
Another advantage is that this oxide layer -prevending silver from tarnishing- is easy to renew by heat treading.


#14

Thanks for the correction , again I in no way profess to be a commercial
/professional jeweller. Though the article did show a significant amount
of time had passed and the ARGENTIUM casting was still pretty good all
things considered . :laughing: