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Come on Australia

Silver does not “bond with oxygen”. We call it oxidization but in
fact its a bond with with a sulphate radical - usually hydrogen
sulphide.

Tony Konrath

It is a good metal, but this is rather silly. Red or green, t-shirt
or pull over, black or cream and sugar?

No, it can't tarnish because like 24k gold, oxygen won't bond with
the metal. I always compensate for strength by making stress
points about 25% heavier. Never once had a set stone pop. Over time
and with use,.999 silver will dull and loose 60% of its
reflectivity. A very minimal buff returns the shine quickly. 

No, fine silver does indeed tarnish. Tarnish is a reaction to sulfur
or chlorine in most cases and fine silver will certainly tarnish.
Not as quickly as sterling but it does tarnish as does any silver
alloy that is greater than 50 % silver. There are several excellent
papers in the proceedings of the Santa Fe Symposium on Jewelry
Manufacturing and Technology that will inform you on the tarnish
behavior of silver and its alloys.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Bravo, Cindy,
We are a diverse group, aren’t we!

Linda Kaye-Moses

Hi all

many interesting posts on this but none from Australia. Yes there are
many great silver alloys. Each unique and with their own advantages.

It would be good in Australia if we had access to all of them.

I was just trying with this post to get some Aussies into Argentium.
We have gone from a country of “early adopters” to being well behind.

Even though I have tried I cannot get Argentium to reticulate as
well as sterling and with reticulated sterling firescale is your
friend.

James I use Argentium 935 and heat harden at 350 centigrade this
maybe makes a difference.

What has come through though is many of us on Orchid use silver and
make great things with it.

To me the biggest advantage of Argentium is it’s low tarnish. Saves
a lot of cleaning of stock.

Oh did I forget to mention that the “flying unicorn” hallmark is so
cool. Another reason my wife thinks I am an idiot LOL All the best
Richard

No, it can't tarnish because like 24k gold, oxygen won't bond with
the metal. I always compensate for strength by making stress
points about 25% heavier. Never once had a set stone pop. Over time
and with use,.999 silver will dull and loose 60% of its
reflectivity. A very minimal buff returns the shine quickly. 

Brian, tarnish on silver is not due to oxygen or oxides, despite the
common classification as oxidation (which is indeed correct, even if
it isn’t oxygen).

Tarnish forms when silver or copper reacts with sulphur. And fine
silver does react with sulphur. It also does react with oxygen, by
the way, though not aggressively. (think of silver oxide batteries in
your wristwatch). But silver oxides are not black colored, the silver
oxide film is thin, essentially transparent, and not significant for
our purposes.

As to settings, fine silver is commonly used for bezels, because
it’s so soft and like high karat gold or platinum, has little if any
springiness, so it’s easy to burnish over. But simply put, the stuff
is softer than sterling. That is the main reason sterling exists in
the first place. The pure metal is too soft for many uses. That
doesn’t mean it cannot be used, when, as you do, you compensate for
it’s greater softness. But there are some uses where it simply isn’t
as suitable, such as prongs which would stay bent in fine silver if
there is a little push on them, versus sterling which is less likely
to bend in the first place, and if not pushed a lot, can spring back
so the stone still is held. One chooses the best metals for any given
job, and considerations included cost, appearance, ease of working,
strength needed, and more. For some things, fine silver is best
(bezel wire and enamelling come to mind). For others, sterling will
be the better choice.

Peter Rowe

I couldn’t have said it better myself, Cynthia. And Cynthia - among
other experts - have given us the techniques required to work with
this fantastic alloy. I find mastering new techniques exciting and
fulfilling.

If the silver companies had switched to Argentium they may still be
in business. I receive calls from mothers who want to pass down their
sterling flatware to their daughter as wedding gifts. To this day,
daughters have refused to take the silver because of the tarnish
issue. Many of these mothers had read my Silver Care Guide on how to
properly store flatware to eliminate the tarnish problem, but the
daughters still weren’t interested.

Jeff Herman
Hermansilver.com

HI all at Ganoksin

I am here in Australia and I am a member of a larger Lapidary club
on the east coast, we have a significant part of the membership who
do metal work and I have managed to get our "shop to try some
Argentium wire, sheet and findings.

I also printed the Argentium fact sheet and placed it on file for
members to look at. I love working with it. I am though only starting
out so I try to push the benefits of working with Argentium when
possible.

I have one problem but and that is the cost of the stamp used to
hallmark the finished product. I’m not sure why it is so expensive. I
use the 925 Hallmark. I would love to have the "Flying Unicorn"
Hallmark but for a beginner the cost is too much. Even more so now
the $Aussie is slipping further down the scale form the greenback so
it adds another 27cents to every dollar spent in the conversion.

So there are some of us here in Australia using Argentium.

Richard, reticulation is best done with 80% silver, called,
reticulation silver.

I have not seen any great results toward reticulation using sterling.
My opinion is it is just metal deformed by heat, not reticulation.

Those who teach reticulation, use 80% silver.

Look up Harold O’ Connors work. A master of reticulation. He also
teaches…

I would love to see someone duplicate the extremely detailed peaks
and valleys of 80% silver reticulation with another alloy.

Heating, pickling, scratch brushing 80% silver alloy 5 times to bring
up a fine silver surface prior to reticulation is essential.

This produces an outer layer that wrinkles from the inside being
closer to a molten state than the outside.

Hello Jeff,

You really hit the nail on the head! When I first worked with
Argentium sterling, I thought to myself, 'This alloy is the future
of hollow ware!" Sad that the silver companies failed to switch. My
daughters have no interest inanything considered high maintenance,
ie. sterling, silk, wool. I’m feeling that there are better uses of
my time than for polishing my silver tea set, hand washing delicate
fabrics, etc.

Judy in Kansas, where the tomato production is declining, and nights
re cooling off. The pastures are still green though. I’m calling
this year the ‘summer of green!’

When I was in school I reticulated pieces using standard sterling.
The pin on the left has lapis, the one on the right has enamel and
citrine.

Jeff Herman

Hi all

I have no problems reticulating with sterling. Master silversmiths
who teach reticulation use sterling.

Heating, pickling, scratch brushing 80% silver alloy 5 times to
bring up a fine silver surface prior to reticulation is essential. 

No just a waste of time. I reticulate then pickle then scratch
brush, done.

Not had a problem in the last 25 years.

all the best
Richard

Years ago I had a great time “reticulating” nickle silver. Same
prosess. heat. pickle. heat. pickle, etc., until you get the surface
you like. Oh, yes. brush in there too for effects and cleaning up.
can’t remember if I used steel or brass brush. I made some really
neat pieces of jewelry using the nickle silver. Doesn’t look like
regular reticulation, but really interesting surface. even some
burned through places where this torcher overdid the heat. but even
those holes looked great in the finished jewelry. Try it, you might
like it!!!

Well my fine silver does tarnish.

Esta Jo Schifter
Shifting Metal
shiftingmetal.com

I find that nickel-silver reticulates very nicely, even without any
surface preparation.

Judy Bjorkman

Richard, photo of your reticulation please.

[Edit]

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Hi all here is a reticulated ring

Jeffrey, your reticulation is nothing like the fine detailed
structure that is achieved by 80% silver. I had mentioned Harold
O’Connors work.

He is a master at reticulation.

From what I know and see, and what I have done, your reticulation
looks like it is heat damaged metal, no fine network of peaks and
valleys Harold achieves. Looks like looking down on mountain ranges
like you see when flying above.

Crisp, distinct. Not blobby.

One has much more significant interest to me in detail that the
other. Harold has also gotten some swirls where the reticulation has
a spiral effect. That indicates, a certain amount of control as to
the outcome. Skill. Bottom line, using sterling one cannot achieve
the delicate fine structure using 80%. Calling it reticulation does
not make it the same technique, as it is not. The technique is shown
in the book by Oppi Untracht. Don’t have mine handy, quite possible,
they are by. Harold, as he has several of his pieces shown in the
book. Trade magazines show single rows of diamonds set with beads
every issue, calling it pave. It is not.

I have no problems reticulating with sterling. Master silversmiths
who teach reticulation use sterling. 

Go to Oppi Untrecht’s book, look up reticulation, we are not talking
about the same technique.

Name one “Master” silversmith, better yet, photo of what you are
calling reticulation.

Or see my reply to Jeffrey Herman.

It is a specific technique with a specific texture achieved.

I can understand if you have not seen true reticulation, by the
standard I have seen.

Obtain the results as demonstrated in Oppi’s book with sterling…

That is a challenge, I would love to be shown how to achieve the same
results with sterling.

Can you do it with Argentiume?

Hi all here is a reticulated ring
http://www.ganoksin.com/ftp/P1030588.jpg 

Nice!