It's been a while, so I hope everyone in Orchidland is doing well. I made a big career change (jewelry is my hobby), and thus was away from my passion of making jewelry. How I envy you professionals out there that get to do it for a living!
However, in my rare spare time, I designed with some help a unique conch pendant that has texture on the outside, but a smooth surface in the concave "foot" of the conch. After 5 or 6 years of making jewelry as a hobby, I have finally made a design that I'm completely happy with and believe I could actually put my name on so to speak. All I have left is to create a "painted" style of some pink, white, or red enamel in the foot of the conch.
I make everything out of Argentium unless someone wants gold. It serves us well here in Florida with constant exposure to salt and chlorine. I have not enameled before, but read several books, asked my professional jeweler friend a lot of questions, and did more research.
I read that Argentium can slump if you try high temperature enamels. I thought I would try the painting enamels from Thompsons. They are not only paintable, but they have a low fire temperature. I have continuously failed to get any of this enamel to work on my Argentium conch. It turns into a brown dried lipstick sludge and does not stick at all to the argentium. I thought letting the enamel dry for a full day would get rid of enough moisture, but there were other problems I'm sure.
Does only the typical medium or high fire enamel work?
I have a digital kiln. The best information I found specific to my problem is from 10 years ago on a similar post where I found this person having success:
Problem solved I think.
I tried this:
pickled the domed 30 mm Argentium 925 piece for 15 mins at 140
degrees F in citric acid pickle.
sanded the surface to be enamelled with 220 grit emery paper (to
try to remove germanium layer)
sifted on Thompson opaque enamel
in kiln at 1450 degrees F for 2 mins
repeated steps 3. and 4. two more times (for 3 coats of enamel)
Worked fine - enamel seemed to "stick", has not popped off (yet).
So maybe the key here for enamelling Argentium 925 is to sand off
the germanium layer Or maybe I was just lucky second time around
But I have now enamelled 3 pieces of Argentium using the above
technique, and none have popped off.>
END OF QUOTE
1450 degrees for 2 minutes? Wouldn't the argentium piece melt into half of a puddle?
I will get regular enamel and try the above post from 2007. But I thought I would ask if anyone else has advice for trying to enamel regular Argentium.