While setting an opal in a fine silver bezel, surrounded by three
graduated sizes of Argentium Sterling Silver wire and backed by
Argentium Sterling Silver sheet the fine silver bezel shattered
into pieces like broken glass in several places.
Sorry to hear of the trouble it's caused you but that's amazing!
What a strange think to have happen.
I'm just finishing a simpler piece but basically the same details
--fine silver (FS) bezel on Argentium Sterling (AS) back-- and I'm
seeing the fine silver behave pretty much exactly like you'd expect
fine silver to behave. It came out of the precip hardening pretty
soft actually, so much so that I was thinking of redoing it with
thicker FS bezel material.
If it was me the first thing I'd do is run a side-by-side test to see
if the temps and times you are using does anything to a plain old
strip of your FS material which, of course, one wouldn't expect it to,
at least as far as I know.
I'd love to hear the metallurgy behind this. James? Are you following
our Argentium saga? Any thoughts?
One thing I have seen that sounds remotely like this is some
brittleness in regular sterling silver (SS) after I'd tried to patina
it with bleach (a series of experiments I tried a while back which
lead me to put the bleach back under the sink and forget about it's
use in the studio). Once I heated the bleach-soaked SS up on the hot
plate it seemed noticeably less malleable than I would have thought
it should be. This doesn't shed much light on your situation but it's
the only instance I've seen in my studio of silver becoming brittle
after heating it.
in The City of Light