Heat Hardening Argentium

Why is can Argentium be heat treated without annealing? Before
sterling can be heat hardening, it must be “solution annealed”
(holding at 1380 F. for 30 minutes and then quenching). This
uniformly mixes the copper with the silver and allows the low
temperature (600 F.), heat treatment to be effective. Why doesn’t
Argentium require “solution annealing”? According to all of the
published I can find, Argentium can be effectively
hardened by either heat treating without ANY annealing or for a
slightly harder product, annealing and quenching and then heat
treating. Solution annealing does not appear to be required. Why?

Mitch Adams

Hello Mitch,

Why is can Argentium be heat treated without annealing? 

If you’re interested in a non-technical, albeit “approved”,
explanation I refer you to the " Why does it harden in the oven?"
post on my “Working with Argentium Sterling” blog. The URL for that
post is


Trevor F.
in The City of Light
Visit TouchMetal.com at http://www.touchmetal.com

Hi Mitch,

Here’s a bit from my article: “When Argentium[tm] Sterling Silver is
heated, the germanium precipitates out of the alloy, and forms its
own crystal structure. Because the germanium crystal structure has a
different geometry than the silver/copper crystal structure, the two
structures interlock, thus making the metal harder.” So, you see,
it’s the germanium that makes the hardening process so different for
Argentium Sterling.

Cynthia Eid