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Identifying Argentium


#1

After traveling for the past two weeks, I returned to a pendant that
I had in process. I can’t remember if it is argentium silver or
traditional sterling. Is there a quick and/or easy method to
determine? Thanks so much,

Jamie


#2

Hi Jamie,

This is quick and dirty, but I usually find if I hold a piece of
regular sterling up to pure white paper, it looks cool and a bit
bluish, while argentium has a “warm” or faintly yellowish tone.

Not very scientific, but may be helpful if you’ve a good eye for
colour. :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Kieran


#3

Hi Jamie,

After traveling for the past two weeks, I returned to a pendant
that I had in process. I can't remember if it is argentium silver
or traditional sterling. Is there a quick and/or easy method to
determine? 

If you can’t identify a piece of metal, first sand, scrape, tripoli,
or otherwise abrade the surface to to get freshly clean metal
without any oxides or fine silver surface. Then heat the metal GENTLY
with a torch, being sure to move the flame on and off the metal
constantly— this lets oxygen reach the hot metal surface. If the
metal is traditional sterling, it will turn black and stay black. If
the metal is Argentium, it may turn black, but as you keep heating,
the germanium and germanium oxide grab the oxygen from the copper,
and the metal will turn white again. It can be helpful to test a
known piece of each alloy at the same time, for comparison.

Cynthia Eid
http://www.cynthiaeid.com