I am a mostly self taught metalsmith and have been enjoying the hobby
for a number of years now. This spring I decided to take a class at
my local art school just to find out if I was doing things the proper
way or did I need to change some of my habits. Fortunately, I learned
I was doing pretty well.
I asked my instructor one evening if I could melt down some sterling
silver into plate. I had been given a number of castings that a
friend had done several years ago and never completed the project.
They hadn’t even been cleaned after coming out of the cast and still
had the sprues intact. My instructor told me that I could melt them
down but they would not be sterling silver any more. Now she is a
recent graduate and maybe not the most expert jeweller in the field
so I’m cutting her some slack. But, is this true? If I melt down
sterling silver straight out of the casting machine, make it into an
ingot, roll it out to sheet stock, make not alterations to it at all,
how can it not be sterling silver?
I realize that if I melt down scraps of silver from making projects
that may have bits of solder etc. on them that it would not be
sterling unless I added casting grain, but if it’s just straight out
of the cast, does it need casting grains to be called sterling