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Makeing silver rock hard for durability?

I am a emblematic jewelery manufacturer. I am getting a lot of or
ders for silver pieces to be done. They vary from class rings to
corporate logos. The problem is this… I use the "super silver"
deoxidized alloys from Swest and United metals. These pieces always
come out very soft and easy to scratch. Also, I have done the
recommended 2 hours at 500 degrees in the oven to “harden” them but
that still does not work. Does any one know how to make silver rock
hard for durability? My class rings shanks always bend and w arp
after a couple of weeks from customer wear. And these are not thin
piece s! I purchased one of those really big hollow crosses at the
mall kiosk out of silver and I could not bend it with my hands. All
my pieces I could bend like butter. What am I doing wrong? Or is
there a better alloy?


Maybe I missed something, but I’ve never heard of heating silver to
harden it. My final step on most pieces is mass finishing in a
rotary tumbler with stainless steel shot and a burnishing compound.
Everything comes out hardened and looking beautiful. I bought a book
about such mass finishing from Rio Grande a couple of years ago. I
was already doing it before I got the book, but the book might help
you set up your operation or whatever.

ginger meek allen
Little Cottage Studio

mark ’ i’m putting a line of jewelry together for a customer would be
interested in talking to you about manufacturing charms i’ve been
doing repairs and custom jlry for 20 years manufacturing seems like
different animal. if interested please respond off line

lisa mcconnell

There are two options to harden sterling silver one is to work
harden it by drawing, rolling forging you can increase the hardness
of the sterling. However, if you solder on it or anneal it after
working it you will return it to its soft state. Tumbling in steel
shot will harden it somewhat but not to the maximum hardness for
silver. The other option is called precipitation hardening. By
heating the sterling to 1382 F (750 C) for 30 min to change the
crystal structure of the silver. The problem with this is twofold
first it is just above the melting point of hard silver solder so
you can’t do this to soldered products. Second you must heat it in a
non oxidizing atmosphere or the silver will be horribly firescaled.
It works well in a factory for things like silverware but it is hard
to do properly in a small studio. –

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

Hi Lisa, Mark and/ or other Orchidians Do you have any historical
about Charms? I’m need some for a thesis of
mine. EVERYTHING well;o)

chow for now


Do you really need to use the deoxidized alloys? The standard alloy
for sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper) is harder and yes,
you can heat harden it.

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry

Now you have heard of heat hardening. I use an AIM Kiln I bought from
a glass blowing supplier (glasscraft, in Golden CO), but any reliable
kiln or oven that can hold 550F will do. I’ve added a digital
pyrometer and controller as I found the analog stuff wasn’t stable at
lower temps. I harden silver by putting it in the kiln cold, and
bringing it to 525-550 F and letting it bake for around 3 hours. To
avoid oxide build-up I made a small tray out of 20ga sheet steel with
a loose fitting lid, packed with charcoal that I place my silver
items in. I mostly make chain and chainmaile and usually don’t solder
the links. This is how I harden them so they don’t pull apart. As for
tumbling, I just don’t like to… I don’t like the finish I get, it’s
noisy, and I’ve had the tumbling media get wedged into some of my
intricate chains so bad I have to break the chain to get it out
(using steel shot). Of course most of all, I have my own kiln, I
don’t have my own tumbler.

Anyways, that’s the basic of heat hardening, I know it is covered in
several books also, that’s where I learned the technique. I’ve only
used this with sterling so far, but I am guessing that most
non-ferrous metal would display similar properties.

Anyways, my 2=A2 =)
Doug Harroun
Albuquerque, NM