I don’t know much about bismuth. I actually know only one thing
about it that I can think of. I have seen great ingots of it at the
Trail, BC Cominco smelter but I have never used it.
The one thing I know - Bismuth is included in the alloy for making
"type metal" , the alloy composed mainly of lead which is used for
making old-fashioned printing type. The reason for including bismuth
(I was told about 55 years ago) is that bismuth expands as it goes
from liquid to solid state, much like water ice. Therefore when the
type is cast the expansion of the bismuth insures the metal really
fills all the very fine detail in the molds as the type must be used
just as it comes from the moud - no polishing or filing is possible
after the fact. Well, actually it is possible but hardly economic.
All the edges of letters and fine points of serifs must be crisp and
sharp. I suppose this quality might have some application in casting
silver or other metals for similar reasons of achieving very good
detail - but I don’t know how much bismuth by percentage it would
take to produce the desired effect and whether that might negate your
ability to legitimately call your product “silver,” sterling or
Oh yeah - I know one more thing about bismuth. It is an ingredient
in Pepto-Bismol - so that speaks for its lack of toxicity.
Marty Hykin in Victoria BC who is not taking Pepto-Bismol today,
never has done, and hopes he never will.