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Opinions on using pure/fine silver?

Fine silver can be work hardened (never as stiff as sterling) but because there is no copper in the alloy it cannot be heat/age/ precipitate hardened.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…

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Thanks Linda for confirming that to me. I understand it can be hardened a little by cold working by drawing etc - according to the Stuller’s website. It will of course never be as hard as sterling silver.

Linda, I use fine sil a lot and sure it’s work-hardenable. Any distortion (forging, rolling, drawing, etc) will work harden it - entirely dependent on how much distortion/extrusion/reduction since last anneal - it’ll go very hard. Just not as hard as other malleable metals. Period! :wink:

By hammering, forging, or other deformation methods. I was rolling out a 150gram ingot today, it went from 12mm thick to 0.6mm with 3 anneals. 350degC anneal temp by the way is way lower than sterling.

Rolling. Or hammering, then rolling. Reduce thickness down to 20% between anneals.

but it cannot be heat hardened.

How thick were the prongs?

The prongs were very substantial, about 12 ga, maybe.

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Thank you!

Was it four or six prongs? Were they work hardened?

Four prongs, not work hardened. I was depending on mass. The stone was set low.

I found this discussion quite interesting because I was found when working with find silver and find gold that it did seem to get work hardened. So I went into my studio and rolled out some find silver and sure enough that sucker got super hard and I annealed it I could bend it like butter. So regardless of Theories, my experience is that fine silver definitely gets work hardened. Give it a try.

I switched to using fine silver for a range of jewellery last year, then I went back to 925.

Thees were my observations,

It is softer, but not by much, after barrelling its perfectly usable just as long as the piece has some weight to it.

The fact it scratches easier I feel is far outweighed by its tarnish resistance,

There were inconveniences particularly regarding casting which did drive me back to 925,
It chills easier, very fine details were harder to cast than with 925, not impossible, but the can, the melt, everything had to be ‘Perfect’ or it just wouldn’t fill.
It has a tendency to clot on the bottom of the crucible, ‘again chilling’ this meant that I would have to preheat the crucible really hot, add 30g melt, an other 30g melt, then stir very well at the end to be sure there are no lumps at the bottom,

All in all I like fine sliver, but for commercial jewellery find 925 is more user friendly.

OK, I stand corrected. I have ben informed by a metalsmith whose expertise and experience I trust, that Fine silver can be work hardened, but cannot be heat hardened. I apologize for the misinformation I posted earlier.

No worries! It’s all a learning process!

Thank you. My experiences with the material have been similar; however, I don’t cast doubt I didn’t notice any problems around there.

It seems to me that using one of the highly tarnish resistant, firescale and firestain proof, newer silver alloys would be a far better choice than fussing with fine silver. I like sterling and use tarnish and firescale as a design element, but when that isn’t what I need, I use Argentium. Its minimal higher cost is more than paid for by simplifying finishing, now and later.

I use f/s wire in necklaces 1mm round: jump rings, fused, bent, cold connected, then stretched to harden. Been wearing the same necklace fir over 10 years. No problems. Love the stuff. It balls up better than Stirling, too.

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Thanks for the input!

I made a fold-form fine silver cuff and it has held up for 5 years now. The center fold strengthens and supports the bracelet. I also corrugate fine silver. The ridges serve to strengthen the piece.