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Platinum enhanced sterling?


#1

Does anyone work with the platinum-enhanced sterling? How is it,
compared to traditional sterling? And here’s what I really want to
know-- will it darken in resonse to chemical patinas like Black Max?

Oh-- and are there matching solders?

Thanks,
Noel


#2

I worked with platinum enhanced silver, but not with modern alloys. I
tried them out and for some reason modern alloys are not as yielding
and can even be called brittle. Most of the antique jewellery was
made with platinum enhance silver and we used it for reproductions as
well. Ours was exactly like sterling, just a little tougher. We used
russian platinum coins as additive. That may be the factor that
explains the difference. Hot solution of Liver of Sulphur was used as
patina for the alloy. Solder was not an issue, because every piece
was patinated.

I was told that modern alloys were patented. Enhancing silver with
platinum is a very very old practice. I wonder if in order to be able
to obtain the patent, they introduce some component in the alloy
which gives it that brittle property.

Leonid Surpin


#3

I’ve just started using it and so far, I love it! I didn’t care for
Argentium that much because I didn’t like the way it would crumble
if overheated (yes, my fault, but I’m an impatient solderer), I hate
working with white gold because it is so very unyielding and brittle.
Sterling tarnishes, but sometimes that’s okay. This seems as
malleable as sterling, inhibits tarnish and sounds good, too. Much
more expensive thatn sterling, far less than gold…a very nice
compromise where a white metal is called for.

Marianne Hunter


#4

Marianne,

my experience is somewhat different, so when you say it is
malleable, do you mean it responds well to rolling, hammering,
bending, and etc.

If the answer is yes, do you mind telling us who is your supplier?


#5

For those who are interested Pt enhanced silver is available from ABI
Metals. abipreciousmetals.com. There is a link on their website which
gives some details about its qualities - very impressive.

HTH
KP


#6

I used to make .975 silver with platinum. It was very nice to work
with and very nice looking.


#7

ABI Precious Metals (www.abipreciousmetals.com) sells sterling
silver alloyed with platinum. It can be purchased with different
blends of platinum: 5%, 3.5% and 1%. It can be fabricated or cast.
Doc Robinson was the metallurgist who came up with this material. I
believe ABI also offers silver/palladium alloys.

The sterling silvers with platinum are significantly more expensive
than Argentium Silver. The last time I checked, several years ago
when Doc did a presentation in Honolulu, the 3.5% platinum sterling
was selling for approximately $65.00/oz for casting shot. I don’t
know what the fabrication fees are if you’re interested in wire. I
have not personally experimented with the material, but I did get to
handle samples of castings and fabricated materials. This is very
nice material, but quite costly. Unless you can figure out a way to
market it as an alternative to gold and platinum, it comes across as
very expensive, exotic sterling silver that is harder and more
tarnish resistant than ordinary sterling silver.

HTH,
Donna Shimazu


#8

I used 10k white gold solders for color match and tarnish
resistance. ABI is developing specific platinum sterling solders at
this time.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#9

Hi Noel,

The September 2006 issue of Art Jewelry Magazine had an extensive
review of the 3.5% Platinum sterling alloy available from ABI.

I found the 3.5% alloy and the 5% alloy to be worked remarkably
well. Both alloys responded to traditional metalsmithing techniques
with a feel in the hand that is very similar to a 18k yellow gold. No
brittleness at all.

Black Max will oxidize both alloys.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#10
The September 2006 issue of Art Jewelry Magazine had an extensive
review of the 3.5% Platinum sterling alloy available from ABI. 

Thanks, Nanz-- I should have remembered that!

Black Max will oxidize both alloys. 

I was actually hoping it wouldn’t… I’d like to do white-on-black,
and sterling gives the best black, as far as I’ve found. I’ve never
used white gold, and was hoping the plat sterling would be a way
around it.

What karat white gold is easiest to work with? I’m guessing 14k
palladium, but as I said, I’ve never worked with white gold.

Noel


#11

Noel,

To get the effect you want with a white-on-black design use electrum.
Electrum is an alloy of fine silver and pure gold. James Binnion or
Phillip Baldwin may have advise on the exact ratios for this alloy.

I have made it by accident and found that the electrum will not take
an oxidized finish. And it is so much easier to work with then white
gold.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


#12
Electrum is an alloy of fine silver and pure gold 

Electrum is a naturally occurring alloy, primarily composed of
naturally occurring gold, naturally occurring silver, some copper,
and traces of many other elements depending on location where it is
found. The range of colors is controlled by the presence of trace
elements.

Electrum is the very first metal used for jewellery in ancient world.
In myth of Herakles, the shield used by Herakles was made by
Hephaestus from electrum and ivory.

To say that electrum is an alloy of fine silver and pure gold is
imprecise and diminutive of the role of electrum in Jewellery.

Leonid Surpin


#13
To get the effect you want with a white-on-black design use
electrum. 

Huh! In effect, it is 12K white gold…? (It comes out white?) I’m
pretty sure that electrum is half-and-half, traditionally. I like
the idea, though I’m not crazy about alloying and rolling my own.
Anybody sell it?

Noel


#14

1/2 and 1/2 – pure 9fine) silver and pure gold-- is what I’ve heard
modern electrum to be. Historically, I’ve always heard it to be an
alloy of naturally occurring are: gold/silver, maybe some copper.

At any rate, 50/50 silver gold is 12k green gold, to my mind. I’ve
made some and it is a very light pale greenish white.

Andy


#15

Despite Leonid’s history lesson. Electrum is considered to be an
alloy of roughly half gold and half silver. The exact ratio and
other elements present have varied in depending on the maker and
source of the alloy. But in modern usage 50/50 gold silver is called
electrum. It is a nice alloy to work with but is very soft and not
really suitable for use as a high wear item.

James Binnion
@James_Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


360-756-6550


#16

I agree with the historical importance of naturally occurring
electrum in jewelery of antiquity, but does that bar modern jewellers
from mixing an alloy of pure gold and silver and naming it electrum?
I am sure some definitions will say electrum is an alloy of gold and
silver, and others will say ‘predominately’ gold and silver. That is
the difference between old electrum and today’s electrum. Modern
jewellers have the advantage of being able to name the precise
composition of their alloy.

A Google search shows that electrum is a favourite name for rock
bands and computer manufacturers, and a precious alloy. A search in
the Orchid archives brings up a wealth of discussion and first hand
on the use of electrum; it is alive and well as a modern
alloy.

It is very easy to melt your own electrum, it is a beautiful
material to work with, and it has no vices.

Cheers, Alastair


#17

I make electrum using 50% 22k gold and 50% fine silver. I love using
this metal for its’ color and the ability to do granulation with 22k
yellow gold.

jennifer friedman
http://www.jenniferfriedmanstudio.com


#18

The reason I object to use of “electrum” to describe alloy of gold
and silver because the color of such alloy will be greenish. Electrum
in latin mean amber; greek name for amber is electron ( elektron )
implying color of the sun.

Etymology is quite clear that the word meant to describe amber
colored alloy, which is the color of naturally occurring alloy. The
composition of man-made electrum according to Herodotus is 1 part of
silver to 4 part of gold.

I do not see how alloy of 1 part of gold and 1 part of silver can be
called “electrum”.

Leonid Surpin


#19

Electrum dates back to the ancient Egyptians (long before the
Greeks) and was both naturally occurring and alloyed. Thin sheets
were often used to gild objects and sculpture, including possibly the
pyramidal tops of obelisks, so that they would reflect brilliantly in
the sun. I don’t know how it received its Latin name along the way.
Why do we call loop in loop chains ‘Roman’?

What I was taught and my own experience with electrum is that the
alloy should never be a perfect 50/50% split. It should be 51% and
49%, divided either way. (Of course this gets into stamping content
issues.) If made 50/50, it work hardens too quickly and is very
brittle. Tipping the balance even just a hair makes the alloy butter
to work with, but it work hardens unexpectedly well, considering it
is made up solely of fine metal. Working with electrum made it easy
for me to understand why people were so drawn to alchemy in the past.
Such alloying can seem magical.

The color range is pale green gold to warm silver, to pale yellow. It
works well for high karat granulation where a contrast of granules
and background is required and also for fused bezels.

Victoria
Victoria Lansford
http://www.victorialansford.com


#20
Electrum dates back to the ancient Egyptians (long before the
Greeks) and was both naturally occurring and alloyed. 

I have never seen any literature referencing electrum to Ancient
Egypt. Can you provide some sources on the subject.

Leonid Surpin