Hi All - - it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I do always read the digest. Do you think customers care if something is made with Argentium Sterling Silver? Do you think they search for it by name when searching the internet? Do they ask for it in your stores?
First – cool avatar! Second – we make a bunch of jewelry in our other business. While we get very few people asking for it “by name” we do find that when offered the notion of an oxidization-resistant silver alloy at a premium price, many customers are willing to spend the money.
In the past, I’ve only had one customer ask about Argentium and she wanted to be sure what she was buying was not Argentium. She said she had a horrible allergy to it. I suggested maybe she was thinking of nickel silver which is sometimes called “alpaca.” I lost. She wanted nothing to do with Argentium. Fortunately, I was selling her .925 Sterling.
Thanks, Seth. It’s my logo and maker’s mark. Good to know people are willing to pay a premium once they understand what it is.
Interesting, Dick - - I’ve never heard that complaint before.
No they do not ask for it but using it is still a good idea. Most everybody makes a tarnish resistant silver now even though Argentium was the first. There are some I like better. I was never very happy with argentium for casting. But the benefits of a silver that tarnishes more slowly and doesn’t fire scale as much are for your benefit as well as theirs. In the end it can be less expensive to work with it.
Stuller carries two types of anti-tarnish and good one for casting and stone setting is Continuum Silver… for hand fab try Sterlium Plus
Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Director Tool Sales & Stuller Bench
P 1-800-877-7777 ext 4191 or 4194
Argentium can be a challenging metal. It took me weeks to undo my attachment to fabricating in Sterling in just learning to fuse Argentium. It’s a learning curve for sure. When you master the fusing temperature, fabricating speeds up because you don’t have to solder everything. In a six week class, it took me about four and a half weeks to get it right. Not different than learning to drive a standard shift camper van left handed in New Zealand. After awhile it feels natural.
For delicate ear wires, and thin sheet, you can heat harden adding stability and durability.
Western Avenue Studio, #506
122 Western Ave.
Lowell, MA 01851
Andy-I hand fab with Continuum and love, love, love it. I won’t work with
anything else. I also cast with it. I sure wish Stuller would promote it
more. When I was at the Santa Fe Symposium earlier this year I got into a
discussion about silver alloys with some metallurgists. My fav comment was
from one of them who said “Continuum is the perfect sterling alloy.” And
no, he does not work for Stuller. The only thing it can’t do perfectly is
granulation. I find it far superior to any silver out there for pretty much
any application. I don’t care that much about anti tarnish properties as I
do about the workability and strength. That said I have not tried
So why do you think Sterlium is better for fabricating?
I’ve been working with Continuum Silver now for a couple of years on a number of projects and it has been a great addition to our choices of white metals. One of the great things about this metal is that it can be heat hardened to roughly the hardness of 14kt white gold. So far my clients that have gone this route have been very happy with the metal and the price.
Karen- With Continuum there was no learning curve for me. It doesn’t need
any special treatment. No need to take a six week class and take up 4 1/2
weeks to learn how to use it. It works so easily, fuses beautifully, and
is so strong. The only thing it can’t do well is granulation. I find it far
superior to any other sterling that I have ever used.
I do not work for or represent Stuller. I just love the stuff.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry
OK, I work in South West,Spanish,designs using lots of sheet and
stamping,etc.I like the ability to fuse, less tarnish.I would love to hear
opinuns on best of these new metals for hand fabrication.! Thanks …And
love Idea of Ganok aprons.
Can you get sheet, wire, sizing stock etc in Continuum?
Noel- Yes you can. I use mostly IT solder on Continuum in addition to
regular silver solders. All of my eyeglasses are done with Continuum and IT
solder. The only lower temp solder I use on them is medium when putting on
the fine little wires for the nose pads.
I love making my eyeglasses out of Continuum. It’s much lighter than gold
or platinum and as strong and springy as 14 kt white gold.
if you have any questions call John Butler or Shan Aithal in the metallurgy
lab at Stuller.
Attached find two pics. One of a pair of glasses when they were in progress
and another on my favorite model Eileen wearing the finished product. She’s
gonna kill me because the photo of her hasn’t been photo shopped yet.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry and have a great holiday season.
Just adding more fuel to the fire between the two :]
I don’t have a lot of experience as a jeweler, but I think many of the differences are nit-picking for personal use (how we work) rather than the customer. I only say this because the average consumer seems to care if it’s true silver or plated and not what grades are available. The fact that one or the other may have better tarnishing effects etc etc etc etc is just an added bonus that “most” people don’t even consider. Of course, this may not be true for high-end jewelry.
James- It does matter even in lower priced jewelry. If one has a line of silver jewelry that is put in numerous galleries and shops, tarnishing while on display is a huge issue. Say a craftsman has 100 pieces scattered around in different galleries. They will have to be shipped back to the maker for periodic polishing and cleaning. Both the cost of shipping and the time spent refinishing can add enough to the cost that will cut not the much slimmer profit margins of lower priced goods.
Most higher end jewelry is in gold and platinum where tarnish is not an issue and the profit margins are not as tight.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, just that the grades of silver aren’t something most consumers consider in making a purchase. Most people, in my opinion, just want to know if something is real silver, gold, etc. The anti-tarnishing effects are great as an added bonus we get to pass along, but that is often beyond the scope of people who just know they want something attractive that doesn’t turn their skin green and priced within their means. I’m not disagreeing with you in the least :]
Well educated consumers are what we want. The more they know, the more they appreciate fine work and the more they are willing to spend. We prefer to work with discerning clients. They get that way because we take the time to educate them. We also sell our work only in places that have well educated sales staff who know the art and craftsmanship behind hand made jewelry.
The retailers who still cling to the old biz model of only teaching consumers the 4 Cs are rapidly becoming obsolete. The modern consumer is much more interested in knowing exactly what they are buying. Especially Milennials. -Jo
Interesting discussion…do carry on as you see fit!
The reason I asked the question is I’m working on my website trying to improve SEO. Many of my pieces are made with Argentium SS wire; and many are cast with DeOx SS or TrueSilver…there may be some Continuum in there as well. I was wondering if it would be useful to use “Argentium Sterling Silver” or “tarnish-resistant Sterling Silver” as a keyword phrase. If people don’t use those terms when searching the web then those keywords won’t help me.
Guess the bottom line is, it’s a cr*p shoot and I’ll just have to test and see how it goes.
Jo - these glasses are amazing! Thanks for sharing. Now I know what my wife is getting for her birthday