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Richard was right about Argentium


#1

Richard was right about the marvels of Argentium if you work in
silver.

I just cast my first pieces out of Argentium and the brightness/lack
of fire scale on the very first flask was just shockingly better than
any sterling I’ve cast. I have no affiliation with the makers of
Argentium, I’m more of a hobbyist if you can’t already tell from my
questions I post.

Just shockingly better and I have not even begun the
handwork/soldering, etc. yet which I hear is just as great. Stirring
the melt just before casting with a graphite rod is all you need to
do and expect insanely clean castings with this stuff. Bravo to the
people who developed the use of Germanium in silver. Please tell me
they won technical awards for their innovation. This is truly
remarkable. To make a superior alloy by adding inexpensive elements
is not something seen very often.


#2

I largely agree about Argentium-- I’m a fan, too. And I love that I
can assemble parts by fusing, no solder-- even if I am attaching
argentium parts to sterling or gold.

On the other hand, it takes some care not to have things fuse when
you don’t want them to. And the hot-short thing takes care too.

I want to add a point that even some people who don’t want to use
Argentium for casting or fabrication may appreciate: it is amazing
for lasering. We use a laser at work-- a TON. I’ve gotten to be the
"silver laser queen".

First, we used ordinary sterling laser wire. Then I switched us to
palladiun silver laser wire, and that was a big improvement. Now we
use Argentium laser wire, and it is almost as easy to laser with as
gold. It still helps to put Sharpie on the workpiece, but the
Argentium flows on like a dream.

Noel


#3

I have a question for those of you who have been working with
Argentium for some time now. Do you do all the final baking to bring
the germanium to the surface? It seems that it would use a lot of
electricity if the original heating still is recommended.

Noralie


#4

Argentium for some time now. Do you do all the final baking to bring
the germanium to the surface? It seems that it would use a lot of
electricity if the original heating still is recommended.

Yes, I recommend “baking” the finished piece, and do it myself. It
hardens the metal, making it more durable, as well as increasing the
tarnish resistance. A toaster oven is fine for this final
heating—it is not necessary to use a kiln or full size kitchen
oven.

Cynthia Eid
Cynthiaeid.com


#5

Hi all

I have been working with sterling for over 25 years. I have been
working with Argentium for a year now. There is no comparison,
Argentium is a superior metal in all respects.

Argentium is firescale free.

BUT YOU MUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OR YOU WILL REGRET IT.

Following instructions is second nature to this trade.

I always raise the germanium by heating at 125 C for one hour.

Also I heat harden all pieces. I sand first and then heat harden as
polishing after heat hardening gives a better polish.

For gem set pieces after setting the stone I heat harden 350 C for 2
hours, I put the piece in a cold oven to avoid thermal shock, then
pickle in salt and vinegar. Heat hardened Argentium is much harder
than non heat hardened Argentium. Polish then raise the germanium at
125 C for one hour.

I do not heat harden before setting the stone as the Argentium gets
very hard to move.

I do multiple pieces at the same time so the cost of electricity
works out at about 50 cents a piece.

When I am going to set a bezel into a ring band that I have cut out
the section of the band to fit the bezel I anneal the Argentium so
when I solder the bezel in the shank does not relax and pull away from
the bezel. I have found Argentium needs less annealing than sterling.

all the best
Richard