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