g’day My apologies in advance to all of you out there who know all
this stuff, but it seems necessary to repeat it at regular intervals.
Most of the text below is an extract from “AN INTRODUCTION TO
ENAMELLING - Enamelling common silver and gold alloys” an article in
eNAMEL Online Newsletter. There is a link to the full article at the
bottom of this page.
“Sterling is the alloy most commonly used in jewellery making and
silversmithing” (Tim Mc Creight). Sterling silver is an alloy of
925 parts of pure silver with 75 parts of pure copper - this
relatively small (7.5%) addition of copper gives silver, which is
soft and malleable after annealing in the pure or `fine’ state, a
hardness and rigidity which allows it to resist wear and deformation
in functional items such as hollow-ware and jewellery.
After vitreous enamelling 999 fine silver ( unlike Sterling silver
) is “dead soft”, very easily damaged or deformed, and so of little
use as a structural metal in most functional lewellery.
Sterling silver is an excellent casting alloy … it’s essential
for successful enamelling of castings in any sort of gold or silver
that they be of the highest possible quality in every respect. The
casting is best performed by professionals using best-practise
techniques and technology, not your mate down the street with a box
of cuttlebone and an oxy-acetylene torch - unless you don’t mind
ending up with a bunch of expensive fishing sinkers for the kids!
It’s also helpful if the person doing the enamelling has at least a
working knowledge of the craft. :<D
Sterling silver castings have been successfully (and beautifully )
enamelled, often in large numbers, since the alloy first appeared!
It is neither difficult nor particularly time-consuming to do so.
All the items on this page:
cast and/or cast and then fabricated standard Sterling silver.
So … don’t use deoxidised or grain-refined 925 silver (or for
that matter, gold) alloys in your castings if you wish to enamel them
- just use ordinary common or garden Sterling silver and simple
binary or ternary gold alloys.