I agree with most all said about “silicon sterling” that my friend
and compatriot Eddie Bell had to say about the subject. His breadth
of knowledge on casting and metallurgy sometimes takes my breath
It really all depends on exactly which silicon sterling you are
using. Much of the silicon additives in silver “anti-tarnish” alloys
(known as deox alloys, of which there are many companies that
produce these) are in minute quantities, as it should be. Too much
silicon in these alloys can cause more problems than they solve, ie:
And as a footnote…comparing silicon bronze to silicon sterling is
like comparing dragonfruit to mangos. Silicon bronze contains up to
95% Cu, and as Eddie so aptly described…silicon loves to mix
with copper, but hates to mix with an overabundance of silver. So
always try to check the % of silicon in the silver alloys you select
and choose one with the smallest of amounts of it.
The point I do not agree with Eddie on is on Argentium. A year or so
before Argentium hit the market, I experimented in my lab at
ABI-California with adding Ge to our Sterilite deox alloys. I hated
the way it cast, did not like the variety of added fabricating and
casting problerms it brought (many of which have been seen on this
Forum), and now…in subsequent tests done in 2 metallurgical labs
in the States…it has been found that it’s hardness is only
equal to the best “deox” sterlings and it’s tarnish resistance is
not much better than that…while the castability of the other
deoxs’ remains better than Argentium.
It seems to be fine for the small user where the problems can be
fixed easily…but in the large production shops I go to every day
in China and in Thailand, its’ use is non-existant. In the year I
have been here, there is only 1 major shop I have seen using it in
the Far East for production. The problems associated with Argentium
are easily dealt with on a piece by piece basis by the
artisan…but on a large scale basis, these problems cannot be
dealt with in a financially viable manner.
Thanks as always, Eddie, for your contribution to the knowledge of
the masses. You have my utmost respect.
Marc “Doc” Robinson
ABI Asia, Ltd.
Marc “Doc” Robinson
ABI Precious Metals Asia, Ltd.