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Silver and copper rings may not be such a good idea


#1

I just posted on my Orchid blog some images of what happens to
copper and silver rings when exposed to sweat. you might find it
interesting.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zsa

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#2
I just posted on my Orchid blog some images of what happens to
copper and silver rings when exposed to sweat. you might find it
interesting. http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zsa 

Amazing… CIA


#3

Hello James,

I know about this fact but I did not know that metals can be
attacked so severe! I’m very amazed by your results. Never had thought
that the outcome could be so destructive and pronounced. This blows me
out of my socks… completly.

Now, my question is, are you going to stop producing the combination
of metals (with copper or more detailed with silver and copper i.e.
shibuishi) or not?

Don’t understand me wrong here, I admire your work and your
creativity. I know that you put lots of labor in your products and
this result can be very destructive for your company. I’m wondering
how much impact this fact will have to your business?

Thank you for taking the time and completing the research. I need to
do some thinking about my productline, that is a fact.

Have fun and enjoy
Pedro


#4

Thanks so much for posting this. Ever since you first informed us of
the galvanic reaction I have been trying to spread the word
(unfortunately, mostly to no avail). Just about everybody assumes
that a liner will solve the problem. It’s very frustrating.

Debby


#5
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zsa 

Always looking for color, and something new in my jewelry mix I
started using copper/silver mokume gane not long after Reactive
Metals made the metal so easily available. Not being able to keep the
copper from coloring my customers fingers kept me from making rings
such as the one in your experiment, but I used it as accents for over
a decade. I have tried to run back thru some of the pieces in my
mind, going to the shop to look at my pics, but I think I lucked out.
Thanks for making this available for us all to see. Thomas III


#6

Did I miss something? I read James’ posting to be about rings, not
brooches or pendants or even bracelets that would not be worn nearly
as often as rings next to skin.

Barbara, now questioning her memory


#7
Now, my question is, are you going to stop producing the
combination of metals (with copper or more detailed with silver and
copper i.e. shibuishi) or not? 

Because of this issue I have not sold rings with copper alloys in
them for more than a decade now. I still use them to work out
patterns but that is it.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#8
Always looking for color, and something new in my jewelry mix I
started using copper/silver mokume gane not long after Reactive
Metals made the metal so easily available. Not being able to keep
the copper from coloring my customers fingers kept me from making
rings such as the one in your experiment, but I used it as accents
for over a decade. I have tried to run back thru some of the
pieces in my mind, going to the shop to look at my pics, but I
think I lucked out. Thanks for making this available for us all to
see. 

Rings are the main culprit here other jewelry just doesn’t get wet
often enough for this to be an issue. You must have an electrolyte
for this corrosion to occur so as long as the work stays dry not a
problem. But hands with rings on get washed many times a day
(hopefully) rings are worn in the shower, bath, pool, etc.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#9

A small question, was the silver/copper ring in your pictures
actually worn by someone? or just a test piece?

I too made many hundreds of items from mixed colour metals, mainly 3
colour bronzes, and can also confirm that copper and silver didnt
last long in ring form. Whichever it was, can you recall the time it
took to go from new to falling apart? Having spent my 1st 7 yrs doing
mainly enamelling, it would be interesting to fill with enamel when
the ring was eroded down say 1.5mm.

Tho enamel on rings is also a problem area.

My experience of people and fragile rings goes back a long way. Not a
very practical combination.

On the link you list your experiments with titanium.

I finished up by going down the argon shielded arc route for
production joining, as I also used it on some of the stainless alloy
work I was doing.

Well worth the investment, as it open the door to so many new ideas
and subsequent product lines.

The “dark ages” range of bracelets and rings were made from
stainless steel argon arc assembled then polished and fire oxidised.

Really looked the part and were superb to wear.

No corrosion or colouring of the skin despite hardwear.

Contrary to most gold and silver smiths, I dont work to comission
having a large product range covering the main historical periods.

Tho during the past 6 to 7 yrs have been drawn more into engineering
consultancy work.

I said to a customer last week a problem a day keeps altzheimers
away. Always too much to do.!!

Ted


#10

RaceCar Jewelry co. now has a process for coating silver, copper or
any kind of jewelry so that is does not tarnish. Rings obviously are
the worst since they are directly on the skin.

We recently built this system to handle issues of corrosion and
tarnishing on the many types of inexpensive metals we also cast in.
First we plate something we call e-coating on to the jewelry, then
it is baked on at450 oF. This really makes the surface tough and
resilient. We currently do this for our casting customers in
quantities of 25 pieces of the same thing at a time. Smaller
quantities are also possible.Cost are reasonable.

We can also flash coat Rhodium and gold plate before using the
e-coat process.

If anyone needs this service, please contact us through our website
or our ad on Ganoksin.

We are now offering many more services such as one off rapid
prototyping with casting in gold and platinum.

Daniel Grandi
http://www.racecarjewelry.com


#11

James,

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zsa 

Thanks so much for posting this. One of my students has been trying
to work out a design for a ring for one of her friends using copper
and silver together. So now we are just a little more informed and
this is something I won’t forget.

Lona Northener


#12
A small question, was the silver/copper ring in your pictures
actually worn by someone? or just a test piece? 

It was a patterning experiment with no wear. So just a test piece.
But the ring that is the last image in the post is one that was
actually worn and the damage you see there is from about 3 years of
wear.

I too made many hundreds of items from mixed colour metals, mainly
3 colour bronzes, and can also confirm that copper and silver didnt
last long in ring form. Whichever it was, can you recall the time
it took to go from new to falling apart? Having spent my 1st 7 yrs
doing mainly enamelling, it would be interesting to fill with
enamel when the ring was eroded down say 1.5mm. 

For the test ring it was only ten days in the sweat solution.

On the link you list your experiments with titanium. I finished up
by going down the argon shielded arc route for production joining,
as I also used it on some of the stainless alloy work I was doing. 

That post was just to see if one could do torch work on Ti. For real
Ti work I have an argon filled glove box designed for TIG welding on
exotic metals like Ti, Nb, Ta etc. in it I can weld Ti and get no
discoloration anywhere on the part. It is a very nice toy but not
really practical. I bought it on Ebay and it cost more to ship than I
paid for it but I then spent close to $15K to repair and refurbish it
and its associated instrumentation.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#13

What about using silver solder with copper rings?

Esta Jo Schifter, just back from a fabulous trip to Israel with OAT
Shifting Metal
www.shiftingmetal.com


#14

Fascinating that they etch so deeply after such a short period of
time. I think it answers a question that has been puzzled over by
archaeologists for ages now and that is how did the romans make
their debased silver coinage. The end result is well documented, the
25% silver 75% copper coin blanks were etched to leave a proud silver
surface and then the coins were struck so you only see silver on the
coin faces. After a while the thin silver layer wears enough to
expose the copper rich metal and the coin becomes discoloured. It was
thought that the etching was done with lemon or orange juice but salt
solution now looks more likely.

The debased silver coins of Henry VIII in england earned him the
nickname coppernob, nob meaning nose. As the coins wore the copper
became exposed on the highest points which included his nose on the
heads side.

Nick Royall


#15

I just received a link from someone on FaceBook that shows this is
not just a jewelry problem. Apparently it also is a big problem with
silver plated copper wire in high reliability missile and space
systems. They call it Red Plague.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep7zsd [pdf file]

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#16

Thanks for all the

Questions answered!!

One of the modern inverter sets will do almost the same job for a
great deal less.

We have one here.

Tho my 1st tig set was an old BOC christmas tree set, No electronics
but worked well.

Circa 1955.

I too have equipment that seemed at the time a direction in which to
go, thats now sitting unused for various reasons.!

However, I dusted downa couple of weeks ago, a dental mechanics spot
welder I found somewhere, cant remember where, to do a job filling in
a groove worn in a register plate that goes into a card reader in a
NCR cash machine.

I spot welded in some stainless wire that was the same dia as the
groove then levelled it off perfect repair.

Saved the customer a small fortune.

Its so important to keep the customer thinking that Ted’s the person
to always call when something needs fixing.

Im here to save you money is always my parting line when leaving
their factory.

Mind you I do have to deliver!!.


#17
What about using silver solder with copper rings? 

Same problem but one of the variables is the surface area ratio
between the metals. The smaller silver area in relation to the
copper will generate less current so a slower corrosion rate for the
copper.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#18

Hello James,

The galvanic action also creates problems for plumbers who join
copper water lines to iron-based fittings. At least that happened
when a new electric water heater was installed in a remodel at my
home. I forget how the problem was solved, but some sort of collar
was then inserted between the two pipes.

Judy in Kansas, who just returned from a trip to CO and found the
weather there about the same as here! NO natural snow to speak of.
The drought continues.


#19
The galvanic action also creates problems for plumbers who join
copper water lines to iron-based fittings. At least that happened
when a new electric water heater was installed in a remodel at my
home. I forget how the problem was solved, but some sort of collar
was then inserted between the two pipes. 

It is called a dielectric union. it puts a piece of plastic between
the iron pipe and the copper. If the two metals are not touching
each other, then no galvanic corrosion.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#20

Wow. Thanks for the info. I have been making rings of sterling
silver and copper, so this concerns me greatly, and I have a couple
of followup questions.

This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make rings of sterling silver, does
it? I certainly hope not.

In my case the copper is in the form of appliques on the outer
surface, so presumably if the copper corrodes the structure of the
rings will not be compromised. However, they could end up looking
ugly. And of course if the silver starts getting eaten away. not so
good. But also, I’m guessing the fact that the copper is not touching
the skin and will not be directly exposed to sweat (unless the wearer
sweats profusely) would make some difference. Can anyone comment on
that point?

Also, James Binnion, this sentence from your blog post is a bit hard
to

When you join two metals together in a ring beyond your aesthetic
creation you also create 
 something that under the right circumstances can destroy all your
work. 

I think I know what you mean, but maybe a bit more punctuation would
help?