I was lucky enough to do a workshop with Cynthia Eid earlier this
year, where she introduced us to Argentium.
I love the stuff - it really is like mithral from LOTR :)
It was so nice to work with, I've been hanging out for it to appear
on A&E'ssite :)
BUT - & this is an important but - it does differ to sterling when
you workit in a few ways. There's a nice blurb on working with
Argentium both here on Orchid, & also on the Rio Grande site
Cindy also didan article in the September 2006 ed of Art Jewelry mag.
I think a few early adopters got annoyed with it because they
treated it like normal 925 & it got horribly brittle or slumped.
A few key points:
- gauge annealing by marking it with a black Sharpie (& yes, it HAS
to be the Sharpie brand & it has to be black ink) & when the mark
fades, it's annealed. If you anneal it like normal 925 (either by
colour change or flux change) you'll overcook it & it will be
- WAIT to quench it - it retains heat much longer than normal 925
- use liquid flux, not paste
- it does not conduct heat like normal sterling. When soldering, it
behaves more like gold. So after a quick warm up, focus on the join.
- it is fragile when red hot, so ensure any sheet is adequately
supported, &don't go prodding & poking with your solder pick - set
it up with binding wire etc instead.
- it needs contact with air to develop the protective germanium
Check out the pdf at Rio Grande (it's written by Cindy) for lots
I thinks it's a gorgeous metal. It does get the surface cupric oxide
(CuO) but pickle removes this no dramas. But, oh joy of joys, no
cuprous oxide (Cu2O) - as long as you don't inadvertently do
something to prevent the protective germanium oxide layer forming e.
g. enclosing it when heat hardening.
And it fuses AND granulates like a dream!!!