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Some questions regarding argentium


#1

Hi all

we now have Argentium in Australia. Some questions.

Is it firescale free?
Is it good for bezels?
Can it be reticulated?
Is is good for holloware?
Where can I buy the Argentium stamp in Australia?
A flying unicorn is so cool.

All the best
Richard


#2

Hi Richard,

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 :slight_smile:

It was so nice to work with, I’ve been hanging out for it to appear
on A&E’ssite :slight_smile:

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

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/ep81bv

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
    horribly brittle

  • 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
    oxide layer.

Check out the pdf at Rio Grande (it’s written by Cindy) for lots
more info.

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!!!

Enjoy :slight_smile:


#3

Not at all familiar with your “turf”, I am in Northern Wisconsin,
USA (think frozen tundra/Green Bay Packers) so no clue as to who
sells down under. I think, based on your posts, that you will love
this metal. It works beautifully and you will not get fire-scale
associted with traditional sterling.

One needs to “relearn” a bit as it can slump at times and clamping
in a third hand, or similar can be problematic as it can be brittle
at soldering temps. It fuses beautifully and works like
regularcsterling for the most part. I know you will get input from
those more knowldgeable, but I love this metal.

Also. Thanks for your posts. Always enjoyable. I like the "attitude"
and edge! Sound like the kind of person that I would enjoy a beer
(or six) with! And. yes, your work with underprivildged children is
most heartening, it is the measure of civility as most are written
off as not worthy. I taught 13 years in a Residential treatment
center, worst of the worst, with no regrets.


#4

Hi all

I am waiting for my Argentium, but I will just make some comfort fit
round rings and some mobius rings.

Will try fusing and if that fails will use Argentium easy solder.

I have heard a lot of negatives about working Argentium. Note not
from silversmiths but hobby people and goldsmiths.

Goldsmiths go in hot and fast, no firescale.

Silversmiths tell me it can be a steep learning curve but not
impossible and with practise easier than sterling and superior in
every way.

Silversmithing is gentle/subtle when fabricating to avoid firescale
as much as possible. I use my torch on silver like a paint brush.

If you have been trained to work silver you can easily work high
karat gold alloys with just a little change in the size of solder
pieces. But if you have been trained to work in gold it is not as
easy to swap to silver. This is why it is good to be trained in both
metals.

Now some who work in gold look down on silversmiths because it is a
less expensive metal. Seems strange to me both metals are unique in
their own way. In ancient Egypt silver was much more valuable than
gold as it was rarer. Poor babies so much gold to play with.

If you think you are superior because you “only” work gold two words
Georg Jensen LOL. Actually one word will do “Torun” my favourite
designer of all time the skill, quality and out look on the
universe.

I like the challenge of silver but also like very much to work in 18
kt yellow.

Then we have those who work in the most amazing metals, Titanium is
way far cool and those Japanese alloys are really cool too too few
hours to play with them all.

All the best
Richard