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[Source] Pink silver wire


#1

Hi All,

HELP!!! I think I’ve called every place possible to find pink silver
wire & sheet. I’ve been casting some pieces with the new alloy and
the product is great, people love it but it’s really limited as to
what I can do after casting. I can’t even make a silly jump ring let
alone any sort of bezel or chain! I’ve even asked the refiners/mill
houses if they would just pour an ingot in their controlled
environment and I would mill it myself. I thought of just ordering
the grain and making my own, but am hesitant to take the time
knowing what a waste of time it is to make your own silver wire,
because of all the things that go wrong when you don’t have an
oxygen/temp. controlled melting environment. Does anyone out there
have any experience with this?? OR better yet, does anyone know where
I can get it already made??

Thank You Richard for your suggestion for Hoover & Strong, I checked
into their product and it’s a reduced gold alloy making it quite
spendy. One of the reasons I started using the pink silver was as an
alternative to rose gold for those who could not pay the hefty gold
prices. I may have to use this for some basic things if my search
comes up empty.

While I totally love and embrace the new products that are coming to
market, my beef with the companies that come out with new products
as an artist is this…Don’t give me a new material to work with and
not provide more than one vehicle of expression!! i.e…Casting
grain & no wire or sheet. They say they want to see how popular it is
before moving forward but at the VERY LEAST for the Love of
God…make some bloody wire!! What are you supposed to do for a
simple jump ring for a pendant, not to mention sizing a ring???
Seriously folks, in the techie age we’re in and at the lightning
speed that the jewelry industry is evolving, its time we as
professional artisans demand more complete product lines. If you’re
going to create a new product, wouldn’t it make sense to think it
through to the end before wasting you time dipping you toes in the
water? Jump in and swim!! I can see endless possibilities for this
new pink silver yet, am at this point unable to bring my inspiration
to life due to lack of materials!!

Thanks for letting me air my frustrations…Any help would be
greatly appreciated!!!

Kelly


#2

Hi Kelly,

Please pardon me if I have missed some in previous
posts… I have been trying to find out what this pink sterling
actually is and the only reference I can find on it is Hoover and
Strong’s Karatium Pink Sterling. Is this what you are referring to
when you say “pink silver”? It appears from their website they have
both a Karatium Pink Sterling and a Karatium Pink Gold. Which alloy
have you been using and where have you been purchasing it.

Grace


#3

Hi Kelly:

I’m tuning in to this late, so apologies if you’ve already discovered
that this won’t work, but why not just pour up an ingot and draw the
wire yourself? If it’s a gold/silver alloy, it should be easily
ingot- able, and easy to draw. (The gold/titanium alloys, I can see
why they’d be neigh-unto-impossible to ingot yourself, but
gold/silver? Should be a cakewalk.) In your message below, you talk
about a controlled atmosphere for the ingoting, and while this is
certainly desirable, it’s not absolutely required unless there’s
something weirder about this stuff than just a simple gold/silver
alloy. (I suspect there may be, because all the gold/silver alloys
I’ve seen have been silver fading into gold. I haven’t seen any of
them go pink.) If it’s something you can cast without an
inert-atmosphere casting rig, I don’t see how it could be too weird.

As an experiment, try taking a clipped sprue from one of your
castings and see if you can draw that. Sprues are perfect for drawing
wire, and even if this stuff is funky, the sprue was cast (one
assumes) in the proper atmosphere. It’s just a teeny little ingot,
really.

Making your own sheet & wire isn’t a waste of time if it’s the only
way to get what you want.

Regards,
Brian


#4

Hey Kelly, just buy the equipment and make your own it’s easy. I
pour rods and ingots of sterling to make wire or sheet that I don’t
have on hand.

Combination mill, drawplates, reversible ingot mold, some odds and
ends and your good to go. It’s quite a feeling to make sheet or wire
that looks like it just came from a supply house. That being said I
still wouldn’t want to have to make all the wire and sheet I use and
I’m not a professional. If that’s too much for you then try to find a
jeweler who will make some for you or bite the bullet and just wait
until the company produces wire and sheet.

Good luck, Jim


#5

Hoover isn’t the only one on this bandwagon. United Precious Metals
also has a line of light colored silver alloys, containing from 20 to
60 percent silver, depending on color.

http://www.unitedpmr.com/docs/Colored%20silver.pdf

I’d expect that these, as with H&S pink, etc, that these are not
exceptionally fancy alloys. I’m guessing they’re aimed at lower price
points, so most likely don’t have large amounts, if any, of gold, but
rather are alloys based on silver and copper, for the most part. Just
a guess, but it would make sense for that to be true. If it IS true,
by the way, making your own wire would be no more complex than doing
it in silver or gold. If you (Kelly) don’t have the equipment to do
that, any number of other jewelers, perhaps here on Orchid, would no
doubt be happy to be your subcontractors to make your wire for you…

Peter


#6
just buy the equipment and make your own it's easy. I pour rods and
ingots of sterling to make wire or sheet that I don't have on hand.

So far the pink silver has not been identified as sterling silver.
Adding .075 copper alloy to fine silver does not result in pink
silver. United Precious Metals produces the product that Casting
House casts, but we do not know what conditions need to be met for
successful casting of the pink silver. Might need an inert
atmosphere.

Richard Hart G.G.
Jewelers Gallery
Denver, Co.


#7

They are low cost alloys and silver and copper are the main
constituents. But that doesn’t make them easy to roll or draw. As the
copper content goes up the alloy gets harder and much less ductile.
Copper and silver only have limited solubility in each other. When
you exceed that solubility then you end up with a two phase
microstructure where there are silver rich regions and copper rich
regions this non homogeneous microstructure is why sterling is harder
than fine silver. With enough copper to make it pink it is going to
be tough stuff to roll and draw. Not that it cannot be done but it
will not be easy to do. If it requires more labor that defeats the
low cost aspect of it.

Jim

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#8

Hi All,

Thank You all for your input…I do indeed have all of the equipment
(for many years now) to make my own wire and do make the majority of
what I need for my work in gold and platinum. I am a firm believer in
hand making as much of my work as possible. It has been my experience
over many years that when making sterling wire that has been poured
into an ingot using a torch method, usually winds up being an
inferior product…pitting, heavy oxidizing while soldering, not to
mention the rapid rate at which the finished product tarnishes. I’ve
been told by the refiners that by controlling the environment and
temp you achieve a much better product. Also I don’t know how many of
you have actually tried to pull down copper wire, but it breaks
frequently while being drawn and yes I have taken all the proper
steps one should take when drawing wire. Due to the high copper
content in the pink silver I was wondering how much it behaves like
copper. I also suspect that due to the high copper content the
problems that I have had with sterling will only be amplified. In
addition, I buy my silver wire pre-made simply because it’s much
more cost effective for me to buy it pre-made, I feel my time is
better spent in other areas of my business.

As for the reduced gold product from Hoover and Strong, it’s still
pretty spendy compared to silver…Nearly 10x the cost. One of the
main reasons I started using this new medium was so I could pass the
savings to my clients as an alternative to rose gold. The casting
grain I am using is purely silver and copper, no gold, so it doesn’t
make sense to use something different. It comes from United PMR who I
have been working with for over 10 years now. They, at this point
have no plans to add anything to support the new casting grain. They
have done special orders for me in the past with no problem but said
they want to see how popular it is before they add any other
products. This is what frustrates and does not make sense to me. I
have spoken to the floor Mgr. at Hoover and Strong and he seems
willing to help me out and at least give it a try. There is one other
manufacture that looked into it for me but I missed his call so
hopefully, between the two I can get some help.

Thank You for all of your suggestions…
Kelly


#9

I find it odd that you have breakage with drawing down copper wire. I
alter the size of the wire I use all the time by drawing, sometimes
down to some pretty small sizes (24 to 24ga or even smaller) and I
never have breakage. I do confine my lengths to what I can draw in
one pull by standing right up at the vise and taking one smooth step
back. Is it possible that you either have impurities in your copper,
or are trying to draw with more than one “pull” per size? (Which
would put a little “tick” in the wire where you stopped to
reposition, possibly causing a weak spot in the next draw.) Also,
are you trying to draw it down to far before annealing?

I know you were talking about the pink silver, but this got me
wondering.

LJ
Dreaming Dragon Designs


#10

Thanks for the input. Its been quite some time since I have pulled
any copper, but I assure you I do use one continuous pull and anneal
it properly and don’t go too far between pulls.

I was only using it for a short time some years ago when I was
experimenting with it to do weaving. I had quite a bit of larger
material and decided to pull it down instead of buying more.

After all the trouble I had I just bought the size I needed to
finish my project. Not really sure what the problem was.

My suspicion is that since copper is used to make silver harder and
that there is a fair amount in the silver that some of those
problems might exist among others…