I've used Argentium ( which used to be known in England where it was
invented, as germanium, and BSS,bright sterling silver, until the
baby was finally christened Argentium), for a small number of
silversmithing pieces. It is brilliant and no it doesn't tarnish
nor, for the most part, does it get firestain. I had some castings
made by a Finnish supplier which disappointingly did have fire in
them but that was a few years ago. For a long time it seems the
alloy formulation was being tweaked but by now it must be perfected,
especially since I see it is now being marketed abroad. I strongly
advise reading the published sheet on its working properties which
is on the website (I forget the exact address but its there
somewhere) namely not to push it about when red hot as it can
crumble, and to keep separate soldering blocks and polishing
materials for use with it, as contact with other metals interferes
with its tarnish resistance. There are some low temp solders for use
with it but they don't meet hallmarking standards in England so we
use medium and easy solders mostly, and hard solder very judiciously
as it is close to Argentium melting point.
Peter Johns, the inventor of it, explains all the technicalities in
the paper and is a very helpful guy. He has also recently offered
here on orchid his email address for inquiries and I'm sure is keen
to help and justifiably, promote wider use of his invention. It
would be great to have a wider pool of knowledge based on more
user's varied experiences.
I don't know why there is such resistance to using it here. I
tailed-off my use of it because of the odd technical problem with
the alloy mix, not being able to find polishers who would invest in
separate mops and polish, and because clients said they preferred
ordinary sterling when given the choice. Why anyone wants the
drudgery of polishing silver is beyond me. I'm sure it would
revolutionise the industry for makers and buyers if it were marketed
properly. People are suspicious that somehow it isn't "real" silver.
Unfortunately in England where I am, there is no separate hallmark
for it yet so it is marked the same as standard sterling.
Oh, by the way, be sure to keep it well separated from your stock of
standard sterling as it is very, very hard to tell the difference. I
have a feeling that the last teapot I made might have a curiously
untarnishing spout down the road a ways....
If you want to email me, I'll try to help with more details if I
can. Mention orchid in the subject box or it may end up in my junk