Hi Nan and all,
I have used ABI’s Sterlite casting grain for many years in high
volume castings with much success! I have also used Argen’s version
of the tarnish-resistant casting grain with the same success but I
have never used Argentium (yet) to compare it to.
I will tell you my experiences with the tarnish-resistant casting
grains is quite good. I don’t think there are other raw materials
available such as the sheet and wire as mentioned, but you could
certainly call them and find out. I do know that Argen only
supplies the casting grain. There are not any solders available, I
have always used traditional sterling solder with normal results,
soldering with tarnish-resistant products is the same as soldering
with sterling products, in my experience.
The only thing that I had found to be unique about the metal
properties of the Sterilite and my other Argen brand
tarnish-resistant silver was the castings come out really soft,
super-annealed in a lot of cases, despite a 20 min. cooling of the
flask prior to quenching. I cast 4x8 flasks of usually 100+ parts
so 20 min. is required for these large flasks, the time could
differ based on different flasks sizes. I believe the reason for
this is due to the high content of zinc in the metal as alloy for
the tarnish-resistant property.
I have spoken with Peter Keddy at ABI and he explained how the
castings could be heat-hardened in a kiln to remedy this problem.
The beauty of casting with the Sterilite is the castings DO come out
bright white, firescale free every time, no pickling required! We
just clip and tumble finish most of our parts and they look
fantastic! And yes, they are quite tarnish-resistant, I know there
are many silver jewelry manufacturers in warm, humid climates like
Hawaii that love this product. I know I do, I met ABI reps at an
MJSA Expo also years ago, their product is everything they say it
is and more.
I am not affiliated with either of these companies other than as a
happy customer. All the best, Sara
Sara D. Grinnell
Studio C Designs
C&L Gems LLC
Minneapolis, MN USA