This is for Peter Johns - email address keeps bouncing back as
My name is Peter Johns and I am the inventor of Argentium Silver.
Please may I ask you to tell me about your experience soldering
Argentium. My interest is to understand why you are uneasy about
soldering Argentium and hopefully, find a solution that will
overcome any problems you are experiencing.Argentium solders have
recently changed because they are now made by a new manufacturer.
Would it please be possible for you to tell me approximately when
and from which company, you purchased the solders you are currently
using. I would also be interested to know which flux you use for
Sorry I did not get back to you sooner, but was away teaching. I’ve
been a metalsmith for 27 years, so I am kind of set in my ways in
soldering, fabrication and working in general. I tend to specialize
in complicated joints in very sculptural 3-D forms, and it’s very
tough to get all of the multiple pieces completely supported just to
solder one joint.
Earrings are tricky, for the construction I found to work best is to
hang the straight earwire in a third hand, and then quickly solder
the retaining bead to the earwire with x-easy solder. Everytime I
try to use Argentium wire, the wire breaks, and the solder hasn’t
flowed yet. Therefore I get frustrated trying to keep the Argentium
from drooping or breaking on a very sculptural piece. It is very
hard to support the entire piece completely, just to do one or two
I use mostly Dandix or Grifflux, for it works better for me but
right now I’m using Ultra Flux from Contenti. I prefer to use Rio
Grande silver wire solder, but will use Indian Jewelry Supply silver
wire solder, med/hard wire solder from Contenti or Stuller. I do not
like Hoover and Strong solder - too stiff and muddy while flowing. I
only flux the areas I will be soldering and then either stick solder
my joints or use a tiny piece with the soldering pick method. I do
not use silver sheet solder unless I have no choice but use it.
When I first worked with Argentium, it was for a 32 piece flatware
set for a client, and each utensil had 17 solder joints. I learned
after the first joint breakage not to touch the silver while and
I was using regular silver solder for the flatware, but bought
Argentium solder afterwards. Curiously, I was able to solder
Argentium with regular hard solder with no problems and still do
that occasionally. Since I tweak my pieces so much during soldering,
for I’m always improvising my support methods, it is tough for me
just put the solder on, melt the solder, turn off torch and back
away from the Argentium for a little while till it’s cool. That’s
why I have a love/hate relationship with Argentium. I love to braze,
and will do as many as 20-60 solder joints on a single piece of
jewelry. I did find the Argentium solder much darker in color when I
first got it 5 years ago but since then, I haven’t ordered any more
Asolder, so I don’t know how it works now.
However, on the positive side, Argentium is superior for knitting
wire. The chains are silky smooth, supple, and have none of the
grittiness fine silver tend to get from the knitting process. I’ve
stopped using fine silver in knitting and use 24g to 28g. Argentium.
I’ve been told and warned to only use Argentium from Rio Grande, for
other companies’ alloys don’t fuse quite right or work right from
Metalwerx in Waltham, MA and other jewelers. Therefore, I use Rio
Grande for my Argentium orders, and Stuller for all of my regular
sterling, fine silver and gold stock.