Sterling alloy S57 NA reviews

Hi Everyone,

I’m thinking of buy some alloy from United PMR and was wondering
what people thought of their alloy

for Sterling S 57 Na which I think is a DE ox containing Germanium.
I would like to have alloy that prevents

fire scale and still works like traditional Sterling, that is
alloyed with copper. Some feedback would help.

Jim Zimmerman

In my studio, I have gotten almost all my students to give up using
traditional copper-alloyed sterling. Far too many problems from fire
scale to tarnish issues. The S57NA sterling is just a much superior
all around sterling in every way. I don’t know why anyone would
continue to use copper alloyed sterling. Yes, the S57NA does contain
germanium, which I understand from interviewing the United’s
metallurgist, but in smaller quantities than Argentium. My
understanding is that the S57NA affords the fire scale and tarnish
protection, but with better working characteristics.

What you are going to see is that the major refiners will now be
switching over from copper alloyed sterling to the new S57 NA alloy
in their sterling mill products. United Metals already has made the

Try out the S57NA alloyed sterling and report back on Orchid how you
like working with it.


hello All, thanks Jay for having the alloy introduced to the group
backa few years. been using the S57 alloy of united metals, since
2008-09, it is Superior to the traditional sterling in many ways,
the lack of or small amount of fire scale at the end off the working
process is great, it also has a nice white color, the fact that It
stays tarnish free for months on end, in a tray out in the open, in
north eastern (USA) atmosphere, it fabricates similarly to
traditional sterling, the cast detail is very fine, the only issue I
have with it is the hardness of the metal straight out of fabrication
or cast or annealing, almost equal to fine silver, it does work
harden, and you can heat harden it too. the other nice thing about it
is it also takes a patina (black/liver sulpher) if i needed to,
although I usually plan ahead and make things out of sterling regular
if i know the peice is going to take an oxidation. so over all it has
been a much better working alloy then the traditional sterling.
although I have not tried on very large hollow ware or flatware, I
assume it will be fine given the thicknesses i use to produce these
pieces, I can easily work harden them. My next trials are going to be
the ABI Platinum sterling alloys, which i started playing with
encouraged by my Philadelphia caster Larry Paul, there is a learning
curve there, since ABI recommends using 10k white solders to
fabricate the alloy with, it is a higher priced metal then sterling
but probably will find it’s niche soon, since it’s anti tarnish
properties are pretty high. and it’s Branding is connected to

Hratch Babikian

Try out the S57NA alloyed sterling and report back on Orchid how
you like working with it. 

Where can we do buy them, I like to try it, thank you for info.

Dear all,

Here is another opinion.

I have bee using the Sterling DE -OX # S88 since it was introduced
in the late 70’s. United Precious Metals will sell you either the
sterling premixed or the alloy used to make it yourself.

I buy the alloy at this point because I can save a bit my using and
making what I need. I also can get a little better price on silver by
buying old one oz pure silver coins in beat up shape.

What I like about it are the following:

No tarnish

Can be recast time after time with either new or all old material.

Can be mixed with other sterling silvers which adds the anti tarnish
property to your piece

Don’t have to worry about overheating.

Casts filigree excellently

Cast heavy weight 2 oz superbowl style rings excellently

You can make it yourself without a refinery.

Best casting sterling I have used.

Fabricated well, but need to be annealed a bit more than traditional
sterling. But the no firescale part is the best!

What I don’t like about it:

Antique will ultrasonic and steam off. There is not a real good
antique for the stuff.

Can be brittle if not quenched properly after casting.

When fabricating the key here is to recognize when you need to
anneal before you have a problem

Best regards,

Todd Hawkinson
Southeast Technical College


Glad you like the S88 alloy. I used it for years when I taught at
UCSD. However, because of a recommendation from another jeweler, I
tried out the S57NA sterling alloy, and I now prefer it over the S88.
You might want to give it a try. As far as oxidation is concerned,
the S88 or S57 NA alloyed sterlings will both take a dark oxidation,
but you are right, the steamer or ultrasonic cleaner do tend to
diminish or even remove the oxidation. We just avoid the ultrasonic
and steam on oxidized pieces, and resort to brushing with a soft
toothbrush and hot ultrasonic solution to get polish off oxidized
sterling pieces. I love pulling pieces of freshly cast S57NA sterling
out of the investment bucket, and finding them so bright they don’t
even need to go into the pickle! A time saver, to be sure.

Jay Whaley


Have you tried the Stuller Sterlium Plus Silver?

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold

I’ve not tried this sterling alloy S57 NA, but I have tried working
with Sterlium from Stuller. Unfortunately, it comes in a very
limited gauge range, so all I have done is to knit triple strand of
28g. sterlium wire into neckchains. By mistake, I ended up using
Argentium sterling to finish the knitted chain, and there was a clear
color difference. The sterlium ended up tarnishing to a brownish
color, so I had the entire chain 18kt goldplated. Now, I have to cap
it and finish it. The moral of story is, yes, there is a color
difference, and I found the Sterlium to be more springy, and not as
soft as I was used to. If Stuller can increase the wire gauge size
beyond 28g and 30g., I would like to try it out more. Still not
loving Argentium sterling, but trying to. It’s the soldering that I
have to retrain myself that is the issue.


Hi Joy,

Still not loving Argentium sterling, but trying to. It's the
soldering that I have to retrain myself that is the issue. 

One good thing about learning how to be comfortable soldering
Argentium Sterling is that then you will know how to solder gold!
Gold is very similar in how it handles heat, so the soldering
techniques are very similar.

Cynthia Eid

This is for Peter Johns - email address keeps bouncing back as

Hi Peter

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
after soldering.

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.