I've been having some problems with Argentium and I wondered if
anyone could shed some light on the situation. ...
FWIW I've given some thought to the problems you've reported and I
think I might have some insights that could help.
Because of it's length (900 words) I've posted the details on my blog
under the title "Discoloration issues?" (see
) however the jist
of it is this:
- under normal circumstances Argentium Sterling (AS) should not, and
in my experience does not, do what you've seen it do. Yet at least
one other person has seen something similar. So what's up?
- certain things about AS make it different from regular sterling
--oxygen is _good_ for AS for instance-- and that requires us to
change our procedures a little. Not a lot, but a little.
- in general we have no idea if our suppliers have heated the AS in
an oxygen rich environment (like our atmosphere) or not. But it
should be in order to get the germanium oxide on the surface since
that's what provides the firescale and tarnish protection. Given
that, it's up to us as makers to see that that step is done.
Fortunately it's simple to do so no worries, but it does need to be
- the less copper AS sees the better. Clean firebricks and clean
buffs are good for AS. "Clean" to me more or less means "never seen
copper or copper alloys", other than AS itself of course. This may
be a bit dogmatic but it's easy to remember. :)
- to get that germanium oxide layer we have several options including
torch annealing, precipitation hardening and/or the "activation" step
of baking it for 20 minutes at 120 C (250 F) in a clean oven.
I've heard from at least person that they had no idea of the need to
follow these procedures, particularly the need to "raise" the
germanium oxide, and that's what's got me thinking that a little TLC
may eliminate these troublesome issues. Compared to some of the
"special procedures" that other alloys require of us I'd say that
this is not a big deal, assuming of course that it helps.
As mentioned, and FWIW, I go into greater detail on these things in
the blog for those who might be interested.
in The City of Light