The more you explore the world of metalsmithing, the more options
you will find in the metals you can work with.
Traditional sterling silver is pure silver alloyed with copper, and
it oxidizes naturally or with the help of chemicals. However, there
is no reason you can’t use other metals to combine with the pure
silver. So long as you keep the silver content at 925/1000’s of the
total, you could add whatever you wanted and still call it sterling.
Many refiners around the country have alloys they sell which when
added to pure silver, help it to cast cleaner, tarnish less, or
create less fire scale when heated.
If you are curious, why not alloy your own sterling with different
alloys, and see what works easiest or looks best to you? It’s not
One of my students called a refiner back east to ask about these
various kinds of alloys for silver, and they sent her 3 different
types to try. for free!
Personally, I love the S57NA sterling alloy made by United Precious
Metals in NY. It contains germanium, and really controls tarnishing
and fire scale.
Good luck and have fun!