Unusually white sterling

Hello Everyone,

I attended the AGTA show in Tucson this year and came upon a vendor
that had some gorgeous sterling silver cuffs. They were
exceptionally white. I commented to the vendor that they looked like
they were pure silver and he said, “no”, that they were simply
sterling silver.

They didn’t appear to me to be rhodium plated. I didn’t want to be
rude and ask how they brought the sterling to such a whitish color,
so I admired them and then moved on.

I can’t get the color out of my mind, it was so gorgeous.

Does anyone know how this is accomplished? Could it be depletion
gilding, or a variation?

Thank you.
Vicki S.

Are you the Vicki Sedman with whom I worked for nearly 20 years? I
have been watching ever since. Regards, Frank

Hi all

if white not sterling unless scratch brushed. Sterling is NOT white.
He was probably using Argentium and not saying so.

all the best

Hi Vicki

can you remember the company that you saw this white silver with?
that would be a start to help inform us. and next question is, what
kind of White? can you define it with out driving yourself crazy. as
in was it a pearly white, white like a sea shell? or white like shiny
stainless or Aluminum, a mirror like. was the surface textured ? fine
or rough ? or polished, satin? how big were the pieces? all these
minor detail will help get to a some what an informed answer. Hratch

Atelier Hratch

Sterling with NO fire scale would be quite white. Since a lot of the
sterling sheet we buy actually has fire scale already in it, many of
us may not be used to seeing real (clean) sterling! If the band was
heated a lot during the making of it (and then cleaned in pickle), it
actually does get blanched (like depletion gilding, but for silver),
even though one may not have been doing that intentionally. This is
especially true if the piece is not protected while heating (e. g.,
with boric acid), as the copper on the surface will keep oxidizing
and getting removed by the acid (pickle), sometimes to the point of
leaving a surface that does not tarnish at all when heating!

Janet in Jerusalem

Hi all

perhaps it is silver plated a lot of commercial sterling has a
plating to hide the firescale.

Or it could have been “bombed” an old and very dangerous technique,
hot acid bath? Or it could be Argentium, whitest precious metal of
all and no firescale. Also Argentium is very slow to tarnish.

all the best