I was wondering everyone’s opinion on using silver that is 95% pure compared to the usual 92.5% in sterling. I would like to use it for the purpose of reducing fire scale and having a brighter product, not for tarnish resistance per se but for an all around better silver alloy. Would it be noticeably softer for example? Noticeably whiter? Or noticeably more resistant to fire scale? All these are things I would like to know before using .950 silver over 0.925.
Just my thoughts. I’ve never used .95 so am certainly not speaking with any prior knowledge. But … it still has copper in the alloy, and I’d wager you are still going to get fire scale. Maybe less, but I figure it will have the same issues as standard sterling. In my experience, you can do whatever you want - flame control, Cuprinol (preps, fire scoff, borax in alcohol, et al) and you will still get fire scale. I hate firescale. If you are eager to move to a “better” silver alloy as relates to fire scale consider one of the platinum group/silver ones like continuum or sterlium … never used them, but Jo and others have considerable experience with them. I use Argentium because of the fire scale resistance, ease of fusing, low heat transfer, ability to heat-treat without fire scale, … only the hot short thing SUCKS.
Since I started using cupronil I haven’t had Firestain in years. Firescale is not a problem it comes of in the pickle.
Well … I ain’t no chemist. But, fire scale is that crap on the outside, and fire stain is that mess on the inside that occurs when you heat silver and it fire stains - cuprous vs cupric oxide. You can take fire scale off easily with pickle. You can’t take fire stain off with pickle. I might seem you are taking it off. You might get a nice depletion layer of fine silver. Its there. One can have limited success with the ceramics like cuprinol, fire scoff etc … not much better than Prips flux in my mind which is the standard. Its still there. Flame control helps. Getting in fast and hot helps. But nothing prevents fire stain totally. Not Prips, not borax, not commercial ceramics. No barrier flux is that perfect. No … fire stain does not come off in the pickle.
In Israel, filigree is traditionally done with 960 wire. When you anneal it, it gets nice and white. Yes, it’s noticeably softer. Yes, it’s noticeably whiter. No fire scale at all.
960 silver compared to 925 is rather like 18K yellow gold compared to 14K yellow.gold.
Janet in Jerusalem
Is .960 silver significantly harder than .999 fine silver? Does it still blacken when heated to solder it, or to anneal it?
Let’s just say 960 is significantly softer than sterling. It’s quite similar to standard 18K yellow gold. As I wrote above, it turns white–not black–upon annealing. Areas to be soldered should never turn black with any material if properly fluxed.
Janet in Jerusalem
Thanks for the reply, I’ll keep that in mind when using it.
Thanks for all the info Janet. I have one more question for you, do you notice it tarnishes any slower than regular sterling?
Why do you not just use argentium? It is whiter than sterling and does not get firescale. Just pickle. It tarnishes much slower than sterling and cleans up with Windex. And since it fuses, no solder is needed
Tarnish! God I hate that! You all talked about different purity of silver. Let me introduce the wearer factor. On me, the only silver chain that doesn’t tarnish, is the.999 pure silver. Everything else goes black in a few days or even in few hours. As of fire scale or fire stain I experienced my best results with hot and quick solder.