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Work harden vs heat harden

Good afternoon,

First off, I would like to say how in depth and how great a source
of Ganoksin is when it comes to the subject of fine
metals and stones. You are the wikipedia of the field!

My 2 questions are mostly relative to Sterling Silver, Argentium and
18k Gold.

I have extensively searched answers for, but without luck, and hope
you can give me indications:

1-Does “heat treating”, meaning by that “heat hardening” result in a
less hard, as hard or harder a metal as “work hardening”?

Which is the process that renders the metal the hardest?

Is this metal specific?

2- Can spring characteristic be induced through any of the heat
treating processes, or would that simply be limited to how hard you
go and the alloys in each base metal?

Thank you again for your help and time!

All the very best,

I am interested in any answers to this question - I’ve wondered the
difference myself.