Argentium Sterling Silver
Argentium sterling silver, the brainchild of researcher Peter Johns at the School of Art & Design, Middlesex University, is a modern sterling silver alloy patented and trademarked by the “Argentium Silver Company.” Argentium sterling silver differs from traditional sterling silver in the sense that some of the copper in the traditional alloy gets replaced with metalloid germanium. It’s however still referred to as sterling silver. The reason for this is because the silver content in argentium sterling silver remains at 92.5%.
“The project began in 1990 with research on the effects of germanium additions to silver alloys. Germanium was discovered to impart the following properties to sterling silver:
- Firescale elimination
- High tarnish resistance
- Precipitation hardening and simple heat-hardening properties
- Increased ductility
- Increased thermal and electrical resistance (making alloys suitable for welding and laser forming)
- Environmental advantages (associated with not having to remove or plate over firescale)
Many of these properties significantly affect the traditional methods of working silver. For instance the absence of firescale eliminates tedious and time-consuming steps required by the silver worker using traditional sterling silver. It also eliminates the need for plating the final product which is often done on manufactured items because of the problems introduced by firescale. Tarnish resistance is of significant importance to both silver workers and the wearer of silver jewellery” (Wikipedia).
Physical properties of Argentium Sterling Silver…
Solidus melting point of argentium sterling silver: 1410°F (766°C)
Liquidis flow point of argentium sterling silver: 1610°F (877°C)