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Argentium Sterling Silver, What It Is, Why We Use It And Why You Will Love It

In the beginning.....there was sterling silver, plain ole sterling, one of the metals many of us got our start on but that's not the whole story. Over the years we gradually replaced the old standard .925 with .935 Argentium sterling. The reason, it has properties that regular .925 doesn't, and those aspects makes the Artisan jeweler happy. Unfortunately there are those that are confused about Argentium if not a little hesitant to purchase Argentium jewelry, the reason.... people just don't know. This is why we decided to write his little primmer regarding our usage of Argentium silver and why it's such a wonderful alloy for the maker and why buyers should prefer jewelry made from AGS.

Argentium sterling silver..a metalsmiths view.

Argentium sterling is a wonderful improvement over traditional sterling silver for both the metalsmith and the customer. For the customer, a product that has a richer composition being 93.5% silver over traditional sterling's 92.5%, has a more durable finish either bright or oxidized, and obtains a higher degree of durability for pieces that will last a lifetime. Below are two links to examples our our Argentium Sterling work.

Argentium Silver Moonstone Crescent Moon Necklace

Egyptian Inspired Argentium Silver Dangle Earrings

For the metalsmith the ease of use in different applications like fusing, welding, hardening and melting makes it a delight to work with. The metal makeup is slightly different. Traditional sterling silver is 92.5% silver with the balance copper. Argentium sterling silver comes in a few flavors, all with silver content above 93.5% with the balance being copper and a small amount of germanium (a few percent) this is what makes the magic! This small addition of the element germanium, a non toxic metalloid more commonly used in semiconductors, provides the metalsmith with a superior working experience. The tiny addition of Germanium makes AGS highly resistant to firestain when heated during annealing, soldering and fusing, obtaining a high degree of hardness when treated properly, maintaining high stability when shrinking from a molten state (a very big plus!!) and taking a lustrous durable finish; this is why we love Argentium sterling and so should you!

 

Images from top to bottom: AGS ball being formed, cooling, AGS ball compared to plain sterling on the right (clear difference in surface shrinkage and oxidation!), fusing AGS components (no solder required). 

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