Seawear® Argentium silver
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Argentium silver is a relatively new metal, created and perfected by Professor Peter Johns at a research institute, Middlesex University in North London, England. It is now recognized by the United Kingdom Assay Offices.
Standard 'sterling silver' is .925 silver and .075 copper.
Argentium silver is .935 or .960 silver. Some of the copper has been removed and replaced with germanium. This has resulted in an outstanding silver product that many refer to as the 'new white gold' of the jewelry industry.
With proper heat treating and surface treating Argentium has been found to be almost twice as scratch resistant as sterling silver. It is harder. It is much more tarnish resistant. At this writing I have had several pieces sitting on a bench in my garage, waiting for the tarnish to appear. After four months of constant outside air exposure to doors opening and closing with vehicles, dogs and people coming in and out, there is still no tarnish. For people with allergies to silver (copper is actually the culprit normally) there have been many reports of no rash, swelling, ring around the finger, nor skin turning green or black from contact. There still is some copper content, so if you are highly allergic, it may not be for you and you must resort to platinum.
Sterling silver has always been known to be the whitest of the jewelry metals.
Argentium has measured on the AQL scale much brighter than sterling. If sterling silver is the base for the whitest metal at ZERO, Argentium tests more than 45 above that.
On the same scale measuring for whiteness, Rhodium is the whitest and sets the base of ZERO, Argentium goes to 10 above rhodium for whiteness.
Customers have told us they cannot believe the polish and finish. It truly is incredible how white and bright it is.
The United Kingdom is renowned for the strict standards on jewelry, Argentium not surprisingly exceeds all their requirements. Even the prestigious UK Britannia standard which requires 95.8% silver is surpassed with Argentium 960
Argentium has passed all three tests based on Sulfur, Perspiration and Ultraviolet. Standard sterling silver scores a minus -60 in tarnish resistance. Argentium 935 scores +9 and Argentium 960 scores +18. Resulting in huge tarnish resistance!
Yes, it is more expensive. We think it is worth it. So much so that we hope to soon offer Argentium 970!
The images below were taken in a light box, Nikon D3 200mm ED 1.4D For those that are more knowledgeable than I, you can download the image history and check in Photoshop to see if they have been altered from the original captured image. I used a Priority Mail shipping envelope as everyone knows what they are and how white they are. It is simply for a reference point as everyone's monitor will vary results.
This is the piece I have been testing for four months. You can see where the sprue was cut that it is clean bright white inside. This has NOT been finished or polished. It spent 15 minutes in a magnetic tumbler with stainless steel jewelry mix shot. Twelve hours in dry tumble with course walnut shell. Twenty four hours in a fine walnut shell tumble. These do not remove metal, simply burnishes it and work hardens the surface. I hate removing metal and do all I can to burnish into place. In the close up you can see a parting line and the crevices are still not clean. Most importantly, no tarnish!
This image will not mean anything to anyone unless they are in the business! This is what we call a 'blow-out'. The investment was too thin at the top as I tried to squeeze an extra ring at the top. A quarter inch is not enough! This is simply Argentium silver that was melted and poured into a flask, followed by a heart stopping thud. The metal has not been cleaned in any way. If this were standard sterling it would be dark gray to black. This has been sitting around for a few months. I need a few pounds of scrap to send it for new casting grain. Just note the cleanness, white and brightness of an unfinished glob of metal. Those in the business know how remarkable this is.
This is the tree from the blown out cast. There should be a wide button base. Again just note how white and clean this is, as cast. Were this sterling silver, it would be black.
This is a 100 ounce box of Argentium casting grain from Hoover & Strong freshly opened. Without the reference white of the priority envelope, it is difficult to see the whiteness. The black triangles in each grain is the reflection of the lense glass. I have no idea why it looks triangular! I am not a photographer but am sure I will hear from someone who is!!
This is the same casting grain with the tumbled shark tooth. The shark tooth still has a lot of work left before it could be sold. 3M polishing wheels of 400, 600, 800, 1,500 and then 3,000 grit. Then polished, cleaned, Picasso Blue rouged, cleaned and finally buffed. Then two heat treatments for hardness and tarnish resistance.
More reference on our Made in USA page
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