Skip to main content

Handmade Argentium Silver Findings And A New Torch!




I've been meaning to buy a Sievert torch and propane bottle for absolutely ages after first using one at the jewellery night classes I went to a couple of years ago. It was really my love-hate relationship with my max flame torch that finally made me just get on with it and buy one.

Up to now I've managed with a mini butane, a max flame and a plumbers propane/butane torch and they've mostly been fine for soldering and enamelling a range of sizes of metal. Apart from the max flame butane torch. It's a larger version of the mini butane but badly designed with an awkward on off switch arrangement, a bad habit of spitting liquid butane out of it's bottom when you try to fill it, only igniting when it feels like it and a flame {once you manage to light it} that dies within minutes of "filling" the torch. And I have as yet not managed to fill it properly despite holding it and the butane canister at different angles, pumping the butane canister and then just swearing at it a lot. When it works it's a great torch and handy for when the mini butane can't cope but no good if it only works when it feels like it.

So I bought the Sievert Pro torch with a needle point burner and a larger burner for soldering larger items.



As you can see I haven't used it properly yet but I have played and it's great. I can use the smaller burner for enamelling and smaller soldering jobs and the larger burner for larger pieces and bangles.

New Handmade Argentium Silver Findings
At last, another thing I got round to doing! I've had some 20g {0.8mm} argentium silver wire hanging around for months waiting to be made into earwires and headpins and I finally got round to doing it yesterday.


So what's the difference between sterling silver and argentium silver?
  • They are very similar except argentium silver has a slightly higher % of pure silver and less copper than sterling silver and has the addition of the metalloid germanium. A metalloid is a chemical element that has a mix of metal and non metal properties.
  • A big advantage of using argentium silver in soldered pieces of jewellery is that it doesn't form firescale when heated as sterling silver does. 
  • Another important bonus has to be that it's also highly tarnish resistant and is brighter and "whiter" in colour than sterling silver.
  • It is also claimed to be hypo-allergenic so it may be suitable for people who have allergic reactions to earwires made with other metals.


I cut the argentium silver wire into lengths for earwires and headpins.


Then I started to ball the ends with the torch flame. Here's the first few I did.

argentium silver balled wire - cinnamon jewellery


The melted argentium silver wire forms lovely smooth balls that don't oxidize in the flame but remain bright. Part of the wire about 1cm down from the end discoloured slightly but this was removed quickly by pickling.


I balled up a piece of sterling wire to see the difference in the appearance of the balls. The sterling wire balls up and cools revealing a pitted, more rustic looking ball.


Earwires in progress. I decided to stick to just one earwire design for now.


argentium silver earwires - cinnamon jewellery

Super shiny! The finished earwires and headpins after a polish in the tumbler.

I'll be selling the earwires in packs of two pairs and the headpins which are 2.5 inches long in packs of 10. I just need to get them photographed properly then they will be listed in my Etsy shop.






Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. Congrats on the new cool toy - your Sievert torch! the only time I have worked with a big torch was when I tried lampworking and it was quite scary. But you are a seasoned metalsmith so it must be fun for you to play with it. The headpins look really glossy, I have never realised the difference in balling between AG silver and SS before, its quite interesting to note.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes the argentium does produce a lovely smooth ball. I shall be using my new torch properly today to make a bangle :D

      Delete
  2. Beautiful work with the findings! They look perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a cool torch! I'd love to have one of those. How did you find working with argentium? I heard it gets fragile when it's hot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've read that too. I didn't notice it when I balled up the wire as it's a quick in and out the flame process but I have read argentium can crack if you try to move it when it's red hot.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Your comments and questions are very welcome!
If you would prefer to contact me directly please use the contact form on my "get in touch" page.

Popular posts from this blog

Etching Silver Using Nail Art Stamps

So my love/hate relationship with etching sterling silver continues. I've tried a few times now and always end up with different results most of them not that great to be honest. I've tried connecting the silver and a piece of copper to a 9v battery and also heating the ferric nitrate. Sometimes the results are good sometimes not so good. I currently have an etched piece of silver sheet waiting to be reticulated and rid it of the mess that is the etched "pattern". 
I now know that using stamps and Stayz On ink just doesn't work with silver - the time needed to etch using ferric nitrate is much longer than etching copper and the ink starts to wear away after about an hour. This results in the pattern being patchy as the resist is eaten away and the silver ends up quite lumpy and course looking. I have yet to try using pnp paper. I don't know why but it all seems a bit of a faff to do. I don't have a laser printer so would need to find somewhere or someone…

Rolling Mill Textures On Metal

I had another play with my rolling mill last week using some of the texture sheets from Etsy shop Rolling Mill Resource. I used some sterling silver and copper sheet and soon discovered it's best to get organized before you start!

I cut the sheet to size and worked out which design was going on which piece of metal. I also tried a feather but more on that later. Most of the sheet I used was 20g/0.8mm with one piece of 18g/1.0mm and one of 22g/0.6mm.
I've read that you should do a dead pass of the metal through the rolling mill with the gap the same size as the metal and texturing item. I'm not sure what this is supposed to achieve but I don't bother doing it. Judging the correct size of gap between the rollers is a trial and error thing that you discover by setting the gap then starting to roll the metal through. If there's too much resistance you make the gap bigger until there's just enough resistance to roll the metal through without giving yourself a herni…

Using Tabs To Set Stones In Jewellery

I received the May 2014 issue of Art Jewelry last week and was immediately drawn to a piece by Michael David Sturlin in the Metalsmith 101 section called Cold Captures: Push-up Prongs. It covers a method of setting stones or buttons or enamel pieces {or anything with a flat base really} using tabs or prongs rather than using a soldered bezel or other setting that needs to be soldered in place.



I fancied a change and do love a bit of messing about with metal without doing any soldering so I took the magazine to my jewellery night class and had a go. This is my attempt at the above.....



 The millefiore cab was the largest size I possess at the mo as I haven't bought any large cabochons yet {give it time!}. It's about 15mm I think so I used it as a practice piece. I had to draw the shape by hand or rather my scribe as I didn't have anything to use for the curves so it's a bit wonky but I do like the design. I'm not planning on doing anything with this so I left it un…