Question About Working with Argentium Silver

by Rena Klingenberg.

Tarnish - Argentium Sterling Silver vs. Standard Sterling Silver, by Rena Klingenberg, Jewelry Making Journal

Wire pendants by Rena Klingenberg, left out in the open air for several weeks as an experiment – Argentium Sterling Silver on the left, standard sterling silver on the right.

Question from a Jewelry Artist:

Have you used Argentium silver, and what do you think of it?

I am so tired of trying to keep my silver clean.

Answer from Rena:

Yes, I’ve used Argentium Sterling Silver wire.

It’s just a little bit stiffer (harder to work with) than standard sterling silver, so at least as far as wire goes, you may want to go one gauge thinner, or use a softer temper than you would with sterling silver wire.

As for cleaning, I definitely see a big difference in tarnish resistance on my jewelry that incorporates Argentium vs. the jewelry that has standard sterling silver (see the photo above).

However, remember that Argentium Sterling Silver is tarnish-resistant, but not necessarily tarnish-proof.

For any metal jewelry, here’s my method for reducing how often you have to clean it and remove tarnish:

1) Store all metal jewelry and metal jewelry components by covering them with anti-tarnish cloth (sometimes also called “pacific cloth”), available by the yard at most fabric stores.

2) Toss in a few anti-tarnish strips (available at most jewelry suppliers) for good measure; change to fresh strips every three months (mark it on your calendar).

3) At shows or wherever your jewelry is sitting out, exposed to the air and other environmental elements, keep a Sunshine cloth or jewelry polishing cloth (available at jewelry suppliers) handy.

Give each piece of jewelry a quick wipe with it at least once each day of the show, to remove airborne pollutants, body oils from people’s fingers, and other elements that cause tarnish.

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