Daily Wire Tip: Greater Spring in Argentium Silver Wire

By on November 18, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip

Question:

I’m using 20-gauge round half hard ArgentiumĀ® Silver wire to make ear wires that go over the ear. I can’t get it to stay in shape, using the bracelet mandrel for part of the shape. It springs back. It holds its shape using practice wire.

-Judy in Benson, Arizona

Answer:

Judy, I believe the practice wire holds its shape because it is softer than the half hard Argentium you are wishing to use for your earring design. My suggestion is to try shaping the Argentium around a found item that is about one-third the desired size, to compensate for the spring in the half hard. You could then custom-shape the earring by hand, for each customer as they make a purchase. By the way, they sound really cool!

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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8 Comments

  1. avatar

    Julia Ferry

    November 20, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Dale suggestion is dead on :)

    if you are still having problems get the dead soft. by the time you finish handling it and bending it it will harden right up for you. I use dead soft except for my rings, and earhooks for that I use half hard.

  2. avatar

    Patricia C Vener

    January 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

    I know the earrings she is talking about – I have a pair made a long time ago, if I’m visualizing this correctly. I think the style is as old as the Renaissance but I know the style was used in old movies (c.1940) as I was struck once when the character reached around to cup her ear and moved upwards to remove one earring in order to answer the telephone.

    I’m thinking that this style ear wire is best done in a soft guage because then it can be easily adapted to fit a changing ear (recall that ears keep growing as we age).

    • avatar

      dalecgr

      January 3, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Neat info, Patricia – thanks!

      • avatar

        Margie

        May 6, 2014 at 9:31 am

        Oh you had to remind us that ears and noses keep growing. Lol
        I love the tips for the day. Thanks so much for the info m

  3. avatar

    Steve Taylor

    January 3, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    Hi,

    I’ve been using AS wire for over a year for all of my projects. The metallurgical properties of Argentium Silver (AS) are eye opening. First you can fuse argentium wires together without solder. There is no firescale to pickle off. You can soften the wire by using a small butane torch to heat the wire to a low orange color and then air cooling. This makes the wire super easy to use in forming complex shapes. Once you have shaped the piece you place the piece on a pyrx dish in your oven at 450-500 degrees for 3-5 hours. This hardens the wire somewhere between half hard and full hard. It also enhances the anti-tarnish properties of the piece. What;s really neat is you can use wire one size smaller thsn you would with sterling silver or silver filled wire. It can be hardened in the oven to a stiffness as good as SS/SFW wire…resulting in less weight of the piece and lower cost by using smaller wire. It polishes to a very high sheen that lasts. I recommend polishing with an acid-free paste silver polish and the using a rotary toothbrush with a bit of toothpaste and liquid soap…then rinse well and polish with a clean lint free cloth. Hope this helps.

    • avatar

      Margie

      May 6, 2014 at 9:33 am

      Wow great stuff!

  4. avatar

    SusieG

    July 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I think the style of earrings that are being referred to are called ear cuffs. They are very cool. You don’t need pierce ears to wear them.

  5. avatar

    SusieG

    July 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I think the style of earrings that are being referred to are called ear cuffs. They are very cool. You don\’t need pierce ears to wear them.