Daily Wire Tip Apr. 28: Purity and Sensitivity with Argentium Silver

By on April 27, 2011
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
April 28, 2011


Good morning to everyone at Wire-Sculpture! My question is, how much silver is in Argentium silver? Is it as much as sterling silver, and has anyone ever reported having allergies to it?

-Deborah in Wenden, Arizona


Good Morning to you Deborah! A common misconception is that Argentium® is not as good or as pure as sterling silver. Like many companies in the United States, Wire-Sculpture carries anti-tarnish .930 Argentium® Silver Wire, which is 93.0% pure silver, and contains absolutely no nickel, a major culprit for those allergic to metal. And yes – Argentium is always more pure than sterling silver (92.5% silver).

Looking for the facts, I would like to quote the company who makes Argentium® itself:

  • Natural Beauty: Plating is prone to wear and tear and is commonly used on silver items to give the temporary illusion of purity. Argentium is the natural colour of pure silver through and through.
  • Brighter: Argentium silver is brighter than platinum, white gold and traditional sterling. It is the whitest of them all.
  • Longer Lasting Shine: Argentium silver is low maintenance, easy to care for and simple to clean.
    Source: “About Argentium,” Argentium.com

I have never heard of anyone reporting an allergy to Argentium, and I have personally been using Argentium since 2005.

The only caution I give my students is not to use Argentium unless they can make the project in their sleep – meaning use confident tool moves – because it work-hardens faster than sterling. It is a gorgeous product!

You can discover more about Silver and its different varieties (including Coin Silver and Fine Silver) in Mary Bailey’s article All About Silver.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    April 28, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Love the look of argentium and the anti-tarnish properties..I started using it when I needed to polish sterling pieces before every show..I even put the pieces in bags with a anti- tarnish strip only slowed the tarnish process down… but as Dale says…it work hardens QUICKLY…

  2. avatar


    April 28, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I have 2 friends with allergies to all metals. Silver of every type, gold, surgical steel and niobium. I solve this with making necklaces with glass and ceramic beads long enough not to slip over the head without clasps. Leather and macrame is another good option.

  3. avatar


    April 28, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I’m so glad you posted this. I hope people disseminate this information widely to put people’s fears at rest. As I restock my silver, Argentium is the replacement.

  4. avatar


    April 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I created a bangle using six 20gauge argentium wires. It’s work hardening properties served very well. The lady had been looking for bracelets and bangles for a long time but could not find anything to her liking. She was impressed that I could shape the wire to fit her wrist and even more impressed that she could manipulate it to fit her wrist exactly as she wante. Within the week it was exactly as she wanted it and it keeps its form.
    I also used argentium to make 2 “Cocktail” rings with lots of filigree work. I used argentium because I was incorproating pearls into the design. The purchaser will not have to worry how to remove tarnish and not damage the pearls. I must confess that I had to change direction and improvise a bit as a couple of wires broke while I was working with them.

  5. avatar

    Jan O'Neill

    April 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I have had clients with allergies to sterling wear argentium without issue. I also like that I can fuse it much like fine silver and end up with a stronger piece.

  6. avatar

    Donna Jo

    April 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I cater specifically to nickel sensitive customers, and am always on the lookout for metal content information. I use Argentium Sterling Silver because it has no nickel at all, and all the good qualities which Dale says, BUT. . . it is an alloy. Some people are allergic to alloys independent of being allergic to any of the independent metals. I have already had one customer return her beautiful Argentium hoops because she could not wear any alloys. When I questioned her, she said she could not wear brass, sterling silver, or gold either. She also had sensitivity to make-up. I made her a pair of Niobium hoops and she was fine.

  7. avatar


    April 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

    In addition to all its attributes mentioned in your blog, Argentium can be easily fused with a small handheld torch (no solder). It is all I use in chain-making. Of course you should be careful about the gauge of wire before you start fusing everything!!!! The heavier guages are recommended.

  8. avatar


    January 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I have a related Argentium issue: the square wire seems to have very ‘sharp’ edges! I made a ring with this wire, and it really scratches my fingers, whereas the square Sterling Silver or Gold Filled wire I use don’t have this issue. Did i get a ‘bad’ batch of Argentium, or is this a characteristic of this wire? The four corners of the wire are sharp along it’s length. What can I do to take the edges off? I need the square wire for certain patterns, so can’t just switch to round wire. Any of you run into this issue? Thanks!


    • avatar


      January 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Hey Nancy, seriously I have never had a “sharp” batch of square Argentium, in any gauge – I have had sharp sterling square though. It is my opinion that you may have gotten an unusual batch and might want to contact the supplier directly for a solution, like maybe replacing it?

    • avatar


      January 21, 2012 at 5:53 am

      Nancy, Try filing or sanding the sharp edges. That should help. But seriously, if you want to work with precious metals, you need to be able to work the precious metals.