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Daily Wire Tip June 14: Keeping Argentium’s Silver Sheen
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip for
June 14, 2011
Dale, you often speak well of Argentium® silver. I’ve never used it, but my partner who makes beautiful chain bracelets and neck chains made one, and it darkened, and looks very dull. Has this happened in any of your jewelry, and how do I best remedy it?
-Helen in Jackson, New Jersey
Hello Helen, yes, I have been personally working with Argentium® wire since 2005. No, I have never had this wire turn dark, dull, or develop any type of serious tarnish, other than a slight blonde color near the wraps on a piece that had been sitting on a shelf for 8 months, waiting for a reaction.
I asked a friend who makes Argentium hollow ware, and their response was that maybe your partner should enhance the germanium properties of the material by baking the finished items in a 250° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Then just use a polishing cloth to finalize the shine. Yes, I have recently read about some folks who actually bake their wire before working with it too. I have never baked Argentium, because I have never had any serious issues with it turning.
One reason may be that the chain had been near salt, bleach, or chlorine products? These chemicals have a tendency to turn silver black. Also, over time, just about every metal is going to react to both the atmosphere and skin oils. The nice, easy-clean feature of Argentium makes renewing its shine more simple than sterling or plated silver. In the example of the Argentium sitting on my counter, I easily removed the blonde film by lightly rubbing the bracelet with a clean piece of t-shirt.
Answer contributed by Dale "Cougar" Armstrong
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