Wire Metal Substitutions

by Dale Armstrong

Can you substitute artistic, German, Argentium or silver plated wire in place of sterling silver, as long as the piece calls for round wire and will not be hammered? If so, what would they be equivalent to as far as dead soft, half hard, etc.?


I see no reason why the metals you listed cannot be substituted for Sterling Silver, as long as the shape and temper match whatever pattern you are following. Argentium is .923 sterling silver, and its temper is about the same as .925 sterling. What is called "German Silver" is really Nickel Silver, which is a product that contains absolutely no genuine silver at all, simply named for its "silvery" color. Nickel silver’s temper is comparable to .925 sterling silver.

The only difference I need to mention is that artistic wire such as enameled copper wire like Gold Enameled and Silver Enameled is exactly what the name implies: copper wire that has been enameled, meaning the copper base is soft.

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong


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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): Design