Argentium Silver is a trademarked name for a new generation sterling silver. It contains more pure silver than the traditional sterling, it’s tarnish resistant, and the unique combination of metals makes it brighter than other silver metals, including regular sterling silver, white gold and platinum.
Let’s back up. Traditional sterling silver is made from 92.5% pure silver with the remaining 7.5% containing other metals to make it harder and more durable and suitable to use on a wider variety of pieces. Copper is the most common “other metal”, which causes the silver to tarnish when it is exposed to oxygen. There are other issues that jewelers have to face, as well, such as fire scale, a darkening that occurs as a result of heating.
So, now we know about sterling…how about Argentium?
Argentium silver consists of 93.5% pure silver, and the remaining 6.5% contains germanium, which gives the silver an even higher durability and makes it seven times more tarnish resistant than regular sterling silver. This combination also makes it easier to weld and has the perk of resisting the fire scale, which normally requires a chemical bath to remove, so it eliminates some of the chemicals and makes it a more eco-friendly choice. Plus, it’s very often created with recycled silver. Score!
Yes! Argentium silver is still subject to exposure to oxygen causing tarnishing, especially if left without being worn or any polishing; however, tarnishing on Argentium silver happens at a particularly slow rate, giving it the ability to keep shining for a much greater length in time than traditional sterling silver.
Argentium sterling silver is an eco-friendly metal choice that is more durable and shinier than traditional sterling silver. Not all of my silver pieces can be created in Argentium silver; however, most of my silver work is made with this new generation silver, because here, at The Chestnut Forge, I strive to create quality with the smallest carbon footprint possible.