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What is Argentium Silver, and how is it different from traditional sterling silver?
Both Argentium silver (also known as Argentium sterling silver, or Argentium) and traditional sterling silver are considered silver alloys suitable for jewelry making. Both are technically sterling, and can be hallmarked as such because they meet the minimum amount of 92.5% silver purity. Traditional 925 sterling silver is compromised of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% other metals- typically copper, although sometimes other metals like nickel or zinc can be used. Due to its purity, traditional sterling is typically identified by a “925” stamp.
Argentium silver has two different formulations 940 and 960. Argentium is free of nickel in both formulations, and is considered to be hypoallergenic provided the wearer doesn’t have a silver or copper allergy. It is often easily recognized by it’s trademarked logo – the flying unicorn, or a “940” or “960” stamp
- 940 ( 94% silver, 6% copper & germanium) 940 is harder than 960 formulations. Previously formulated with 93.5% silver prior to August 2021
- 960 ( 96% silver, 4% copper & germanium) 960 is the has a brighter finish than 940, and is more tarnish resistant than the 940 formula
While traditional 925 sterling silver is suitable for jewelry making, it is less durable, tarnishes faster, is prone to fire stain, conductive to heat, and has a grayer, less bright color when polished. In contrast, Argentium is a harder metal making it more durable, has a higher silver content, is more resistant to tarnish due the presence of germanium, is less conductive to heat , and has a bright white finish. Reference the graphs below for differences in tarnish resistance and brightness.
When should I choose Argentium?
When it comes to investing in jewelry, it is essential to consider not only the design and aesthetic appeal but also the quality and durability of the materials used. For those who value longevity in their jewelry purchases, the use of Argentium instead of traditional sterling silver should be taken into consideration. Argentium Sterling Silver offers exceptional durability, sustainability, and tarnish resistance, making it an excellent option for those looking for high-quality silver or heirloom pieces.
Additionally, Argentium offers a superior working capacity compared to traditional sterling silver. It can be fused, eliminating the need for unsightly solder seams, and it is less conductive, making repairs less risky when set stones are involved or multiple solder joints are present. Ideal when handing down heirloom rings or bracelets that might need to be resized to fit the wearer.
Investing in Argentium Sterling Silver jewelry is not only a wise choice in terms of quality and longevity, but it also represents a responsible and sustainable decision. While traditional sterling silver may be cheaper, it is also less durable and prone to tarnishing. To prevent tarnishing in traditional 925 sterling silver pieces, they are often rhodium plated. Rhodium is not only costly, but it requires hazardous chemicals to achieve the bright white finish that rhodium supplies.
In contrast, Argentium Sterling Silver offers increased tarnish resistance- nearly 7 times that of traditional 925 sterling silver in the 940 formulation, and a naturally bright white appearance due to the presence of germanium that eliminates the need for hazardous rhodium plating.
In conclusion, when it comes to investing in jewelry, Argentium Sterling Silver is a premium silver alloy that should be considered. Its superior durability, tarnish resistance, and sustainability make it an excellent choice for those who value longevity in their jewelry purchases. By investing in Argentium Sterling Silver, you are not only investing in a high-quality piece of jewelry but also making a responsible and sustainable choice.
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Website Sources :
Argentium International Limited, Argentium Silver, accessed 6 March 2023,
United Precious Metal Refining, UPMR, accessed 6 March 2023, https://www.unitedpmr.com/master-alloys-for-casting/925-sterling-silver-heat-treatable-casting-master-alloys/
Introduction to precious metals Metallurgy for jewelers and silversmiths, Mark Grimwade, 2009, page 98
Argentium logo & data graphs used with permission.