Monday, December 12, 2016

Argentium Silver vs. Sterling Silver

What is the difference between Argentium Silver and Sterling Silver?

Most people are familiar with sterling silver.  It is used to make bracelets, earrings, necklaces and other types of casual jewelry.  It is also used to make flatware and even some musical instruments. Even though pure silver itself has been extremely sought after for a thousand years or more, it is way too soft and lacks the durablilty necessary for daily use.  So, the alloy sterling silver was created and has been the option of choice for anyone who wanted the highest grade of silver possible.  However, now there is something even better...  Here is a comparison for you:

Quick Specs: Argentium Sterling Silver vs. Sterling Silver

·      Periodic Table Symbol and Atomic Number: Silver (Ag) - 47 

·      Color: Similar color but Argentium Sterling Silver will appear brighter and "whiter"

·      Melting Point: Argentium Sterling Silver - 1477° F Sterling Silver - 1475° F

·      Alloy- Argentium Sterling Silver 93.5% silver, 6.5% copper, >1% germanium. Sterling Silver 92.5% silver, 7.5% copper

One of the major concerns in regards to silver has always been tarnishing. As a precious metal, silver doesn't have the benefit of being tarnish-proof like gold and when silver jewelry is left unworn for long periods of time it can become an unsightly color. Besides making a more durable and hard alloy of sterling silver that is both higher in purity and and strength, Argentium Sterling Silver has been touted for its tarnish resistance.

Now let's talk about purity!  Just like almost all precious metals, the purity of any metal used in jewelry is based on a "parts-per" details.  Gold is rated by karats, platinum and silver are rated by parts per thousand.  This means that for every one thousand parts that create the metal, a specific ratio is pure platinum or pure silver.

In order for a piece of jewelry to be consider sterling silver, it has to have a minimum of 925 pure silver parts per one thousand total parts.  Many sterling silver pieces will be marked 925 Sterling Silver which simply means that the piece is 92.5% pure silver.

Now, Argentium Sterling Silver is rated at 935 parts per thousand.  This makes Argentium 93.5% pure silver making it a full 1% greater than traditional sterling silver.  Common logic would make you tend to believe that this would make Argentium silver less durable.  This is not true.  Argentium Sterling Silver is actually harder than traditional sterling silver due to its specific alloy.  Argentium's hardness quality makes is resistant materials that normally damage sterling silver.

We prefer Argentium Sterling Silver over traditional sterling silver due to its durability and superior shine which is one of its most notable characteristics.  We hope this article was helpful.

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