What is Argentium?
IN A NUTSHELL...
Argentium Silver is a purer more superior silver. It's brighter and whiter than Platinum, Palladium or Sterling Silver. Argentium is low maintenance, tarnish resistant, hypoallergenic and easy to look after.
Argentium is a type of silver that has a higher silver content than Sterling silver. It also contains different alloys than Sterling silver. Argentium is purer than Sterling silver and it has distinct advantages over it. Thus, many experts consider Argentium a 'superior silver'.
A little history... Argentium was developed in 1990 by a researcher, Peter Johns at the Art and Design Institute in the School of Art and Design at Middlesex University. Peter Johns and his small team initially centred their research on eliminating firestain when working with Sterling silver by using Germanium. Germanium was also found to hold other benefits, such as tarnish resistance as well as heat hardening properties.
The difference... Sterling silver is an alloy metal with 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% mixed metals which is usually copper. Argentium ranges between 93.5% - 96% pure silver making it at the higher end of the scale even purer than Britannia silve 95.6%, historically the most highly regarded silver ever!
Argentium: an ethically responsible choice...
It is certified that Argentium is produced using only recycled silver and is therefore an ethically responsible choice, in terms of environmental impact.
Argentium and Hallmarking - Argentium requires hallmarking under the same laws as Sterling silver. Any piece of Argentium jewelleryv over the weight of 7.78g must be assayed and hallmarked by the Assay Office.
Argentium 935 Hallmark - Argentium contains at least 93.5% pure silver and 6.5% alloys, (with superior Germanium replacing some of the copper). Whilst containing more pure silver than Sterling silver, Argentium 935 is permitted to use the 925 Sterling Hallmark. In cases where the Argentium is at 96% purity, the Britannia 958 Hallmark will be applied by The Assay Office.
The Argentium Flying Unicorn- a flying unicorn stamp can be applied by The Assay Office along with either the 925 or 958, (see above) stamp to show that it is Argentium.
A Little Note On Hallmarking Mixed Metal Pieces of Jewellery- some of my Argentium Silver jewellery pieces are also created with Sterling Silver. The Assay Office will only ever hallmark a mixed metal piece of jewellery at the lowest level for example: an 18ct gold and 9ct gold necklace will be hallmarked as 9ct gold even if there is more 18ct than 9ct. Likewise, if a necklace is mainly made of Argentium Silver but has a Sterling silver clasp/findings, it will be hallmarked as 925 and not as 935 or 958.
Finally, as the Argentium I work with is 93.5% in purity, all of my 100% Argentium pieces, when being hallmarked, will carry a 925 stamp with the added mark of the Argentium Unicorn to show that it is Argentium.
The beauty of Argentium in summary...
- Increased tarnish resistance
- Bright and shiny
- Antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties
- Made from Recycled silver
- Environmentally friendly
- Stronger and more durable than traditional Sterling silver
- Low maintenance