ABOUT OUR METALS
Argentium silver is an advanced modern silver alloy developed over many years of research by Peter Johns at the Art and Design Research Institute (ADRI), School of Art & Design, Middlesex University. Containing 93.5% or 96% silver, Argentium alloys replace some of the copper that is used in traditional sterling silver alloy which is part 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Not only is Argentium a purer silver alloy it also has many benefits over Sterling silver including high tarnish resistance, higher durability, it is whiter than sterling silver and is also hypoallergenic.
Copper is a pure, natural metal with many proprieties. Copper is, in fact, essential to all living organisms and a small amount is also found throughout the human body, It said to be crucial to our good health and well-being, contributing to healthy growth and function of bones, collagen, the brain, the heart, the skin and immune system. Copper is also an antimicrobial substance meaning that it can prevent or kill micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi as well as destroying viruses acting as an antibacterial as well as an antifungal agent.
It is commonly known that copper ring may leave a (mainly green) discolouration on the skin. This does not seem to affect everyone and is not at all harmful. This is a result of several factors; with a copper ring being in close contact with your skin, the copper reacts to the moisture and natural PH levels of your skins natural oils; this is the natural oxidization of the copper which is completely normal and not an allergic reaction to copper as it is often mistaken to be. This ‘copper carbonate’ staining can easily be washed off with soap and water.
Like many other metals, oxidization is inevitable in pure copper. Over time all copper will tarnish and appear dull. The rate this happens depends on several factors; firstly copper is ‘non-ferrous’ which means it doesn’t contain iron and so will not rust , however, it will react with water just the same as it might with your skin. Sweat and the oxygen in the air will cause it to oxidize. Wearing you copper in jewellery in water will not have any damaging effect on the copper, although moisture will make the copper oxidize more rapidly. Oxidization can be prevented by keeping the copper dry and clean. Jewellery polishing clothes can also be used to keep your jewellery bright and shiny.
Fine silver is a soft metal which means it is not suitable for most jewellery on its own. It is likely that most, if not all, of your silver jewellery is sterling silver (925 silver), which is the standard silver purity. To make 925 sterling silver, fine 999 silver is mixed with other metals such as copper to make it stronger and more practical to work with. This is why most jewellery is made from sterling silver and not fine silver.
So how do I make fine silver into wearable jewellery?
My process is like no other! Due to the unique way in which I make my designs, the structure of the metal in my jewellery is much stronger than metals used in traditional jewellery making, were creating these stronger structures of metal would not be possible.
Is fine silver better than sterling silver?
As I said above, fine silver is a soft metal and so it simply cannot be used as it is; although as I am lucky enough to be able to use it in my work, I love to use it for more than one reason. The first main reason is the colour, fine silver is whiter than Sterling silver as it doesn’t contain other metals. Secondly, my favourite reason is the fact that fine silver will not darken (tarnish) like 925 sterling silver! This means that it’s not going to stain your finger like your Sterling silver jewellery and there is also no need to polish it even half as regularly either.