The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

State of the Art: A Video with the Inventor of Argentium

Dec 26, 2012
2 Comments

Argentium Sterling Silver has really turned a lot of heads since its introduction a few years ago. Developed by Professor Peter Johns of Middlesex University, Argentium really took off because of the enthusiasm of American silversmiths for its special working and tarnish-resistance properties.

Recently, the film crew at Middlesex University produced a short documentary about Peter Johns and how the alloy he developed has been embraced by silversmiths around the world. As the Argentium metals manager here at Rio Grande, I was asked to contribute an American perspective to this British film. Take a look and let us know what you think!

Comments (2)
  1. I have tried argentium and it’s wonderful for fusing and non-tarnish ear wires… I was wondering if you can reticulate argentium sheet, or does reticulation rely on the fire scale?

  2. Hi there! This is Sessin from Rio’s tech team. I think I made up a new word and technique for Argentium called ‘Shrinkulation.’ ;-) This was my first try so I am by no means an expert at Shrinkulation.
    1) I did no prior preparation, just took a piece of 24-gauge argentium sheet (1″x 2″) out of my stash and placed it onto a solderite pad.
    2) I used a Smith Silversmith torch with #2 tip and set the regulator at 15 lbs. of pressure.
    3) Then I heated the item until red and held the torch about 8″ away from the piece so the brushy end of the tip was doing the heating. I held it at red heat for about 3 minutes, then came in closer and it started shrinking in. It did not really reticulate like standard reticulation metal does. It was slower and unpredictable. It would not shrink or wrinkle in the center, just on the outer edges.
    I would only recommend trying this with scrap pieces as you may ruin a lot of good sheet.


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