What is Argentium Silver?
Argentium Sterling silver is a modern silver alloy which modifies the traditional alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) by replacing some of the copper with the metalloid germanium. As it contains at least 92.5% silver content of the traditional alloy, it is still referred to as sterling silver.
Argentium silver 935 and 960 is a high purity jewelry alloy that meets the hallmarking requirements for the U.K. Britannia standard. The 935 and 960 alloy modifies the conventional Britannia silver composition (95.84 silver, balance copper) with the addition of germanium.
Argentium Tarnish Resistance
Investigations using a Transmission Electronic Microscope (TEM) have shown that a thin dense layer of transparent germanium dioxide (GeO2) is formed on the surface of Argentium silver alloys when they are exposed to oxygen. It is this layer that gives Argentium silver its protection against tarnish and firestain. The germanium dioxide layer is self-regenerating. If the germanium dioxide is worn off due to abrasion, it will reform. Stainless steel uses chromium oxide for protection in a similar way. When compared to the other coating techniques used to protect silver alloys (e.g. rhodium plating and e-coating), the ability to re-form its protective surface layer make the Argentium silver alloys unique.
Argentium silver alloys are always purer than traditional sterling silver. The amount of silver content in traditional sterling silver is 92.5%, whereas Argentium silver has two different grades that contain higher content of silver, which is 93.5% and 96%.
The unique formulation of Argentium silver enhances its appearance, giving it an incredible natural brightness and lustrous beauty, which is measured by a scientific process called CIELAB. It is known to outshine white gold, platinum and even tradition sterling silver.
Finished product made in Argentium silver will be harder, stronger, and more durable than traditional sterling silver. This means that it’ll be more resistant to damage from scratches, denting, and deformation.
Besides all these great properties Argentium silver carries, Argentium silver is also known to be tarnish resistance, as well as firestain resistance.