Argentium Silver vs. Sterling Silver
You don't have to be an avid jewelry collector to be familiar with sterling silver. Used in earrings, bracelets, wedding bands and casual jewelry, sterling silver is also prevalent in flatware and household items like forks, spoons and even some musical instruments. While pure silver has been highly sought after for over a thousand years, it is much too soft and lacking in the durability needed for everyday wear and use. So for the longest time, sterling silver has been the best alternative for those wanting the highest grade of silver possible... until now.
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. Here are few of the other added benefits of Argentium Silver vs. Sterling Silver:
Like most precious metals, the purity of the metals used in jewelry is based on "parts-per" notation. While gold is rated by karats, silver and platinum go by parts-per thousand. What this means is for every one thousand parts that compose the metal, a certain ratio is pure silver or pure platinum.
In order to be considered sterling silver, a piece of jewelry has to have at minimum 925 pure silver parts-per 1000 total parts. This why you will see many sterling silver objects marked 925 Sterling Silver and essential this means the piece is 92.5% pure silver.
Of course the purer the piece of jewelry, the more desirable. And in turn, Argentium Sterling Silver is rated at 935 parts-per 1000. At 93.5% pure silver, the purity of Argentium Sterling Silver vs Sterling Silver is even greater than traditional sterling silver, the former benchmark of purity for silver jewelry.
Finish and Shine
One of the most notable characteristics of silver is its brightness. Silver has hues of white that will make it appear brighter than even white gold and platinum. This is one of the many reasons sterling silver jewelry has become so popular. Argentium Sterling Silver is rated as both brighter and whiter than even Sterling Silver according to CEILAB standard color measurement system. It is even rated as a "whiter" metal than rhodium, which is used to give white gold its white color.
As noted, one of the reasons pure silver isn't used in jewelry is because it is too soft and would damage quite easily. However, the purer the grade of silver, the more desirable it becomes. So how do we marry these two concepts?
Sterling Silver used 92.5% pure silver and as a result, jewelry made in sterling silver can come very close to being pure, while still being strong. But on the other side, Argentium Sterling Silver is 93.5% pure silver. Common logic would have us believe it is less durable because it has a higher purity. However, this is not the case. Argentium Sterling Silver's specific alloy is actually harder than traditional sterling silver, while still being purer. So like the tungsten in your unique silver inlay tungsten ring from Tungsten World that the Argentium Sterling Silver is inlaid into, Argentium's hardness will be resistant to materials that might normally damage the softer traditional sterling silver.
Posted by: Vincent LR, Press Officer