This looks like I’ve mostly lost it. Whatever “it” was. Actually this is a process called heat precipitation hardening.
I like to work in Argentium 935 silver for a few reasons. One reason why is this material’s potential hardness. Baking my Argentium silver pieces, whether they’re finished or prepped for setting stones, allows me to take full advantage of this inherent property. Baking at 500 degrees for 1.5 hrs. accomplishes this feat. This allows my finished piece approximately twice the hardness of annealed sterling after the fabrication process.
Another curious advantage to using the Argentium metal is it’s anti-tarnish properties. Utilizing another heat process called surface passivation after my piece is done, I’m able to bring this material’s anti-tarnish abilities to full potential. I bake the piece at 212° for an hour. This causes the geranium in the silver to rise quicker to the surface, than it’s own natural timing, forming an invisible protective layer. Thus Argentium is less prone to tarnish than traditional sterling 925 silver. Bonus!
See, I’m not too crazy.