Argentium® sterling silver is a
trademarked and patented sterling silver alloy that was
created at Middlesex University in England by Professor
Peter Johns, a silversmith expert. Traditional
sterling silver typically contains 92.5% silver and 7.5%
copper. Professor Johns' experiments revealed that
when a small amount of the copper was replaced with the
element germanium, the alloy took on highly desirable
traits, including the following:
Resistance to tarnish
Prevention of firescale (sometimes
called firestain), that purple stain that can
develop in tradition sterling made with copper.
Greater malleability and ductility
(more easily formed and elongated)
Easy precipitation (hardening),
accomplished even in a kitchen oven
Easily welded and fused, due to its
lower melting point
Okay, so what is germanium?
Germanium (Ge) is an element that is similar to tin.
It is found in ores, coals and other materials, but
never as a free element. It was discovered in (any
guesses!) Germany in 1886.
The Argentium Silver Company offers
licensing of the Argentium hallmark ("as"). It is
believed that as more people become aware of the
properties of this alloy, they will be willing to pay
more for products made of it.
The addition of germanium changes the
ways in which the silversmith must work with the alloy.
The company offers technical guidance to help
silversmiths revise their techniques accordingly.
For more information on Argentium®, visit
the company's website at