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Topics: Wire, Work Harden

Q.
I am trying to use argentium wire for wire wrapping--I cannot straighten it--it has a mind of its own--should I anneal it?
- Sharon
A.
Argentium® silver wire can be a bit stiffer than sterling silver wire. When wrapping and forming Argentium silver wire, it is recommended to use dead-soft wire and when formed, tumble to work harden. For full-hard wire, anneal the metal to bring it to its most malleable state. With a lower melting point for Argentium than for sterling silver, a variety of gases and torch tips can be used. For successful annealing, use a disappearing black marking as an indicator (a permanent marker is great for this) and be aware that a silvery wet color not a dull red color (as is the case for annealed sterling silver) is necessary for a full anneal. Once properly annealed, you can work with the wire. As you manipulate the annealed wire, it will work harden so you may find the need to anneal the wire again. All will depend on how much you work the wire.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert

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