I'm trying to solder Argentium Silver wire. Everything I have read says that I don't need flux, but when I soldered the wire it went black--like sterling--and didn't melt. Can you suggest a good flux and give some direction on how to solder?
Argentium® sterling silver has a lower melting point (about 60 degrees lower than traditional sterling silver), so the solder should flow a little sooner depending on the grade of solder and technique. Use a liquid or paste flux to help any solder flow.
Make certain the joins are clean and tight, that is, no air space between the joins
This will allow any solder to flow, regardless of the type of solder
30-gauge Argentium solder sheets can be cut into snippets and used to solder joints
This solder has been developed to eliminate oxidation at the solder joint
There is no need to use a firescale retardant since Argentium is alloyed with germanium
Germanium loves oxygen and forms a protective barrier over the surface of the metal, preventing oxidation and tarnish
After heating the Argentium piece overall, concentrate the flame on the solder join itself and heat until the solder flows
Let the piece cool down before quenching in water--shock cracks can occur if cooled too quickly
Place the soldered item into a pickle solution (an acidic chemical solution) heated in a pickle pot
The warm pickle will clean the metal of any oxidation (blackening) which may occur during the soldering
Rinse in clean water
Note: Observe safety precautions with any chemicals and soldering techniques.
- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Designer and Instructor