When I first created Stockholm Rose Designs 3 years ago, I took a very long time researching metals. I wanted to make sure I found the most high quality, eco friendly silver and gold for my jewellery. The most important thing for me was being certain I'd done my best to make Stockholm Rose Designs as ethical as possible.
There is not much to choose from when making ethical jewellery. Most silver and gold is recycled somewhat, however it is also very difficult to know how much of the metal is recycled, and where the metal was sourced. The two main options fro ethical silver jewellery is eco-silver and argentium silver.
What is eco-silver?
Eco-silver is recycled sterling silver. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% silver with the remaining 7.5% copper and other base metals. This makes the sterling harder and more durable for making jewellery. However, that 7.5% of copper causes fire scale (dark stains on the metal after heating) and tarnishing when the jewellery is exposed to air. This means that the jewellery needs polishing often to keep its sparkle.
What is Argentium silver?
Argentium is an alloy of silver and germanium. Its silver content is 93.5%, rather than traditional sterling's 92.5%. When I was looking into different metals right at the beginning, I didn't realise this argentium silver was recycled, I was just amazed by all the qualities it had in comparison to traditional sterling.
Argentium silver was originally created to combat silver tarnishing. However, along with being tarnish resistant, the addition of germanium rather than copper creates lots of other amazing properties.
Argentium VS Sterling
Both of these metals are ethical, eco friendly and sustainable options. The use of one over the other depends on the makers design, the quality expected and the look required of the design.
Sterling silver jewellery can be prone to scratches, dents, and bending, especially if they're worn often. Argentium Silver is more durable and stronger than traditional sterling, which makes it more resistant to damage.
Argentium is resistant to tarnish. It will need polishing once every now and then, but far less than sterling.
Bright and Shiny
Argentium is brighter than sterling silver, platinum and white gold. It's the brightest metal with a long lasting shine!
With the absence of nickel, copper and other allergy provoking metals, argentium can be worn by those sensitive to sterling.
Due to argentium being fire stain (a stain left behind after heating) resistant, less chemicals are used on Argentium in production, making it friendlier to the environment.
Hopefully this gives you a great guide on why I use argentium wherever possible! For complete transparency, I use sterling silver for chains, stud earring posts and butterfly backs. I always give a complete breakdown on metals used in each product description.