You may have noticed I love silver alloys. I’d say of the last 200 pieces I made, 7 of them contained a metal other than silver. So I think it’s fair to say it’s my favorite forging material. As a metalsmith, I like silver for it’s easy working requirements, fantastic work hardening, the fact that it’s readily available, and all things considered (like the price of gold) silver isn’t that expensive. Price is a good motivator for me, when it comes to materials.
Why should you like it?
Well, for several reasons. Some of them are even similar to the reasons I like it…
First, silver work hardens beautifully. But wait, you say, Why should I care? And what the heck is work-hardening?
Work hardening is the fact that when a silver alloy bends, is hit with a hammer, or any other type of tool manipulation happens to it, the silver becomes harder and stiffer. So when I take my hammer, and forge a pair of delicate wire earrings, like these:
… the earrings are nice and durable. Sturdy, even. Which you wouldn’t expect just looking at them, right? They almost look like they’d get crushed if you breathe on them the wrong way, not to mention actually trying to wear them!
So Reason Number 1 that you should like silver, is because silver can become very durable when work hardened.
Straight into Reason Number 2: Silver polishes beautifully.
I hear naysayers again… But wait! Silver tarnishes like the dickens. Why would you say it polishes beautifully?
I say that because silver does polish beautifully. And when the metalsmith(like me and alot of other modern metalsmiths) uses anti-tarnish Argentium Silver it will continue to shine beautifully for a long, long time. Who wouldn’t like shiny jewelry that practically stays that way? Exactly.
Reason Number 3 I mentioned briefly before. Silver is cheap, as far as these things go. This means that you can find lots and LOTS of quality silver jewelry less than $50( including on my own under $50 page). When you realize that a pair of forged sterling silver earrings takes about an hour to create and polish, you realize that not only is silver jewelry wonderfully strong, and beautifully shiny, it’s economical to boot!
There you go. My top three reasons I think you should love silver as much as I do.
If you disagree- I’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments below!