The Chemical Appeal of Silver Alloy-Infused Jewelry

Scores of new silver alloys that claim to offer more shine than sterling for only a small premium have recently come to market, but the metallurgy has proved confusing to buyers. JCK makes sense of the chaos.Talk to silversmiths like Sam Patania about any of the dozen or so tarnish-resistant silver alloys that have come on the market during the past decade and they’ll praise them to the skies. Funny thing, though, their praise doesn’t include the attribute for which the ­jewelry industry knows these alloys best: anti-tarnishing.Sure, Argentium, Sterilite, Sterlium, TruSilver, and the like keep silver shining for months and even years. And there’s no doubt that extended luster life saves valuable time by freeing employees from weekly silver cleaning and brightening tasks. “Maintenance-free ­silver is a dream come true,” says Bill Hoefer, a Tampa, Fla.–based appraiser, silver

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