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Gifts of Inspiration from the Vine

With the warmer days and increased sunshine of spring, I’m starting to think of the beautiful vineyards of Washington. I recently had the opportunity to see some of the new growth of 2014 out at White Heron Cellars and I have to tell you, I’m already getting ideas! I think the texture of the vines will translate really well to some upcoming etched designs! I’ve also gotten some inspiration from the vineyards for some new original jewelry display options for some of my winery consignment locations!

 

But meanwhile…. think this beautiful cat might be able (and willing) to share some of the wine it’s guarding?

 

This beautiful cat caught my eye and agreed to be photographed at White Heron Cellars!
This beautiful cat caught my eye and agreed to be photographed at White Heron Cellars!

 

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What is Argentium Silver?

Argentium is a modern, more pure, kind of Sterling Silver which modifies the traditional alloy. One of the most notable differences is that it replaces some of the copper with germanium. But, why does that matter?

Depending upon the desired result and use, Argentium can have several benefits over Sterling Silver. While there are many technical benefits for the jewelry artist, for the average consumer there are two obvious benefits:

  • It is highly tarnish resistant, which for consumers who hate polishing their jewelry and want it *always* shiny and pristine is a huge bonus.
  • Argentium silver is stronger and more durable than traditional sterling silver, making it more resistant to damage from scratches, denting and deformation – (this is particularly beneficial for jewelry items that will be worn regularly).

For the jewelry artist with some cross-over for the clients:

  • Reduction or elimination of firescale (Good for the environment/requires less of the artist’s time/saves client money! Note: this does depend upon how the silver was used; it won’t always save you time or money.)
  • No plating necessary- it’s silver through and through (You don’t have to worry about it losing that “like new” appearance due to the plating wearing thin and the artist doesn’t have to spend the time doing it!)

For the jewelry artist:

  • increased malleability
  • accelerated hardening and easy heat-hardening properties
  • suitable for welding and laser forming
  • safer working environment (no nasty or dangerous chemicals required!)

For the environmentally and socially conscious, it’s important to note that Argentium silver is guaranteed-responsible:

  • The traceability of its raw silver is guaranteed; only recycled silver is used (it’s certified).
  • No hazardous processes (chemicals)
  • Reduction in manufacturing time, labor and resources
  • Argentium alloys don’t contain nickel.

 

Aesthetically, it’s also whiter than traditional sterling, white gold and platinum! Over an extended period of time, it can develop a mild golden patina.