I admit I have a thing against soldering. I don't like having to get that solder fixed in just the right place, having to deal with firescale and needing to pickle. I turned to the idea of fusing as it seemed like a better choice for me. I read about a metal called argentium which is an alloy of silver, copper and germanium. It's the germanium that inhibits oxidation which greatly reduces firescale and tarnish. As an alloy it's also more forgiving to newbies than a pure metal is meaning I'm less likely to melt it using the torch. If you'd like to read more about argentium and why it's a good choice for jewelers Rio Grande wrote this article, interviewing Cynthia Eid, one of the leading experts on argentium. riograndeblog.com/why-you-should-choose-argentium-an-interview-with-cynthia-eid/
It just sat in it's original packaging because I was too intimidated.
I kept saying I was going to use it but chickened out.
Next step was buying a little torch, an annealing pan, pumice and curved cross locking tweezers. Here's my little torch. Cute, isn't it? But for some reason it was still intimidating me!
On January 1 of this year, I made a resolution on my Facebook business page. I was going to learn to fuse argentium or fine silver! I started reading all I could on the subject and joined a Facebook group for other jewelers working with argentium. Now, it's February 15 and I finally did it! I was motivated to get going on this because I received an e-mail reminding me I have a show coming up in 3 weeks. It's held by Haverford Guild of Craftsmen and it's taking place on March 10 & 11 in Newtown Square, PA.
That reminded me that I have limited time left to experiment and that show season will be starting very soon.
This is only a baby step but I accomplished a couple of things today. I started off balling ends of argentium wire to see how that was different from sterling (seems to go a little faster). I also fused ends of wire together, making a simple ring and closing a top loop on spiral charms. This first picture shows them right after being fused.
The next step was to do some hammering on the ring to give it some texture and to test how strong that fused section really was. Joy! It's holding together! I also hammered the spirals flat. Those fused top loops held together nicely. :)