Argentium Silver® is real Sterling Silver, as it contains 92.5% silver. The addition of germanium causes it to not tarnish like traditional Sterling Silver, and it contains no nickel. So it stays bright and beautiful for weeks, months, or years.
From my personal experience, I have not been able to wear sterling silver earrings. I am happy to say that Argentium Silver® causes no problem. Possibly from the reduction in nickel.
It requires only an occasional wipe with a soft cloth to remove a smudge or finger mark.
Tarnish is a discoloration of the surface caused by oxygen and sulfur.
Argentium Silver® forms a clear oxide reducing the tarnishing.
Caring for Argentium®:
Caring and cleaning your Argentium Sterling Silver® is very easy and needs far less care than traditional silver.
Wash with lukewarm water and restore its shine with a polishing cloth.
Let's get Technical:
The element Germanium was discovered in Germany in 1886. On the Periodic Table it's atomic number is 32 and its atomic weight is 72.64.
Germanium is a metalloid and is chemically similar to tin. Silicon, manganese, boron and sulfur are also metalloids. That means that these
elements have both metallic and non-metallic properties, and tend to be semiconductors than conductors.
The Discovery of Argentium Sterling Silver®
Argentium® was discovered by Peter Johns in 1996. He was a professor of silversmith at Middlesex University in England.
He found that by reducing the copper content in traditional silver and adding germanium, he could eliminate fire scale.
How Argentium Silver® Works
Traditional Silver allows oxygen to penetrate, and the fire scale is caused by the reaction with copper.
The addition of germanium inhibits the oxygen from penetrating the surface.
Because the germanium is a metalloid rather that a true metal, it is able to float.
So it is constantly diffusing to the surface where is reacts with oxygen to form a thin layer of germanium oxide. Tarnish is caused by the formation of cuprous oxide, and the germanium Oxide prevents the cuprous oxide from forming.