Those of you who work with pure silver know that it is too soft for many applications. Generally, copper is added to pure silver to give it hardness and durability. But this addition is what causes the tarnish which develops with silver when it is exposed to moisture.
In the 1990s, a silversmith named Peter Johns, of Middlesex University, patented the Argentium formula, which gives silver protection against tarnish and also increases the strength and durability of the finished product. The traditional alloy known as sterling silver is actually 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. With Argentium silver, some of the copper is replaced with a metalloid known as germanium. Argentium silver, when soft, is also easily formed into very complex shapes.
The bracelet shown here is by Cynthia Eid, contemporary jewelry designer and maker. Cynthia has won awards for both creativity and design and has been featured in many publications and exhibits. Her designs are primarily done in Argentium silver and are made through the creative use of hammers and hydraulic presses. She teaches courses all over the USA.