Human beings have been smithing silver for millennia. I was surprised to learn, therefore, that significant advances in silver metallurgy have been made as recently as the 1990s. Sterling silver, by definition, contains 92.5 wt% silver metal and 7.5% other metals, traditionally mostly copper. In 1998, however, Peter Johns of Middlesex University obtained a US patent on sterling silver alloys containing the semi-metallic element germanium as an additive. The resulting product, called Argentium, eliminates firescale, dramatically reduces tarnishing in air, and produces a more ductile metal. It is manufactured in the US by Stern-Leach, and the feedback from metalworkers I’ve been reading around the web is very positive. [Thanks, Jason!]

Handmade mechanical dragonfly