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Continuum Silver vs. White Gold/Platinum

MidModMin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
136
Does anyone have any experience with the properties of Stuller's Continuum silver alloy and how it works in different designs?

A common rule-of-thumb says to not use sterling silver for certain jewelry designs because of how soft it is. Silver is often discouraged for rings, especially those with delicate prong designs or pavé, or holding expensive stones. The rationale for this is that silver is too soft and will scratch/dent easily, which means the ring will wear quickly or the stones could be lost due to bent prongs.

Usually, white gold or platinum is recommended as a better metal.

I've noticed, though, that Stuller's Continuum silver alloy has some really interesting properties. Most significantly, when age hardened, it has a Vickers hardness of 150.

Platinum 950 (ruthenium or cobalt) has a hardness of 135 (according to this source).

On this website, 14k yellow gold has a hardness of 140 and 18k white gold has a hardness of 210.

This site lists the hardness of 18K gold (doesn't specify white or yellow) as 120.

This site describes the hardness of Continuum as the equivalent of the "as-cast" hardness of 14k white gold.


Looking at these numbers, it seems to me that Continuum looks like a viable alternative to white gold or platinum. Putting aside tarnishing (it tarnishes less, but isn't impervious), it looks like it has a similar hardness to many white gold or platinum alloys.

There may be other properties at play, though. I've seen people discuss how some alloys are brittle or have spring, though I'm not sure what the significance is.

My questions:
  • Is Continuum silver an alternative to platinum and/or white gold? Why or why not? What don't I understand about this?
  • Are there jewelry designs that would hold up much better in Continuum than regular sterling, like pavé?
  • I've spoken to several jewelers and silversmiths—both locally and online—and while all have experience with Argentium, and are happy to use it as an alternative to regular sterling, few work with Continuum. Why?
  • Do you own any Continuum silver pieces? What are your experiences with it?

I'd love to hear both from jewelry owners and anyone in trade who has worked with this alloy.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 22, 2014
Messages
6,326
I don’t know about Continuum Silver, sounds intriguing.
Is it proprietary?
While hardness is important, so too is malleability. This is why gold is so revered, it can be Hammered out to micron thickness and while a gold prong may bend, it’s unlikely to “snap”.
Can Continuum Silver be “reworked”? That I understand is an issue with sterling silver, brittle if not impossible to re work so resizing a ring / repairing a bent claw isn’t viable, well that’s what I’ve been told. Perhaps it’s more to do with the cost to repair vs value of item ie silver rings are cheap and usually only contain semi precious or synthetic gems.
 

MidModMin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
136
I don’t know about Continuum Silver, sounds intriguing.
Is it proprietary?

Yes, it is a Stuller alloy and only available through them. Here is a link to their overview: https://www.stuller.com/benchjewele...ore-about-stullers-continuum-sterling-silver/

And here is a link to their tech sheet: https://assets.stullercloud.com/web/apps/images/kbimages/metals/Continuum_DataSheetPR.pdf

It seems to be their competitor to Argentium, though I think Continuum is harder. It is similarly lower tarnishing and also whiter than sterling, and can be fused. It doesn't firescale and also has more than 92.5% silver content, but unlike Argentium, I don't think it has germanium.

While hardness is important, so too is malleability. This is why gold is so revered, it can be Hammered out to micron thickness and while a gold prong may bend, it’s unlikely to “snap”.
Can Continuum Silver be “reworked”? That I understand is an issue with sterling silver, brittle if not impossible to re work so resizing a ring / repairing a bent claw isn’t viable, well that’s what I’ve been told. Perhaps it’s more to do with the cost to repair vs value of item ie silver rings are cheap and usually only contain semi precious or synthetic gems.

I don't know. I'd love to learn more. Like you, I'm intrigued.
 
Last edited:

MidModMin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
136
I might be odd to reply to one of my old threads, but I want to put some information here for posterity. I had a Continuum pendant made about a year and a half ago and have been observing it, as well as doing additional research on the alloy. I bet I am not the only one who searches Pricescope when researching jewelry, so hopefully this information might help someone else.
  • Continuum tarnishes noticeably faster than Argentium.
  • The pendant has held the diamond melee securely, though I'd be surprised if anything well made would start losing melee after only a year.
  • After doing research, I found out that Continuum is a platinum sterling alloy.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
18,773
I don’t know about Continuum Silver, sounds intriguing.
Is it proprietary?
While hardness is important, so too is malleability. This is why gold is so revered, it can be Hammered out to micron thickness and while a gold prong may bend, it’s unlikely to “snap”.
Can Continuum Silver be “reworked”? That I understand is an issue with sterling silver, brittle if not impossible to re work so resizing a ring / repairing a bent claw isn’t viable, well that’s what I’ve been told. Perhaps it’s more to do with the cost to repair vs value of item ie silver rings are cheap and usually only contain semi precious or synthetic gems.

A few months back i had a ss ring resized
it was way too small so would have needed metal added in
it seemed to be no problem but i was warmed about the cost
I had a few things done and the bill wasn't itemized :wall:

I think some times the price of resizing might become more than the value of a ring
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
18,773
I might be odd to reply to one of my old threads, but I want to put some information here for posterity. I had a Continuum pendant made about a year and a half ago and have been observing it, as well as doing additional research on the alloy. I bet I am not the only one who searches Pricescope when researching jewelry, so hopefully this information might help someone else.
  • Continuum tarnishes noticeably faster than Argentium.
  • The pendant has held the diamond melee securely, though I'd be surprised if anything well made would start losing melee after only a year.
  • After doing research, I found out that Continuum is a platinum sterling alloy.

Intetesting
Thanks for updating
 

Andrew7

Rough_Rock
Trade
Joined
Dec 8, 2022
Messages
1
Continuum is approximately 95% silver, 2.75% palladium, 1% tin, and 0.75% zinc by weight. Here is the patent
I have been making jewelry since 2003.
Tarnishing is very individual from person to person. I have speculated about factors influencing this, but I remain uncertain.

Is Continuum silver an alternative to platinum and/or white gold? Why or why not? Yes, it makes a suitable alternative in some cases. The primary drawback is that it is perceived as a lesser alternative to platinum and gold. By the same token, it is perceived as an upgrade when compared to sterling silver. There no other distinct downsides in my experience. For the vast majority of my clients it appears not to tarnish, at least for items that experience some friction in use, such as rings. I think the tarnish that can form tends to be very superficial and easily removed, but the utility of that would obviously be contingent on the specifics of the design in question.

Are there jewelry designs that would hold up much better in Continuum than regular sterling, like pavé? Yes, virtually any design will be improved with Continuum.

I've spoken to several jewelers and silversmiths—both locally and online—and while all have experience with Argentium, and are happy to use it as an alternative to regular sterling, few work with Continuum. Why? Speculating here, the industry is steeped in tradition and guided by client's expectations. It is a slow process to get a fundamentally new standard accepted by the general public, in part because the average client is a bit nervous and seeking comfortable familiarity, and the jeweler is incentivized to provide that familiarity.

Do you own any Continuum silver pieces? What are your experiences with it? I've been working with it since it first came out. I still own some of the articles I made, and I have not seen them tarnish or have any other issues. Compared to sterling silver, its a fabulous upgrade. Compared to platinum or palladium its almost an ideal moneysaving option, but it could possibly tarnish for some wearers. I dislike white gold, so I regard continuum as a superior option in most cases.
 

pearlsngems

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 4, 2010
Messages
2,167
I don’t know about Continuum Silver, sounds intriguing.
Is it proprietary?
While hardness is important, so too is malleability. This is why gold is so revered, it can be Hammered out to micron thickness and while a gold prong may bend, it’s unlikely to “snap”.
Can Continuum Silver be “reworked”? That I understand is an issue with sterling silver, brittle if not impossible to re work so resizing a ring / repairing a bent claw isn’t viable, well that’s what I’ve been told. Perhaps it’s more to do with the cost to repair vs value of item ie silver rings are cheap and usually only contain semi precious or synthetic gems.

My husband says sterling silver is not brittle and can be reworked/resized. (He makes things for himself, and sometimes for me, as a hobby.)
 

MeowMeow

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
1,543
Hmm I actually just dropped off a silver ring yesterday to be resized half a size up and have the band to be shaped to be more comfort fit since I'm such a delicate princess these days and can no longer deal with the feeling of edges lmao. Cost was sub 40 dollars. Jeweller didn't mention sterling being difficult or anything like that. Very interesting to learn about though! I might ask him if I remember how he feels about silver workability, but he seemed to think it would be very easy. I don't have any continum silver though. I have been trying to switch to buying argentium whenever possible though.
 

MidModMin

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 7, 2017
Messages
136
Continuum is approximately 95% silver, 2.75% palladium, 1% tin, and 0.75% zinc by weight. Here is the patent
I have been making jewelry since 2003.
Tarnishing is very individual from person to person. I have speculated about factors influencing this, but I remain uncertain.

Is Continuum silver an alternative to platinum and/or white gold? Why or why not? Yes, it makes a suitable alternative in some cases. The primary drawback is that it is perceived as a lesser alternative to platinum and gold. By the same token, it is perceived as an upgrade when compared to sterling silver. There no other distinct downsides in my experience. For the vast majority of my clients it appears not to tarnish, at least for items that experience some friction in use, such as rings. I think the tarnish that can form tends to be very superficial and easily removed, but the utility of that would obviously be contingent on the specifics of the design in question.

Are there jewelry designs that would hold up much better in Continuum than regular sterling, like pavé? Yes, virtually any design will be improved with Continuum.

I've spoken to several jewelers and silversmiths—both locally and online—and while all have experience with Argentium, and are happy to use it as an alternative to regular sterling, few work with Continuum. Why? Speculating here, the industry is steeped in tradition and guided by client's expectations. It is a slow process to get a fundamentally new standard accepted by the general public, in part because the average client is a bit nervous and seeking comfortable familiarity, and the jeweler is incentivized to provide that familiarity.

Do you own any Continuum silver pieces? What are your experiences with it? I've been working with it since it first came out. I still own some of the articles I made, and I have not seen them tarnish or have any other issues. Compared to sterling silver, its a fabulous upgrade. Compared to platinum or palladium its almost an ideal moneysaving option, but it could possibly tarnish for some wearers. I dislike white gold, so I regard continuum as a superior option in most cases.

Thank you so much for sharing, @Andrew7. I really appreciate your perspective.
 
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