Q: What is Argentium Silver?
A: Argentium is a silver alloy created to be tarnish resistant. Traditional Sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Argentium uses 93.5% silver, with the balance made from copper and a small amount of germanium. The germanium makes the silver more tarnish resistant, and stronger than Sterling.
Q: Is it solid silver or plated?
A: The pen nibs are the only parts which are plated unless otherwise noted in the description. They are solid 18k gold, and plated to an appropriate colour for the pen. All other pieces are solid metal as described.
Q: What is niello?
A: Niello is a silver alloy which has been in use for at least 6000 years. The exact alloy of niello changes through history based primarily upon the location the piece was made. The alloy I use is made from silver, copper, lead and sulfur. I alloy all of the niello used in my pieces.
Q: What is enamel?
A: Enamel is coloured glass which has been fused onto the metal base at high temperature. It is built up in many thin layers, creating a vibrant layer of glass. Enamel work requires a great deal of time and skill, however, the results are stunning.
I do not use epoxies, acrylics, or resins to simulate enamel. None of the quick alternatives to enamel have the same high index of refraction, or the satisfying weight of enamel.
Q: Is this really a limited edition pen?
A: All of my pieces are either one of a kind, or limited edition. The pens are limited to 10 in silver and one in gold for any design, and are numbered as such. Once a design is sold out, it will no longer be offered.
Custom designs are always unique, and will never be reproduced for another client.
Q: Do you use real or synthetic stones?
A: I use both depending upon the piece. I normally use natural or lab made stones, and all will be clearly labelled in the description.
Stones may be described as:
- Natural: This is a natural stone. It has most likely been treated in some way to improve the colour or clarity, but it is natural (it is nearly impossible to find stones which haven't been treated in some way).
- Lab Made: This is a lab made version of a naturally occurring stone (for instance sapphire). Chemically it is identical to the natural stone, however, it was made in a lab to be nearly perfect. Lab made stones are less expensive, have better colour, and are often flawless, compared to their natural counterparts.
- Synthetic: Synthetic stones are entirely lab made materials which do not correspond to a natural stone. Cubic Zirconia is a perfect example of a synthetic stone. They are very cheap compared to the others, have perfect colour, and are flawless.
A: I do not customize nibs here in the shop. Nib customization is a specialized skill, and it is worthwhile getting a specialist to do the work. I recommend using Mike Masuyama from Mike It Work for nib customization and tuning. I am happy to make arrangements with Mike to modify a nib if you know what you would like. There is an extra charge for customizations.