Softening Silver by Heat
Annealing is basically making the silver softer by the application of heat. It is a crucial step towards silver jewellery manufacture. The annealing temperature of silver is between 1110-1200°F unlike its melting point which is 1635°F. (890°C)
The easiest method of annealing is with a torch. The portion of the flame you should concentrate on is the area where orange meets blue as generally this is the hottest part of the flame.
The silver should be heated until it is a dull pink colour. Since annealing should be held at the correct temperature for about 30 seconds it is important to maintain that colour for 30 seconds. To do so, slightly draw the flame into and away from the metal making sure you do not overheat the silver i.e. turn it bright orange/white.
When using a torch the colour of the metal in a dark environment is approximately:
- Visibly red 900°F (482°C)
- Deep Cherry Colour 1400°F (760°C)
- Dull Pink-red 1200°F (648°C)
- Bright orange/red 1600°F (871°C)
If you are annealing silver for the first time always try a scrap piece first - test your skills before advancing onto jewellery or other valuable items.