Answering your questions about silversmithing & silver restoration.
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Re: Re: This is a newbie question, where do you get your silver?

We are wholesalers located in Chiangmai. We actually source our silver beads from various manufacturers here. If you wanted the best price you'd have to contact them directly. That's not a bad idea if you want real quantity. From our experience with the silver companies here they deal primarily in two types of silver. 92.5 which is harder and really of better quality. The other is 100 % which is softer and is easier to shape and mould. This second type is mainly produced by the hill tribe people living in and around Chiangmai.
Hope that Helps

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Many silversmiths buy their silver from precious metal refiners. Some cities have local retailers who will sell you small quantities of the silver you may need in wire or sheet form. Most silversmiths do not alloy their own sterling silver or make their own sterling ingots since it is already available in standard sizes and shapes. Check your Phone Directory for a local jeweler's supply retailer or check the web for precious metal refiners. Many jewelry suppliers offer mail order if you do not have a local supplier. Check our Society of American Silversmiths website for some refiners.