Recycling gold and silver

Apr 08 2010

For the past 3 years, I have watched the precious metals market climbing to skyrocketing prices per ounce.  It used to be that gold was in the $250-400 for a long time, and I did a lot of gold jewelry, and silver was a bargain at around $5-6 per oz.   I used silver for everything, demos, prototypes, finished jewelry, you name it.   At the beginning of the recession, the price of gold, silver and palladium started climbing rapidly.   Silver did hit $20 an oz briefly, but it seems to hover in the $17+ range for the past year or so.   Gold did climb up to $1300 once, but seems to have settled in the $1000-1100 range for now.  Platinum did hit $2000 an oz but now is around $1500-1700 range these days.   I've never seen such high increases, and it's agony for us jewelers and metalsmiths.  I don't  have much hair left from tearing my hair out.

To keep my silver and gold budget from bankrupting me, I've gotten very good at recycling my silver and gold scraps.   I usually sort out the clean silver scrap that has no silver solder on it, and melt it down into small round bars, that I roll thru the rolling mill into thinner square wire.  Then I draw the square wire thru a drawplate, a thick steel plate that has holes that get progressively smaller and smaller, resulting in round wire in the specific size I  need.  It's a lot of work melting, rolling and drawing wire, but it helps to reuse the silver and gold scrap and lets me have wire on demand.

One of my students and friend asked me if I would take her mother's old gold jewelry as well as old gold that is not worn anymore, and make some new jewelry.   By the time, I finished melting all the gold, it was a 7 oz slab of 14kt gold.  It took me almost a year to roll out, forge, hammer and texture a part of the gold slab into a wide cuff bracelet which she loves.   There is still more gold left, so I've made 3 pairs of earrings, a chuncky chain bracelet - see picture above, and a gold necklace that is stunning.   I still have 2 more bracelets to make from the gold still remaining.   I've never made anything so big in gold before so it was nice to make some serious bling.

When you think about it, it's worthwhile to take your old gold jewelry you don't wear anymore, and have a jeweler or me melt it down and remake it into more modern, wearable jewelry.  I'm doing the same thing for another client - took her old rings and melt them down to make new bracelets.   Something to think about.   By the way, don't sell your old gold to CASH4Gold - there's a lawsuit pending since they don't really give you full value for your gold.   You are better off selling your old gold to a responsible refiner like Hoover and Strong which I sell my old silver scrap that I cannot reuse.

Think about it - here's a chance to have new jewelry made from your old gold at a fraction of the cost that it would if you bought new gold jewelry.  I'm happy to do a gold makeover for you!


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