Metal Melting Points
When your gold, silver, and platinum jewelry has been damaged beyond repair, it may not be worth anything to you, but it still has value. Cash4Gold’s professionals don’t see broken earrings, bracelets, lockets, rings, and chains. We see the precious metals that were used to originally make the piece.
Unlike other companies that recover precious metals from jewelry, Cash4Gold actually owns its own refinery. That means the company doesn’t have to pay a middleman to recover the metals so Cash4Gold can pay more to you for your gold, silver, and platinum.
Now, you won’t receive back the amount you paid for the jewelry. That price included the jeweler’s craftsmanship and markup (up to 20 times the value of the metal). Cash4Gold is interested in the “melt value” of the jewelry. This is the value of the gold, silver, and platinum used to create the piece. The melt value is determined by the weight of the precious metals in the jewelry, the quality of those metals, and what the market price is for the metals. This last factor changes daily and can vary greatly from day to day.
Why Refining Is Needed
It might surprise you, but your gold chain that can’t be repaired is not pure gold. Precious metals used in jewelry are generally mixed with other metals to make them more durable and affordable. However, the value of the jewelry once it’s broken is in the precious metals, and not necessarily the metals it has been mixed with.
That means the gold, silver, and platinum in your broken jewelry must first be refined down to their pure states.
Refining begins with melting down the jewelry. The metal melting points differ, but they all require high temperatures. The gold melting point is nearly 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, while the silver melting point is nearly 1800 degrees, and the platinum melting point is more than 3200 degrees.
Gold is the most popular metal for jewelry. Gold is attractive because it is easy to work and can be stretched very thin without breaking. A gram of gold can be hammered into a sheet that is a square meter in size. However, gold’s malleability is also a detriment because pure gold can be easily damaged. For this reason, it is mixed with other metals for jewelry to give it strength and durability. Common gold alloys are silver, copper, palladium, and nickel.
The melting point of gold is 1947.52 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, gold turns from a solid to a liquid. In its pure, molten form, gold will still appear yellow. It is one of only a few metals that have a natural color other than gray or white.
In July 2009, gold was trading for over $930 an ounce. Note: precious metals are weighed in troy ounces, which are 9.6 percent heavier than regular ounce weights.
Though silver has been considered a precious metal for centuries, most of it comes as a byproduct of gold, copper, lead, and zinc refining. Though silver often plays second fiddle to gold, it has a number of varied uses beyond jewelry, such as electrical contacts, photographic film, silverware, disinfectants, and even in medicine before the discovery of antibiotics.
The melting point of silver is 1763.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Once silver turns molten, it still appears silver in color, though in its natural form, its color is more whitish. In its refined form, it tends to turn black with tarnish when exposed to air.
In July 2009, silver was trading for over $13.50 an ounce. It is an inexpensive precious metal, which makes it attractive for jewelry, both as silver and in alloys with gold.
Platinum is extremely rare. Though used in the creation of jewelry, platinum is often used as a catalyst in chemical reactions. Its largest use is in automobile emission control devices. Platinum can also be found in various electronics.
The platinum melting point is 3214.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of its whitish color, it is sometimes mistaken for silver, but platinum is whiter and more valuable.
In July 2009, platinum was trading at nearly $1,200 an ounce.
Refining the Metals
Once in their molten forms, the metals are poured into an ice water bath that reduces the particle size and creates metal bars. The bars are then dissolved in an acid mixture.
The dissolved metals are now in liquid, though not molten, form. The solution is neutralized with urea. Sulfur dioxide is then injected into the solution, which causes the gold in the solution to drop to the bottom of the tank.
The solution is removed from the tank revealing a “yellow mud” at the bottom. This is gold that is roughly 99 percent pure. The gold is then washed with sulfuric acid to remove any remaining bits of other metals. A final wash with de-ionized water through a highly efficient filtering system is done.
What now remains is a cake of gold powder that is melted at 2200 degrees Fahrenheit and poured into bars.
The refining is not complete, though, because the acid solution still has other metals in it. Ammonia is added to this solution to raise the pH level and remove silver. A coagulant is added to remove copper.
At the end of the process, all that is left is salty water.
Keeping customers informed about what is needed in order to extract the precious metals from broken jewelry means that our customers understand our goals more clearly. That allows Cash4Gold to build stronger relationships with our customers. We strive to provide premium customer service by making our services available 24/7 through the Internet at: www.cash4gold.com.