Silver Refining Process
The silver refining process takes impurities from the precious metal. It is different from other processes, like smelting and calcination, because refining does not cause a chemical change in the silver. It simply creates silver in a purer form.
In ancient times, silver was extracted from lead through cupellation, where lead was melted in a “cupel” and air blown across the surface. The oxidized lead left a button of silver. In the 1700s, the process moved to reverberatory furnaces with air blown over the surface of the lead from bellows. In the 1800s, that air came from blowing cylinders.
In 1833, the Pattinson process emerged, which focused on lead and silver melting at different temperatures. Iron pots were heated from below and lead was put in a central pot and melted. As it cooled, it was moved to the next pot in one direction with the remaining metal transferred to a pot in the opposite direction.
The process was repeated, with as many as nine pots being used. It led to lead at one end of the system and silver at the other.
The Parkes process, patented 17 years after the Pattinson process, used zinc to form a material the silver enters. The material floated on the lead, making it easier to recover silver.
About Silver Refiners
Silver refiners serve jewelers, goldsmiths, dentists, salvage companies, the health-care industry, and other businesses and professionals that deal with the precious metal.
The refining process is used to help determine the value of silver content in particular jewelry pieces as it lets the refiner know how much silver is in a piece of jewelry, With silver refined, the silver content can be determined. If silver content is less than 60 or 70 percent of a fire assay bead, the refiner knows the jewelry is not of as high quality as other pieces.
The process to refine silver helps keep retail prices down as the most silver possible is extracted from silver pieces. The silver is reused instead of new silver having to be mined. The silver-refining process keeps resale prices higher as individuals know the piece can be refined and silver taken from it for the return on their money. Refine silver and it can be sold or reworked into another piece of jewelry.
A silver refiner provides precious metal recovery that recycles material, keeping it out of landfills. Whether it be scrap metal or jewelry, the process of refining silver separates silver from other metals and waste.
Scrap from the process, such as silver metal foil, silver leaf, and antique silver is weighed and smelted. As the scrap becomes liquified in a furnace, ash and borax are included to separate pure silver from other precious and non-precious metals. A sample is removed for assaying, where the silver content is measured.
Assaying is used to determine the value of items as it provides information on silver content. Some refiners also use an X-ray system to confirm silver content during the refining process.
The largest consumers of silver are Kodak and Fuji. That is because more silver is used for photography than any other product. Large amounts of silver are also used for silverware, jewelry and industrial products.
Silver is also used to treat burn victims as it kills bacteria, allowing the individual to heal more quickly.
Silver has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal.
The United States, Mexico, and South America are the largest producers of silver.
With all this information, you may wonder how to refine silver. This is a complicated process and not something that someone should attempt to do on their own, without proper training.
A silver refiner mixes silver in with other metal, such as gold and copper, because different amounts of other precious metals can be in a piece of jewelry.
The refiner of silver creates bars of metal and dumps them into ice water to reduce particle size. The bars are dissolved in nitric acid and hydrochloric acid for six to twelve hours. Nitric acid attacks the silver and copper and puts the metals in liquid form. The pure silver is then extracted, dried and cooled.
The refining of silver puts the precious metal back into use, making a positive impact on the world around us. Worn-down jewelry, scrap silver, and silver coins can be refined into pure silver bullion. As the price of silver continues to increase, selling that bullion can be a windfall for an individual, and thus silver refining is becoming a growing business.
Refining sterling silver produces silver and other metals as sterling silver is more than 92 percent silver, with the remaining eight percent being copper or another metal. The added metal provides strength as items of 100 percent silver would bend. Sterling silver is primarily used for jewelry and silverware.
Silver refiners have the expertise to melt silver jewelry and other pieces of jewelry into their liquid form and rework them into other uses. Most also buy, refine, and assay gold, silver, platinum, and palladium.
A silver refinery may be an option if you have silver jewelry you no longer wear or use. Gold and silver refiners will provide money for your jewelry and other items containing precious metals.
If you are considering selling silver jewelry, Cash4Gold is ready to work with you. With a relentless commitment to customer service, Cash4Gold will help with any pieces of silver jewelry that you have to sell. Cash4Gold’s staff is readily available to answer your questions seven days a week.
Cash4Gold strives to educate its consumers about the process, letting you know how the process works and how you can get cash for unwanted jewelry.