About Gold Jewelry Refining
The process of refining gold jewelry is perhaps the most critical and misunderstood aspect in the current gold-trading industry.
Gold jewelry, be it class rings, bracelets, lockets, earrings or chains, are actually not pure gold. These items are mixed with copper, silver and other metals. In order for Cash4Gold to sell gold in its purest state, the gold must be separated from these other metals through the process known as refining.
Jewelry refining is a complicated yet sophisticated process best performed by experts using state-of-the-art technology. And Cash4Gold strives to educate its customers on every aspect of the business.
While there are many ways to refine gold jewelry, the following process is the most effective; though it should be noted that the Cash4Gold refining process is effortless in more ways than one. Aside from their relentless commitment to customer service and availability, the often difficult refining process includes the safe and proper storage of refining materials and emission and pollution standards.
Following the standard Cash4Gold steps, items submitted to Cash4Gold are processed, documented and submitted to the refinery.
The first step of jewelry refining involves the melting down of the metals. This allows the gold to homogenize, which is quickly followed by an ice bath to reduce the particle size.
Once this process is complete, jewelry refiners separate the gold. Upon the melting and cooling of the jewelry, the remaining bars contain copper, silver, gold and other metals. These bars are then dissolved in a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid to reduce particle size. The nitric acid attacks copper and silver and over a period of six to twelve hours, the metals are turned into a liquid.
This process is also known as the Aqua Regia Process and can result in gold of up to 99.99 percent purity. The resale value of gold depends on its purity.
This process results in a rust-colored, highly acidic liquid. A jewelry refiner will then add urea to the liquid to neutralize the solution before the gold can be separated. Once neutralized, the jewelry refinery process gasses the acid using a bubbling sulfur dioxide into the “pregnant solution” or the material impregnated with gold. As the gas bubbles, the gold drops to the bottom of the tank. When all the gold drops to the bottom, the solution contains copper and silver remains.
This solution is then forwarded into a waiting tank. The bottom of the tank contains a “yellowish” sludge material that is actually gold. It is optimal that following precipitation, the solution rests at least overnight. This would allow gold particles to settle as sludge on the bottom. The residue liquid can then be skimmed off and the remaining portion with the gold filtered.
The gold is approximately 99 percent pure, but still needs to be washed with a sulfuric acid to clean out all remaining silver and copper. A highly-sophisticated filtering system allows de-ionized water to wash the material. This process results in a cake of gold powder. The powder is finally melted at a temperature of 2,200 degrees and poured into bars.
The final process in refining gold jewelry is to remove the copper and silver. Despite the previous complex process, some silver and copper still remains and must be treated. The silver is removed by using chemicals that remove the ammonia and raise the pH level of the liquid. A coagulant material is added to pull out small particles of copper. All that remains is a muddy cake of copper. The remaining liquid is then put through a polishing filter. After this, the remaining liquid is salty water.
Need Jewelry Refining
From time to time, some jewelers who attempt the process of jewelry refining themselves are discouraged with the amount of time and resources wasted considering the amount of gold recovered. It is entirely possible that the jewelers may not be dissolving all of the gold fully in the first step or not precipitating all the gold in the reducing step.
Similar to other refining methods, strong acids require special handling in the Aqua Regia process. Understanding the risks involved in this process is crucial. It is highly recommended that if this process is to be undertaken that trained chemists are available and facilities are safe.
All of the previously mentioned refining methods require the implementation of a safety plan. This could include obtaining permits and special licensing by the Environmental Protection Agency. For these reasons and more, it is often safer-and more cost-effective-to rely on experts in refined jewelry like Cash4Gold.
It doesn’t make financial sense, in most cases, to spend more money on processing costs when it doesn’t result in a reasonable amount of recovered metals. When the cost of in-house refining is compared, on average, to the amount of metals recovered (gold and other metals) by an outside refinery, it makes more sense to rely on the process of refining gold jewelry to a commercial refiner like Cash4Gold.
Cash4Gold prices are determined by melt value (intrinsic value). Melt value refers to the amount of gold, platinum, or silver that can be extracted/recycled from a piece of jewelry. Melt value is determined by the weight, quality, and daily price of the precious metal in question.