Don’t Be Fooled into Buying these Metal Items

Don’t Be Fooled into Buying these Metal Items

Shakespeare once wrote, “All that glitters is not gold.” If he had thought about it, he could have written something similar about silver, platinum, rhodium, and other precious metals. The fact is that some shiny things that look like they should be worth a lot of money really aren’t. They either don’t contain any precious metals at all or they contain such small quantities that there is no point sending them to a qualified precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, because the cost of extracting those metals will be greater than the value of the metals themselves.

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Why Watching Downton Abbey Can Help You Make Money in Precious Metals

Why Watching Downton Abbey Can Help You Make Money in Precious Metals

Watching Downton Abbey can alert you to all kinds of antique precious-metal items that you can find if you’re shopping online, at antique stores, at estate sales . . . just about everywhere old metal items can be found. Here’s a checklist of items that we noticed during just one episode of the show...

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Best Places to Find Precious Metals in Businesses that Are Closing

Best Places to Find Precious Metals in Businesses that Are Closing

It is always sad to see a business fail – someone’s hopes, dream and dollars are wrapped up in every enterprise. But a business that has closed can spell opportunity if you’re an alert investor who wants to buy precious metals for recycling.

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The Cash Cleanup . . .

The Cash Cleanup . . .

If you forgot to do any spring cleaning, these energizing autumn days can be a good time to get going. If you do, there is a pretty good chance that you’ll discover some items that will provide you with a bigger payback than you realize. Here are some items that are lying around my house. Odds are pretty good that they can be recycled very profitably by a top precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. 

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Three Shady Precious Metal Scams You Should Know About

Three Shady Precious Metal Scams You Should Know About

If you called a precious metals refinery for an over-the-phone appraisal, you would be pretty excited to hear the words, “Your scrap could be worth an awful lot of money.” And you should be happy. The problem is, those words could lure you into one of the precious metal scams that are happening today.

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Five Golden Rings: Have You Got Yours Yet?

Five Golden Rings: Have You Got Yours Yet?

So if there is enough gold on earth for each of us to own five golden rings, have you gotten yours yet? I am not joking, because if you devote some time and energy to acquiring gold, you can get to that five-ring, .76 troy ounce figure more quickly than you expect. Where can you find that gold? For starters, in places like these that you might be overlooking. . .

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Raise Money for Your Favorite Cause with a Gold Drive

A gold drive can be a great way to raise money for religious institutions, charities, hospital or other causes that you support, whether you are a local business, a manufacturer with ties to your community or just as an individual who wants to help a good cause.

Best of all, gold drives are simple to set up and run. You ask people to donate cellphones, old remote control devices, or old eyeglasses. You then send the items that you collect to our qualified precious metals refinery, and we send you payments.

Photo of people in a recycling drive to collect gold-bearing devices like old phones to raise money for their favorite cause with the help of a qualified gold refinery like Specialty Metals.  

It sounds simple, and it is. Yet here are some suggestions for running a successful gold drive.

Select and specify the specific items that you will collect

You can focus on older cellphones, on remote-control devices, on eyeglasses and eyeglass frames – or on a combination of those items. Even in rural areas, it is possible to collect a surprisingly large number of older cellphones every month.

Work with the staff of the cause that you are supporting

The people who work there can do a lot to assure the success of your efforts. They can place collection bins in front of their premises and elsewhere. They can also announce the gold drive in their publications, place articles with local newspapers and websites, utilize their staff to help monitor and run the drive, and provide other assistance to help assure success. And if you are a business, you can use your own location as a collection center as well, strengthening your ties to your community and bringing in additional traffic.

Allow enough time to spread the word

It can also be a good idea to make your drive open-ended – not something that you run for just a few months, but an ongoing activity that will become known and generate income in the years ahead. It takes time for people to learn about drives and to respond. 

Consider involving students

High school students, members of scouting organizations, and other young people today are often eager to participate in projects that help their communities. With just a few calls, you could recruit young people who can go door-to-door, stand in front of stores to promote your drive, and do lots of other “legwork” that can make your drive a success.

Let Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners Help You Succeed

We are ready to help make your gold drive an ongoing success.  To learn more, call us at 800-426-2344.

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Don’t Let Precious Silver and Gold Go Down the Drain

If you are in the process of dismantling or selling a manufacturing company, you owe it to yourself and to your bottom line to be sure that you are not overlooking silver and gold that are literally hiding “down the drain” in pipes and other places that you can’t see.

As this photo shows, precious metals can get washed down the drain in many manufacturing processes. They can be reclaimed with the help of a leading gold and silver refinery like Specialty Metals.

Here is some information you should know that could put money in your pocket.

Where can gold and silver be hiding?

It is not uncommon to find them . . .

  • Adhering to the sides of plating and processing tanks
  • Lining the pipes that connect tanks and other pieces of equipment
  • Hiding in screens, filters, mesh, drains and drain traps
  • Clumping in sludge
  • Piling up in quantities of shavings or dust

In those places, gold can often be detected by the naked eye – it does not tarnish and is often easy to spot. Silver, however, may look like a dull black powder. It takes a qualified silver refinery like us to test a sample of what you have to determine its true value.

What manufacturing companies are good places to look for gold?

Some businesses come to mind quickly, others are less obvious . . .

What manufacturing companies are good places to look for silver?

You can find quantities of silver in . . .

  • Plating companies
  • Manufacturers of trophies and commemorative items
  • Photo processing companies and x-ray and imaging laboratories (silver is found down the drain under processing tanks, in processing chemicals, in film, and in photosensitive papers)
  • Manufacturers, dismantlers, and installers of solar panels

Call Us for a Complimentary Consultation

We are here to answer all your questions about gold and silver. Call us at 800-426-2344 for a complimentary consultation.

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Why Money Can Be Found in Your Used Electroplating Supplies

How to Get Big Dollars from Your Small Quantities of Gold Scrap

With gold now trading in the range of about $1,300 per troy ounce on the London Fix, you might be thinking that this would be a good time to hold onto your reserves of gold scrap and wait for prices to rise.

Photo of gold dollar signs that symbolizes how you can get big dollars from small quantities of gold scrap at Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

You could do that, of course. But sending your gold-plated items and gold scrap to a qualified gold refinery could be a good strategy today too, depending on your company’s current financial needs, the quantity of gold you have on hand, and other variables. It’s a business decision for you to make, of course. But here is some information that could help you make that decision in a more informed way.

Certain Items of Gold Scrap Contain Larger Quantities of Gold than You Might Expect

These forms of gold scrap contain more than trace amounts of gold. If you have even a small quantity of them on hand, they could provide you with a good infusion of cash . . .

  • Dental scrap. This includes bridges, bridgework, crowns, bars, inlays, clasps, and even grindings, which are small quantities of gold dust that result when gold-containing dental appliances are cut.
  • Quantities of gold-filled eyeglass frames. If they were made more than 30 years ago – back in the days when eyeglass frames were supposed to be refitted with new lenses, not tossed – they could contain much more gold than newer thin-plated frames do.
  • Quantities of gold-plated decorative items. People have discovered significant quantities of valuable gold in gold-plated chandeliers, candelabras, doorknobs, automobile trim pieces, and even plumbing fixtures. If it glimmers like gold, it could be worth more than you suspect. It’s worth sending to us for analysis.
  • Gold-bearing microchips, printed circuit boards, and older electronic components. Older items, such as the big fat central processing units (CPUs) from older desktop computers can contain more recyclable gold than you expect – sometimes as much as $3.00 worth of gold for each CPU that you recycle. And even newer printed circuit board that are found in cellphones, laptops and tablet computers can contain quantities of gold with value that can really add up.

Want to Know More about Recycling Gold and Gold Scrap?

We are here to answer your questions with no pressure from us . . . and no obligation on your part. Why not call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more?

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The Next Time You Recycle Gold-Plated Items, Thank Luigi Brugnatelli

The art of modern electroplating was discovered in 1805 by an Italian chemist named Luigi Brugnatelli. In essence, he was tinkering with early battery technologies that had been discovered by his friend and compatriot Alessandro Volta. (Volta’s name, as you probably guessed, is the basis of the English word “volt.”) Brugnatelli noticed that quantities of gold could be deposited on silver items when they were immersed in a battery-like bath of electrolytic fluid. And he was off and running.

A portrait of Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli (1761-1818), the father of gold electroplating, from "Cenni su la vita di L. V. Brugnatelli" Biblioteca di farmacia (1836 gen, Serie 2, Volume 5)

A portrait of Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli (1761-1818), the father of gold electroplating, from "Cenni su la vita di L. V. Brugnatelli" Biblioteca di farmacia (1836 gen, Serie 2, Volume 5)

If you do a search for Brugnatelli’s name online, you will find a lot of biographical information, including an excellent history of his life on the website of Artisan Plating, a company that specializes in high-quality plating. (Artisan Plating is like a mirror image of Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. It specializes in applying lavish layers of gold and other precious metals to other metal surfaces, while we are a precious metals refinery that extracts them.)

Here are some highlights from the life of Brugnatelli, which we have adapted from the information on the Artisan Plating website and other online sources. We’re telling you his story because it could help you understand more about the value that could be found in the gold scrap and gold-plated items that you might own.

In 1805 . . .

Brugnatelli was the first person to use the process of electroplating. He applied a layer of gold to silver plates. For some reason, Napoleon’s French Academy of Sciences didn’t like the discovery or report on it in its publications. The Academy, which was the leading scientific organization in Europe, also stopped other scientific journals from reporting that Brugnatelli had discovered electroplating.

Until about 1845 . . .

Because Brugnatelli’s big news had been hidden, two cruder ways to plate gold onto other metals remained in widespread use. One – the more common and the more poisonous – was a process that used gold leaf and mercury to deposit layers of gold onto heated surfaces. Another was called water gilding, in which the object to be gold plated was immersed in a solution of gold chloride and water, with no electricity used. That technology could deposit only a thin layer of decorative gold.

In about 1839 . . .

Henry and George Elkington, two English scientists, independently discovered gold electroplating and started to use it commercially. At about the same time, Russians starting using it too. According to the Artisan Plating website, the process was first used in Russia to apply gold plating to metals that would be used in cathedral domes. The size of those electroplating tanks must have been pretty big!

After 1850 . . .

Tank electroplating became the method of choice for applying layers of gold onto silver and other surfaces, replacing the use of processes that exposed people to noxious mercury gas.

Brugnatelli finally had his day, even though he was not around to see his electroplating discovery gain almost universal application.

If Brugnatelli Were Alive Today . . .

He would sputter to see the way that gold sputtering targets are now used to apply thin, yet durable, layers of gold onto other metals. The thick layers of gold that he liked to apply to other metals are now nearly a thing of the past, at least in the way eyeglass frames and other items are coated with gold.

If you have gold items – especially gold-filled older items such as eyeglass frames and jewelry that is more than about 40 years old, they could contain valuable quantities of gold that are worth recycling. So do your used gold sputtering targets. To learn more, call us at 800-426-2344.

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Recycling Gold Filled Scrap - Big Dollars Could Be Hiding in Small Items

Jewelry manufacturers have recently gotten very good at depositing extremely thin layers of gold onto other metals. The result? Most of the gold-plated pieces of jewelry that have been manufactured in the last few years are not worth recycling at all. The cost of refining the gold they contain is higher than the value of the gold itself.

Image of an assortment of karat gold and gold-filled jewelry, which Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for the best prices for individuals and businesses.

But if you have large quantities of older gold-filled items, that is another story. As recently as 20 years ago, manufacturers of the following items were applying far thicker platings of gold than are common today . . .

  • Gold-filled Jewelry – Even small pins, bracelets, and chains can contain quantities of gold that are worth recycling. It is also worth remembering that as recently as only a few decades ago, relatively inexpensive watches often had gold-filled cases that contained quantities of gold that can be quite valuable today.
  • Trophies, plaques, and commemorative items – Today, they contain very little gold. But in years past, that was not the case. If you have a quantity of them, they can be well worth recycling.
  • Gold-filled Eyeglass frames It is easy to overlook the value that resides in them, because they are small and lightweight. But to restate the point, older gold-filled eyeglass frames – those made 20 or more years ago – contain much more gold than frames that are manufactured today.
  • Gold-filled plates, dishes, cutlery, candlesticks and other items – If you’re lucky enough to own quantities of older items, you could be sitting on quite a valuable quantity of gold.

Stampings to Look for on Gold-Filled Items

Look over the gold-filled items that you have. Not all gold-filled scrap items will be stamped with numbers that indicate how much gold they contain. But if you do notice numbers like these stamped onto items, here is that they mean:

  • “1/10 10K” means that 1/10 of the weight of your item is 10K (10 karat) gold.
  • “1/10 12K” means that 1/10 the weight of your frame is 12K gold. And so on.

If you have large quantities of gold-plated and gold-filled scrap, call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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Ask a Gold Refinery - What’s the Difference between Gold-Plated and Gold-Filled Eyeglass Frames?

If you look closely at older eyeglass frames made before about 1975, you might notice some curious numbers stamped on the temple pieces (the pieces that run up over the wearer’s ears) or on the frames themselves. The markings might be something like “1/10 10K.” What do those numbers tell you? What do they mean? And if you are in possession of a large quantity of gold optical and eyeglasses scrap, how much money can you get from recycling?

They Mean that Your Eyeglass Frames Are Valuable

They mean that you have eyeglass frames that are not gold plated, but gold-filled. Here’s the difference.

Shown: a shipment of optical and eyeglasses scrap that a customer sent to Specialty Metals for us to recycle, refine and recover gold from.

Shown: a shipment of optical and eyeglasses scrap that a customer sent to Specialty Metals for us to recycle, refine and recover gold from.

  • “Gold-plated” frames, like nearly all frames made today, have only a very thin layer of gold plated onto them – only a few microns.
  • “Gold-filled” frames are plated with a thicker layer of gold – in some cases, up to 100 times thicker than what you will find on today’s gold-plated glasses. They were made back the days when gold was much cheaper than it is today. The idea was to produce a thick plating that would endure through years of use, not get tossed after a few years.

What Do Those Numbers Mean?

It’s actually pretty simple. If you find the marking “1/10 10K,” that means that 1/10 of the weight of your frame is 10K (10 karat) gold. If you find a marking that says, “1/10 12K,” that means that 1/10 the weight of your frame is 12K gold, and so on.

If you have a laboratory scale, you can pretty easily estimate how much karat gold is in a pair of old frames. If 1/10 of the weight of your frames is 10K gold, for example, you’ll quickly know how much 10K gold they contain. Remember that karat-rated gold means that you are dealing with an alloy of gold, not pure gold; only 24k is pure gold, which you will never find in eyeglass frames. Because you are dealing with an alloy, it is a bit more difficult to understand just how much pure gold your older eyeglass frames contain.

That’s why you should call us. We’ll be happy to help you dig the dollars out of your older gold-filled frames. Call our gold refining experts at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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