Should You Sell Gold Jewelry to a Walk-In Store or Recycle It with Us?

Should You Sell Gold Jewelry to a Walk-In Store or Recycle It with Us?

Have you ever sold an unwanted piece of gold jewelry to a jeweler or one of those “We Buy Gold” stores?

It’s a straightforward process. You walk in, the person behind the counter checks your item with a gold testing kit, and makes you a cash offer that you can either accept or reject on the spot. But in reality, the person on the other side of the counter is making a lot of calculations that he or she is almost certainly not sharing with you . . .

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Golden Phonograph Records – Do They Exist, and Where Are They?

Golden Phonograph Records – Do They Exist, and Where Are They?

Way back in 1977, NASA launched its Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space probes from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both of them are now about 14 billion miles from Earth and, incredibly, both are still communicating scientific data back to NASA.

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Big Quantities Can Equal Big Profits

Big Quantities Can Equal Big Profits

...When You Recycle These Gold-Plated Items

While you’re poking around at the antiques mall you notice a pair of gold-plated earrings sitting in a tray. You could snag them for less than $10.00, but why bother? They are going to contain only maybe 50 cents worth of gold at best. So you walk on by and keep looking for more interesting items.

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Plato Wants to Know… What Precious Metal Are YOU Made Of?

Plato Wants to Know… What Precious Metal Are YOU Made Of?

It might interest you to know that the Greek philosopher Plato made some philosophical inquiries into precious metals. You remember Plato. He lived from about 428-348 B.C., studied with Socrates, and taught Aristotle how to think. In his famous book The Republic, Plato wrote that human beings, just like precious metals, come from the earth. He also wrote that human beings, like minerals, can be made of three different metals…

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Looking for Gold and Silver in Collectible Knives

Looking for Gold and Silver in Collectible Knives

People are collecting folding pocket knives, hunting knives, highly stylized custom knives crafted by skilled artisans, ancient knives, and knives that fall into other niches. The question is, do any of them contain silver or gold? The short answer is yes, they do and if you take a close look at an unusual knife, it could contain small decorations and “extras” that are made of silver or even gold or platinum. 

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New Apple Robot Shows Us How to Recycle Old iPhones

New Apple Robot Shows Us How to Recycle Old iPhones

Here’s a video that shows how a new robot that Apple designed can pull apart an iPhone and separate out its parts. For reasons we do not know, Apple named this robot Liam. According to Apple, just one Liam robot can recycle 1.2 million iPhones a year.

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What You Need to Know about Making Money in Fabrics Woven with Silver and Gold

What You Need to Know about Making Money in Fabrics Woven with Silver and Gold

...Most of the garments date from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), which was established by none other than the Mongolian conqueror Kublai Khan. That’s a long time ago, but isn’t it still possible to find antique items of clothing that are woven with gold – or maybe with silver or other precious metals? Here’s some information you should know when you go looking for precious metals in antique clothing. 

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Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

If you’re emptying an old factory that produced products that contained metals, chances are good that you will discover wire that contains precious metals.  You might find coils of it in storage areas. You might find little rolls of it hiding in drawers. Unless the previous owners labeled their supplies carefully or the wire is still in its original packaging, you have very little way of knowing what kind of wire you have.

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What’s Happening with Gold?

If you’ve been monitoring the current drop in gold prices, chances are that you have been wondering what is happening with gold. That is a very good question to ask, especially if you own quantities of gold that you would like to recycle or sell at the most opportune time.

Yet as a very wise investor once told me . . .

When everyone is asking the same question, smart investors think of other questions that could be even smarter to ask.

What's going on with gold right now? And is that the only question you should be asking? Maybe now is the time to talk to Specialty Metals about recycling silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium?

What's going on with gold right now? And is that the only question you should be asking? Maybe now is the time to talk to Specialty Metals about recycling silver, platinum, palladium and rhodium?

The message behind that advice is that contrarian thinking is often the best in unsettling times. So instead of following the crowd and fixating on gold, perhaps questions like these will lead you to more profits today.

Smart Questions to Ask

  • Am I overlooking other precious metals that I could recycle profitably today? If you own quantities of catalytic converters, thermocouples, or other items that contain precious metals, could it be wiser to direct your attention to them now? What is happening with gold could be a secondary concern.
  • Could I profit by selling or recycling my gold now, despite the current price levels? If you acquired gold at a price that was lower than its current level, you can still profit by liquidating it now. You make money by selling at a profit, correct? So the current prices may not be a valid consideration.
  • Instead of trying to buy gold now at attractive prices, should I invest in, or recycle, other precious metals instead? Gold is not the only game in town. Other metals, including platinum, are also selling at very attractive prices. Perhaps they offer you a better investing option today.
  • Where can I acquire gold and other precious metals today at below-market prices? We have, for example, recently recycled quantities of used sputtering targets and catalytic converters that our clients acquired for “pennies on the dollar.” Those clients enjoyed a very good return on every dollar they invested, without obsessing about the current trading prices of gold or other precious metals.
  • Why are aggressive recycling companies courting me? In the current climate, a number of firms are attempting to acquire gold now at its lowest price, so they can hold onto them until prices rise. If you are getting solicitations that urge you to liquidate your gold holdings now, it could be wisest to wait for prices to rise so you can realize profits at the right time. Why give away the possibility of claiming future profits for yourself?

Answers to Your Questions about Gold

If gold is on your mind and you have questions about it or other precious metals, this is an opportune time to contact Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344.

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Why You Can Make More Money than Ever by Recycling Silver
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All about Rhodium, the Other Precious Metal
Easy-to-Miss Places where Platinum-Plated Metals Can Be Found




Why It Will Always Pay to Recycle Gold

We live in a world where the latest and most high-tech materials are always in the news. When Ferrari recently showcased a new supercar made almost entirely of carbon fiber, the world became enthralled with that material. When people learned that the surfaces of space shuttles are covered with advanced silica ceramic tiles, everyone suddenly started to think about advanced ceramics. Today Ferrari, Porsche and other car makers are offering very expensive ceramic brake rotors on their vehicles.

While modern materials have remarkable qualities, the fact remains that gold – that’s right, good old gold, an element with the symbol AU and an atomic number of 79 – still stands apart for some very remarkable properties that are unequalled by most other materials . . .

Why is the demand for recycled gold high? All the gold that’s ever been mined in the history of the world would only make up a cube about 60 feet on each side. Image courtesy of waitbutwhy.com

Why is the demand for recycled gold high? All the gold that’s ever been mined in the history of the world would only make up a cube about 60 feet on each side. Image courtesy of waitbutwhy.com

Gold Is Beautiful

Beauty is gold’s most obvious property, so let’s mention it first. Carbon fiber and ceramics are pretty unattractive in comparison.

Gold Resists Corrosion and Oxidation

Items of gold jewelry that were made thousands of years ago still look just like they did when they were made. Only cyanide, nitro-hydrochloric acid and a few other chemicals have any effect on gold. That’s another reason why gold remains the metal of choice for jewelry.

Gold Is Malleable and Soft

While that might seem to be a disadvantage, in gold it is a plus. Since ancient times, jewelers have fashioned ornaments of all kinds from gold because it is so easy to work with. And after a piece of jewelry has been made of gold, that softness can be another virtue. It is one reason rings made of gold are easy to resize.

Gold Is an Excellent Conductor of Electricity

Here’s another one of gold’s remarkable properties. It explains why gold is found in many places where electrical components must be joined together. Two examples? The contact tips that are used on high-end audio equipment cables and the pins that are found underneath computer CPU chips.

Gold Is Scarce

Given the fact that we can see gold in so many places, it is hard to believe that it is a rare precious metal. Estimates vary, but according to GFMS, an organization that monitors gold mining, only about 174,000 tons of gold have been mined in all of human history. If all that gold were mashed together, the result would be a cube that would be only about 60 feet on a side. (It might fit in your back yard.) Geologists believe that the earth contains vast quantities of unmined gold, but that it will never be extracted because it lies miles underground.

A Lot of the World’s Gold Is Tied Up in Investments

According to some estimates, 40% of the world’s gold is unavailable because it is being held by investors. It is not available for manufacturing. That makes gold on the free market even scarcer – and more valuable.

Demand for Recycled Gold Is High

According to an organization that monitors gold, goldfacts.org, one-third of all the gold that is sold every year comes from recycled items. That means that there is very real demand – and that very real dollars are waiting – for the gold that you recycle using the services of a highly qualified gold refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Gold Can Be Hiding in Plain Sight

For such a scarce metal, it is pretty easy to find quantities of gold – provided you are on the lookout for it at estate sales, in items you have inherited, in antique stores, in dental scrap, and even in river beds.

If You Have Gold, Call Us Today at 800-426-2344

In today’s post, we’ve outlined some of the reasons why gold is beautiful, useful, and scarce. Demand for this most beautiful of all metals is never going to go away. Why not contact us today to learn more?

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Can Gold Leaf Be Recycled?

Let’s start today’s post with a question . . .

Where have you seen the most gold during the course of your life?

If you can answer that question, I am willing to bet that you will come up with an unexpected response. Because you see, most of us have seen gold most often in objects that have been covered with gold leaf. I am talking about objects like these . . .

  • Older gold-leafed wooden frames that we see on paintings in museums, in antique stores, and in our own homes.
  • Interiors of churches and other elegant buildings where gold leaf has been used on altars, walls and columns, and other architectural elements.
  • Mosaics, where gold leaf has been applied to tiles or put between layers of glass to create an impression of richness or light.
  • Old statuary, which was sometimes gold-plated to create the impression that it was made of solid gold.

What Is Gold Leaf, and What Is It Worth?

Shown: Gold coins and a pack of 100 gold leaves from Bangkok, Thailand. Each gold leaf is less than a micrometer thick (typically about 100 nm) and is so light and delicate that the smallest puff of air can blow it away. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Shown: Gold coins and a pack of 100 gold leaves from Bangkok, Thailand. Each gold leaf is less than a micrometer thick (typically about 100 nm) and is so light and delicate that the smallest puff of air can blow it away. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Since ancient times, people have been hammering gold into very thin sheets that can be applied to other surfaces. It’s been possible to do that because of gold’s extreme softness and malleability. In the ancient world, pure 24-karat gold was sometimes beaten into leaf. Over time as more sophisticated manufacturing processes have been developed to produce gold leaf, it has become possible to use lower-karat gold, and even alloys of gold combined with other metals that have included silver. And then we come to modern times, when colorings have been introduced to create gold leaf sheets that contain very little real gold at all.

If you come into possession of a quantity of unused sheets of gold leaf, what are they worth? It depends on two factors . . .

  • The nature of the metal itself – its karat classification. To determine how much karat gold it really contains, send it to a qualified gold refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.
  • The weight of the gold leaf. Because only a few ounces of gold can be beaten into enough gold leaf to cover many square feet of other surfaces, even a packet of several hundred small sheets of gold leaf can weight very little.

If you have gold leaf and send it to us, we can evaluate those variables and get back to you with an appraisal of what your gold leaf is worth.

What about Refining the Gold from Gold-Plated Objects?

If you have a large number of gold-plated picture frames, for example, can they be recycled? In most cases, the answer to that question is no – even a large gold-leaf-covered frame can contain only a very small amount of gold. Plus, the process of removing the gold from wooden or other surfaces is complex and costly.

But you could also have some object on hand that could contain more gold than you expect, such as older gilt jewelry or statuary. If you have gold-leaf-covered objects and don’t know what they might be worth, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. We’ll be happy to talk with you and help you understand their value.

 

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Four Kinds of Easy-to-Overlook Electronic Devices that Contain Gold

We’ve written on this blog about many kinds of electronic devices that contain gold that can be recycled by a top precious metals refinery. We’ve covered laptop computers, tablet computers, cellphones, and even the circuit boards that can be found in junked cars.

Shown: gold-bearing circuit board inside of a VCR, which can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals.

Shown: gold-bearing circuit board inside of a VCR, which can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals.

Today, we’d like to give you a checklist of other easily overlooked electronic devices that contain gold too:

Remotes of All Kinds

Just about every household has a batch of old remote control devices for old TVs, VCRs, and more lying around, sometimes quite a few. And each of them contains a small printed circuit board that contains a small quantity of gold.

Old Stereo Components

Stereo amplifiers and receivers contain printed circuit boards that contain gold. The good news is that older components often contain more gold than newer ones do. If you have a quantity of them - in your town recycling facility, perhaps? – you could be sitting on dollars too.

VCRs, CD Players and DVD players

These “tossable” electronic devices pile up in recycling centers, in the back rooms of electronics retailers, and even in private homes. Yet they too contain printed circuit boards that contain precious gold that is worth extracting.

Older CB, Ham, and Shortwave Radios

Before the Internet age, hobbyists used them all to communicate with people in distant areas. Today, they have gone largely out of style. Yet they can still contain quantities of gold that can be reclaimed.

Two Ways to Collect Quantities of these Devices to Recycle

  • If you are a charity that is already conducting a collection campaign for used cellphones, ask people to contribute these items too.
  • If you would like to start a lucrative side business, run ads online or in local newspapers stating that you will buy the items described above.

Once you have a large quantity of any of this electronic scrap, give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be happy to explain how you can recover the gold that they contain.

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Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos

Looking for Gold? Leave No Stone (or Nugget) Unturned

On an episode of the poplar A&E show “Storage Wars: Texas” this season, Victor pulled an old Art Deco-style lighter out of a drawer. He decided to see what it was worth, took it to an appraiser, and learned that it was worth $4,200. Good thinking, Victor. You can read the story here.

Photo of 22-Karat gold toilet paper, courtesy of the Odd and Strange blog, which reminds us that gold can be found in the strangest places, but that Specialty Metals can turn it into profit for you.

Photo of 22-Karat gold toilet paper, courtesy of the Odd and Strange blog, which reminds us that gold can be found in the strangest places, but that Specialty Metals can turn it into profit for you.

That story reminds us that over the years, lots of everyday items have turned out to contain more gold than anybody expected. It also reminds us that companies around the world continue to use gold in the manufacture of a lot more products than you might expect. Here’s a list of some of them that you can read about in “Weird Stuff: 10 Ridiculous Things Made of Gold” on the Odd and Strange blog. We’re telling you about them today because they could open your eyes to the presence of gold-containing items that are hiding in plain sight in your place of business or home.

A $24,000 Shirt Woven with Gold

It took 15 goldsmiths to make this dazzling garment for an Indian gold dealer. It reminds us that in years past, it was not uncommon to weave bright metal fibers into women’s ball gowns and other clothing, including silver and even gold. Do you have any of them on hand?

Gold-Plated Pencils

Made in Korea, these flashy pencils are a relative bargain at only $20 apiece. They remind us that in years past, fountain and ballpoint pens often had gold-plated barrels, nibs, clips, and other metal parts. Do you have any of those on hand?

A Gold Coffin, Made in Italy

This $400,000 gold-plated casket is for those who want to go out in high style. If you have one of these lying around you will certainly know it. Yet it reminds us that a number of older funerary items, including urns for ashes and frames for commemorative items, could be partially gold-plated. So take a look around.

Gold Staples

You can buy 24 gold staples (14K gold to be more precise), made in England, for $210. They remind us that older commemorative desktop items – the kind of rewards that used to be given to employees to thank them for decades of service – were often gold-plated too. So open your desk drawers and take a look.

A Gold Christmas Tree

It’s made in Japan and sells for $2 million. Again, you will know it if you have one of these lying around. But it reminds us that older Christmas decorations from the Victorian era and earlier ages can contain quantities of gold. Why not dust off your ornaments and take closer look?

And Still More Gold Items . . .

The Odd and Strange Stuff blog also mentions cheese, ice cream, and lemonade that are currently being manufactured with gold. Also, there is solid-gold toilet paper, made in Australia, that sells for $1,376,900 per roll. It’s supposed to be very gentle on the skin. It makes us think that people are really crazy. But it also reminds us that items that contain gold can be found anywhere – buried underground, rolling around in drawers, hidden under floorboards, sitting on our mantles, hanging from our Christmas trees.

It pays to look around. If you find anything promising, give us a call at 800-426-2344. We’ll be happy to share your discoveries and find ways to help them put dollars into your pocket.

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How the Romance Factor Can Distort the Perceived Value of Gold

There are more legends about gold than about all the other precious metals put together. Here are just a few of the legends and myths that have exerted such a hold over people over the centuries, in roughly chronological order . . .

"King Midas with his daughter" from "A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrated by Walter Crane.

"King Midas with his daughter" from "A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, illustrated by Walter Crane.

  • In ancient times, it was said that King Midas could turn anything into gold, just by touching it.
  • In medieval times, Alchemists could turn any metal into gold - at least they were trying to do so.
  • In the sixteenth century, Spaniards believed that El Dorado, a mythical golden city, existed somewhere on the Amazon River. Its myth drew Spanish explorers to South America.
  • In the nineteenth century, Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Gold Bug,” a story about a man who is bitten by a mysterious gold bug. He then goes searching for hidden treasure. The German composer Richard Wagner also wrote his four “Ring” operas about a horde of magical gold.
  • In the twentieth century, Ian Fleming wrote Goldfinger, a James Bond novel about a gold-loving millionaire who wants to contaminate the gold in Fort Knox. And J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a wildly popular series of books that center on the return of a golden ring.

The Power of Myth and Romance on Gold Prices

No other precious metal is the subject of so many legends – certainly not platinum, cadmium, silver or palladium. That could explain why emotion has a bigger impact on the valuation of gold than it does on the valuation of any other metal.

For example, here are some emotional factors that can affect the price of a particular piece of gold jewelry . . .

  • Does it come from an earlier historical period of great interest, like the Roman Empire or the age of King Arthur?
  • Was it once owned by a king or queen, a movie star, or by someone else who was famous?
  • Was it designed by someone famous?
  • Is it part of a group of similar items like a set of gold-plated cutlery, and therefore more valuable?

Variable factors like those can have a big impact on the pricing of any gold item, and help explain why the valuation you get for any gold item can fluctuate so much from one dealer to another. That is why you need an objective party like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners to help you understand the actual value of any item or quantity of gold that you have on hand.

Please give us a call 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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Are White, Pink, and other Golds Worth Less than Yellow Gold?

Over the years, clever jewelers have created ways of lending a variety of colors to gold. They have developed white gold, rose gold, pink gold and even – get this – green gold.

Are those tinted golds worth less than yellow gold? After all, yellow is gold’s natural color. The simple answer to that question is, the color of gold doesn’t affect its value too much. What affects the value the most is the karat rating of gold. To review . . .

Image Credit: Metallos [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image Credit: Metallos [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

  • 24K gold is pure gold
  • 18K gold contains 18 parts gold and 6 parts of another metal or metals
  • 14K gold contains 14 parts gold and 10 parts of another metal or metals
  • 12K gold contains 12 parts gold and 12 parts of another metal or metals
  • 10K gold contains 10 parts gold and 14 parts of another metal or metals

So Where Does the Color Come From?

The answer to that question can be found in the words just above, “another metal or metals.” Those other metals that are added to 24K pure gold determine the color of the resulting gold alloy.

Here’s a quick rundown on what those other metals are . . .

  • White gold is an alloy created by adding palladium to gold
  • Pink gold and rose gold are alloys created by adding copper to gold
  • Green gold is an alloy created by adding silver to gold

But Isn’t 18K White Gold Worth More than 18K Pink Gold?

If you just asked that question, you are a critical thinker. And you are right to ask, because 18K white gold is worth more per ounce than 18K pink gold is, because palladium will make up 6 parts of white gold (25%) and copper will make up six parts of pink gold (25%); because palladium is worth more than copper, white gold alloys will be worth more than pink gold alloys.

But it all gets even more complicated, because gold smelters sometimes add more than one metal to karat gold to achieve the exact hue that they are seeking.

So if you want to know exactly how much pure gold is in a quantity of gold jewelry that you have on hand, and whether it contains other precious metals that can be recycled profitably, you’ll need to send us a sample for testing. If you give us a call at 800-426-2344, we will tell you how.

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