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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How to Avoid Being Fooled when You Go Looking for Gold

How to Avoid Being Fooled when You Go Looking for Gold

You go looking for gold and . . . you find some! Maybe you go to an antique store and find a piece of jewelry that looks like pure, shiny gold, but you find out later that it is only covered with a thin gold plating. Or you discover a gold nugget and find out that it is only a cheap collectible that has been created to look like the real thing, but isn’t.

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Can You Recycle Items that Have Gold or Silver Appliqués? What Are They Worth?

Can You Recycle Items that Have Gold or Silver Appliqués? What Are They Worth?

What is an appliqué? It is a small decorative piece of silver or gold that is applied to another metal. The word appliqué is French, meaning “applied.” (An appliqué is also a piece of fabric that is sewn onto a garment as a decoration, but that is not the kind of appliqué we are writing about in today’s post.)

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Three Reasons Gold Prices Will Stay Strong Despite Current Trends

Three Reasons Gold Prices Will Stay Strong Despite Current Trends

There are lots of reasons to worry that the trading price of gold could fall. We can start by mentioning the trade wars and tariffs that have been introduced by the current administration in Washington. We could also mention escalating tensions between the US and a number of other nations, including friendly old Canada, which could restrict the flow of gold across borders.

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How to Calculate the Value of Big Batches of Jewelry Supplies

How to Calculate the Value of Big Batches of Jewelry Supplies

Not long ago, we had a call from a man who had bought a box of 16 rolls of gold-plated jewelry chain at an auction where the assets of a closed jewelry manufacturer were being sold to the public. “I weighed the box,” he told us, “it weighs about 12 pounds . . . so what is it worth?”

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Are Airplanes Great Places to Find Tons of Gold?

Are Airplanes Great Places to Find Tons of Gold?

Are airplanes great places to look for gold, silver and other precious metals? Granted, the mechanical and electronics that planes hold often contain amounts elements of gold, platinum and silver. But tons of gold? Why would any plane contain that much precious metal?


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Is It Gold? Yes! Is It Valuable? Hard to Tell!

Is It Gold? Yes! Is It Valuable? Hard to Tell!

Gold-plated and gold-covered items look beautiful - and they look expensive. But even though many collectible items have a beautiful surface of genuine gold, some contain only a tiny amount of the precious metal. Over the centuries, tiny amounts of gold have been beaten thin and used to decorate all kinds of items, even buildings.

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Market Trends and Gold Prices

Market Trends and Gold Prices

Tariffs, Trade Wars, Shrinking Tech . . .What’s the best way to invest in scrap gold today?

We have to admit, we have never seen a period when it has been so difficult to pinpoint the biggest trends that will affect the prices of gold. In the past, there were periods of uncertainty when it was possible to consider just one trend, see how it was probably going to affect domestic gold prices, and formulate an investment strategy. You could say, for example, “Looks like trade relations with China are going to be rough for a while, there could be fewer gold crossing borders, so the price of gold that is already in the U.S. is probably going to rise.”

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Everybody Is Dumping Digital Cameras . . . Can You Cash in on the Gold They Contain?

Everybody Is Dumping Digital Cameras . . . Can You Cash in on the Gold They Contain?

If you have visited the Statue of Liberty or another tourist destination lately, you have noticed that hardly anybody is using digital cameras these days. Five years ago you would have seen all those tourists taking snapshots with small cameras made by Olympus, Sony, and other companies. Today, nearly all those pix are being shot using smartphones.

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Are Gold Prices about to Rebound? And What Should You Do if they Are?

Are Gold Prices about to Rebound? And What Should You Do if they Are?

We are in the business of recycling gold from a number of sources. We work with gold scrap, electrical devices, old jewelry and even ore and sand.  What is our best advice about what you should do today if you have recyclable gold-bearing materials – perhaps materials that you have been holding until gold prices increase?

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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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Gold Refining of Dental Scrap: A Profitable Look at Yesterday and Today

A timeline of dental history published online by the American Dental Association offers a fascinating overview of how gold has been used by dentists for nearly 2,000 years. Some highlights? As long ago as 200 A.D., the Etruscans were making gold crowns and bridgework. Then in 1530, a German book called the Artzney Buchlein offered instruction on placing gold fillings. (Barbers were doing double-duty as dentists in those days - ouch!) In 1746, a Frenchman named Claude Mouton devised a way to insert a gold post and crown into a root canal. And in 1855, a physician named Robert Arthur invented a way to insert gold foil into a cavity before completing a filling.

Photo of gold crowns dental scrap, which can contain gold, platinum, palladium and silver and can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals.

The Dwindling Use of Gold in Modern Dentistry

Now that more modern materials are replacing gold in common dental procedures, it might be tempting to think that dentists and dental labs should set aside the idea of hunting around for gold dental scrap to be recycled by a qualified gold refinery.

That’s not necessarily so, for several reasons. One is that many patients who have reached the age of 60 or older are now in the process of getting older gold-containing bridges, crowns, fillings, and other dental work replaced. There’s another reason too. In many parts of the world like Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, gold is still in widespread use in dental work. When people from those areas move to the United States and receive our modern dental care, their older gold fillings, caps, and other materials may no longer be needed.

What Kind of Gold Dental Materials Can You Profitably Recycle?

By now you may be wondering what kind of gold dental scrap you could recycle profitably? Here at Specialty Metals Smelting and Refining, we are pleased to accept and recycle gold dental scrap materials, including:

  • Bars
  • Bridges
  • Bridgework
  • Clasps
  • Clippings
  • Crowns
  • Dental grindings
  • Fillings
  • Inlays

With gold now trading for over $1,300.00/troy ounce on the London Fix, it is worth recycling even a small quantity of gold. Call us at 800-426-2344 to find out how much profit you can “extract” from your dental scrap.

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What Is a Troy Ounce?

When it comes to measuring and weighing things, people seem to like to make things as confusing as possible. Got a liquid to measure? Then you can deal with quarts, liters, fluid ounces, pints, Imperial gallons, cups, half-cups, tablespoons, teaspoons, and the list goes on and on. Want to measure a piece of land or a road? You’ve got miles, kilometers, acres, feet, yards, square yards.

Image of a scale showing how troy ounces are used in recycling and refining of precious metals like gold and platinum by Specialty Metals.

When it comes to weighing metals that you would like to refine by using a precious metal or gold refinery, things also seem odd, because the weight of precious metals is usually given in something called the troy ounce (oz t).

What Is a Troy Ounce?

First, let’s point out two strange facts:

  1. A troy ounce is not from Troy. The name “troy ounce” might refer to the city of Troyes, in France, where it might have been used to weigh metals in medieval times. But nobody is sure.
  2. A troy ounce is not an ounce. A troy ounce weighs in at 480 grains, whereas a standard ounce weighs less, 437.5 grains.  So a troy ounce is bigger than a regular, standard ounce.

What Are the Specifics?

Let’s get metric. One troy ounce weighs 0.0311034768 kilograms (kg), or 31.1034768 grams (g). To look at it a different way, there are about 32.15 troy ounces in one kilogram of a precious metal that you’re going to refine.

Confusing, right? Well, not really, if you just remember that the troy ounce is the standard unit of measure that is applied to precious metals on the London Fix and other exchanges. Once you get used to thinking of precious metals in units of troy ounces, that unit of measure will become as familiar to you as the quarts that you use to measure your milk. When you recycle your precious metals and learn about how much money you can realize from every troy ounce that is extracted from a pile of gold-bearing printed circuit boards or a lot of 500 platinum-rich catalytic converters, it’s one unit of measure that will stick in your mind.


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A Brief – and Useful – History of Fool’s Gold

You’ve probably heard the term “fool’s gold.”  But what is it? Since we’re gold refiners, we can offer this explanation . . .

Why Is It Called Fool’s Gold?

Shown: Fools Gold (pyrite), which, unlike real gold-bearing scrap, can not be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Shown: Fools Gold (pyrite), which, unlike real gold-bearing scrap, can not be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

It got that name because it fools people. Wherever prospectors have searched for gold through the centuries, some of them have also found quantities of fool’s gold, a shiny mineral that is often found near gold in mineral deposits, but which is worth far less. According to legend, some of those prospectors “foolishly” believed they had found gold and struck it rich. 

What Is It Exactly?

It is really called pyrite. Unlike gold, which is an element, pyrite is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. It’s found in coal beds, quartz veins, and sedimentary rock. It has also been found as a replacement mineral in various fossils. In other words, it has flowed in to fill the cavities in snails, shells, and other ancient fossils. Some pyrite-filled fossils can be quite beautiful.

What Can Pyrite Be Used For?

It is used as commercial source of sulphur dioxide, which is used in paper manufacturing and other industries. It has also been used to make iron sulfate, and in the manufacturing of rechargeable lithium batteries. In earlier times, it was used as a “flint” to produce sparks in guns and cannons; when it is struck against steel, sparks fly.

Can It Be Used to Make Fake Gold Jewelry?

No, it cannot. It is not malleable enough to be formed into jewelry. Also, it is not chemically stable and would degrade quickly if allowed to remain in contact with the human skin. However – and interestingly – pyrite has been extensively used to form the small, shiny jewels in marcasite jewelry, which was quite popular in Victorian times.

Can You Still be Fooled by Fool’s Gold Today?

Maybe you could be if you happen to find some while you are hiking in an area where there are a lot of mineral deposits. But could you be fooled by a quantity of fool’s gold that you have on hand among your recyclable precious metals? The chances of that are very slim, since pyrite can’t be used in cellphones, microprocessors, or the many other applications where real gold has found so many uses today.

Don’t Be Foolish and Ignore the Real Gold Hiding in Your Scrap

You may be sitting on a treasure trove of real gold at this very moment, in gold-bearing scrap like used computer circuit boards, sputtering targets, eyeglass frames and more. As one of America’s best gold refiners, Specialty Metals can recycle your gold-bearing scrap and turn it into real gold – and real profits – for your company. Contact us at 800-426-2344 to learn more today.

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Demand for Precious Metals Increases with Widespread Healthcare Changes

America is seeing a surge in the demand for medical tests, technologies and treatments. The result? Your recyclable precious metals are likely to become much more valuable and much more in demand. Here are some of the reasons why:

Baby Boomers Are Aging

Boomers – the people who are part of the immense population “bulge” that occurred between 1946 and 1964 – are now entering their later years. The result is that many more people will require more intensive medical testing and care.

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

The Range of Medical Specialties Is Increasing

Not many years ago, most Americans relied on one family doctor to administer a wide range of tests and treatments. Today, people are visiting specialists, urgent care centers, diagnostic testing centers, physical therapists, and alternative practitioners. The result? Again, an increase in the demand for testing and treatment equipment.

More Life-Sustaining Technologies Rely on Precious Metals

The use of medical devices that contain precious metals is increasing dramatically. Gold and Platinum are being used in catheters, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), pacemakers, stents, neurovascular devices and devices that monitor or regulate brain functions. As the demand for life-extending and life-enhancing treatment grows, the demand for precious metals is surging too.

New Technologies and Treatments Will Rely on Precious Metals too

“Worth Their Weight: Precious metals have ideal properties for medical devices,” an article that Victoria Burt wrote for Micromanufacturing, quotes Rick Campo, the President of West-Tech Materials, a leading manufacturer of materials for medical applications. Campo told Burt that researchers are now developing platinum-based inks to be used in medical testing procedures.

The result of these trends could be a further increase in demand for your recyclable gold, palladium, platinum, and other precious metals. What happens when the demand increases for any commodity that is in limited supply? As any economist will tell you, the price of that commodity will increase. That’s why this is an excellent time to recycle old cellphones, circuit boards, quantities of gold-plated scrap, used thermocouples, and other materials that contain precious metals. Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

 

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How to Pick the Best Precious Metals Recycling Company

Finding the best gold refining company, the best platinum refining company, or the best refining company for your other precious metal bearing scrap looks like a simple process on first glance. You locate a company that will pick up your metals or accept them via shipment. You send in what you have. You get paid.

Photo of platinum and gold bars, precious metals that Specialty Metals refines and recycles from scrap catalytic converters and sputtering targets and more.

That’s a simple process, right? But it also exposes you to risk. What if the company you found doesn’t tell you the truth about the content of the items that you’d like to recycle? What if it underestimates the value of the precious metals that your recyclable items contain? And what if the company you found takes months and months to pay you, or never pays you at all?

Your Bill of Rights as a Customer

If you’re searching for a company to recycle the precious metals that you have on hand, here’s what you have the right to expect.

  • Honesty. If a company doesn’t have integrity, nothing else matters. But how do you know? The best way is to ask if you can speak with two or three of its customers. Another way is to check with the Better Business Bureau online to see whether any complaints have been filed against the company you are considering. If you find a complaint, ask the company about it and how it was resolved.
  • Prompt payment. When you contact customers who have used the precious metals recycling company you are considering, be sure to ask how long it takes to get paid. A company that takes months to issue payment is not worth considering – and slow payment could indicate that the company is not sound financially or that it could go out of business.
  • Expertise and openness. Recycling precious metals isn’t like recycling cardboard or plastic. In most cases, it is highly complex. You have the right to deal with a company that will explain everything about the recyclable materials you have. When you call the company, you should be connected to an expert – or an expert should email or call you back within the hour. That person should be able to explain: the kinds of precious metals that could be contained in what you have to recycle; their potential dollar value; the process that will be used to extract your gold, palladium, or other precious metals; and any possible issues that could occur during recycling that could affect your payment.
  • Documentation. You should ask for, and receive, written estimates for your upcoming recycling. And once the process has been completed, you should receive full documentation for the recycling and the monies that you received. As your accountant will tell you, you will need that documentation when you file your taxes. There’s another reason too. If you know the potential dollar value of recyclable materials that accrue when doing business – be they platinum-bearing thermocouple wires, lots of 500 used catalytic converters, or old cellphones – you get a better handle on your company finances and cash flow in the future.
  • Verifiable values. You should be paid for your precious metals at prices that you can verify. This is the reason why, at Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, we post the latest London Fix prices right on our home page. You will be paid those prices – and you can verify them on your own.
  • Environmental responsibility. Although getting fair value and prompt payment for your precious metals is your first concern, you should also get assurances that the company you’re dealing with recycles responsibility. After all, the items you send in to be smelted contain more than just gold, silver, or other precious metals. Most also contain plastics, base metals, and other materials that must be recycled or discarded responsibly. When you speak with a representative of a company you are considering, be sure to ask about its overall commitment to the environment.

Do Business with an Honest, Honorable Company like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners

Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners is proud to comply completely with all the requirements, practices, and standards that are described on the Bill of Rights above. We’ve been in business for 32 years and we’re here to explain how you can get the maximum return for your recyclable precious metals. To learn more, call us at 800-426-2344 today.

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Some Fascinating – and Potentially Profitable – Facts You Never Knew about Refining Gold

Did you know that people began refining gold about 8,000 years ago? Or that ancient Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were all creating gold alloys well before the birth of Christ? So there’s no doubt about it. Here at Specialty Metals, we’re still practicing one of the oldest arts in the world.

You’ll discover many fascinating facts about gold in Short History of Metals, a great article that metallurgist Dr. Alan W. Cramb has posted online. Here are some of the surprising facts he reports about the history of gold . . .

Photo of a miner with a gold nugget used for everything from jewelry to dental scrap to circuit boards, which can all be recycled by Specialty Metals.
  • Gold and copper were the first metals used by ancient people because they can be found in their native states in nature. A metal like cadmium, in contrast, wasn’t discovered until 1817 because its extraction required a process called fractional distillation.
  • Gold is widely dispersed through the Earth’s crust, but also found in “placer deposits” of gravel that have broken away from the Earth’s crust by erosion or other forces. For that reason, ancient people were able to not only mine for gold, but also to find it in stream beds and gravel deposits.
  • Gold doesn’t combine with other metals in nature, so it is easy to identify visually, even though it is scarce. Remember the Gold Rush of 1849? Although some miners staked claims and built elaborate sluices to extract larger amounts of gold from sediments and rocks, the most memorable image is of a forty-niner panning for gold. (They’re still doing it today.)
  • Gold’s malleability (softness) was one reason for its early success. As soon as a quantity of gold nuggets was secured, ancient people could hammer them into blocks without heating them. That softness also allowed gold to be beaten into thin sheets of gold leaf, which could be applied to wood and other surfaces. (Remember the artifacts found in King Tut’s tomb?) And the fact that gold was both scarce and soft kept it from being used in tools.
  • Gold is not only beautiful, it’s noncorrosive and tarnish-free too. That’s another reason for its wide use in jewelry and decorative applications, even in ancient times. (Gold's noncorrosive nature, combined with its electrical conductivity, also explains why it's so commonly used in electronics like circuit boards.)

Do You Have Some of this Remarkable Ancient Metal on Hand?

Here at Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, we don’t use stone hammers to beat small pieces of gold into bigger pieces. We don’t wade into streams to pan for gold. Instead we use only the most advanced technology to extract, refine and recycle the gold from a variety of components and materials that you have on hand.

But make no mistake about it. We’re still practicing an ancient art. We just do it in a very modern way. To find out how we can work together to refine and recycle gold-bearing scrap profitably, call us at 800-426-2344.

3 Simple Steps: How to Find the Best Gold Refiner

Like many companies, you probably have some older gold-bearing scrap and used equipment and components on hand that could put money in your pocket if you sent them to the right gold refiner. They could be old circuit boards, cellphones, medical equipment, eyeglass frames, automobile airbags, digital cameras, sputtering targets, or gold-containing resins and salts that you don’t use in your manufacturing processes anymore. All those things – and more – could contain valuable quantities of gold.

Image of circuit boards and computer scrap, which contain Gold, Platinum, Palladium, and Silver that Specialty Metals refines and recycles.

What’s stopping you from recycling those unneeded things? It’s probably uncertainty. How can you really know how much gold is inside each of the old cell phones that your electronics company has taken back in trades, for example? You can’t tell by looking. And how can you know much gold can be extracted from the used sputtering targets that you’ve taken off your production line?

If you’re feeling that uncertainty, you’re probably feeling some anxiety too. Sure, you could send those old cellphones or circuit boards to just any precious metal recycling company you find online, but how can you be sure that company will pay you for the gold that those items really contain – and pay you a fair price? How can you be sure that you’re not about to be ripped off?

Three Steps to Finding a Reputable Gold Refining Company that Pays You What You Deserve

Well, there are ways. Here are some steps that can safeguard you . . .

  • Step One – Check out the company’s reputation. Before you send in any items that could potentially contain gold, ask to speak with one or two of the companies that the recycling company serves. Ask those client companies about the refiner’s expertise, honesty, and speed in paying. Note that although many companies display customer testimonials on their websites, those quotes have been carefully selected for inclusion. So speak with some of the refiner’s clients instead.
  • Step Two – Send in only a few items for testing and evaluation.  For example, if you’re an automobile dealer with hundreds of airbags that were removed from cars because of a recall, don’t send them all to a refiner and hope for the best. Send in just one and listen to what the company has to say before sending in everything that you have. Also: Consider sending the same kind of samples to several refiners/recyclers to see which is offering you the highest value.
  • Step Three – Do business with a company that bases its value on current metal prices that you can verify independently. We do this at Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, for example. You can always visit our home page to see the current market price for gold. It’s an open, verifiable process, because you’ll know exactly how much gold is contained in each item that you’re recycling and know the current market price too.

Don’t let uncertainty or anxiety keep you from extracting the gold from components and materials that you have on hand. Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners has been the top choice of businesses and individuals in the US for secondary refining for over 30 years. We invite you to call us today at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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