Looking for Precious Metals? Here’s How to Search Aerial Land Maps Online

Looking for Precious Metals? Here’s How to Search Aerial Land Maps Online

Forty or 50 years ago, only people who owned airplanes could zoom over the earth, looking for sites likely to contain precious metals. If they found the location of an old church, factory, house or mine, they noted the location and then visited it on foot. Today, you can do it all online. 

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Three Ways of Casting Gold that Precious Metals Investors Should Understand

Three Ways of Casting Gold that Precious Metals Investors Should Understand

Since ancient times, jewelers have been creating rings and other pieces of jewelry by pouring molten metal into molds. What methods did they use? Have any new methods have come along? It’s a fascinating subject that you should understand if you invest in precious metals. In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look.

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Is It Time to Talk to Your Parents about their Precious Metals?

Is It Time to Talk to Your Parents about their Precious Metals?

If your parents, grandparents or other family elders are downsizing or moving into adult living communities, this could be a good time to talk to them about the silverware, jewelry and other precious metal items they own. Why talk to them today? Consider these reasons...

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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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Profiteering Alert: Is Jewelry Scrap the Most Common Source of Karat Gold?

Profiteering Alert: Is Jewelry Scrap the Most Common Source of Karat Gold?

We’re going to crawl out on a limb today and state our opinion that karat gold jewelry scrap is probably the biggest and best source of recyclable gold. Why do we think that? Because you don’t have to go panning in the Yukon to find jewelry scrap or (in most cases) hike around fields with a metal detector. Karat jewelry gold scrap is a lot easier to find than that, as the following stories illustrate. 

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How Accurately Can You Test Precious Metals in a Home Lab?

How Accurately Can You Test Precious Metals in a Home Lab?

Do you have a quantity of jewelry pieces – findings, bits of chain, clasps or pins, perhaps – that you suspect might be valuable karat gold jewelry scrap? Or how about an old coin or piece of bullion that might, or might not, be pure karat gold?

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Can You Recycle Blue Gold? Who Ever Heard of It?

Can You Recycle Blue Gold? Who Ever Heard of It?

We’ve already written about pink gold, rose gold, white gold, and even green gold on the Specialty Metals blog. (See related posts below.) We thought we’d seen just about every color, then we found an article entitled “What Can Make a Piece of Gold Turn Blue?” that Esther Inglis-Arkell wrote for io9.com. 

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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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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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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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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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How Tariffs Affect the Value of Your Precious Metals Holdings

As you have read on this blog before, many precious metals that are in demand in America are not mined here. When they are imported into the United States, they are subject to import tariffs. If you want an overview of what those tariffs are, you can learn more in a government document entitled The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

Tariffs affect the prices of precious metals in many interesting ways. The bottom line is that high tariffs increase both the cost and the market value of imported metals. If a tariff is added to an imported metal like silver, that pulls up the market value; the value of metals that are not imported, but recycled and refined, rises too.

Photo of gold jewelry which is in increasing demand in India, raising the prices you can get for recycling your gold at Specialty Metals.

A Recent Case Study from India

Just a few days ago, the Indian government reduced the tariff on imported gold from $424 US to $408 US for 10 grams of gold. It also cut the import tariff on silver from $650 US to $617 US per kilogram. Interestingly, gold is the second most important import to India, second only to petroleum. The growth of the middle class in India has created rising demand for gold jewelry.

Bear in mind that changes in overseas markets can affect prices in America too. In our global economy, what happens in one country affects prices and consumer behavior in other countries too.

Those effects can be quite complicated. If tariffs on gold imports in India fall, for example, that can trigger new buying in that country and cause a ripple effect in other countries. For example, if India suddenly wants to buy all the gold it can on the international market, that can cause per-ounce prices in America to rise.

What Is the Best Time to Sell or Buy Precious Metals?

If you have quantities of precious metals – silver, gold, palladium, cadmium - that question is the most important one that you should be asking. Be sure to visit our home page to know, on a day-to-day basis, the current values of the metals you have.

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There Could Be More Gold in Old Commemoratives and Trophies than You Think

A late uncle of mine was very active in his community. He was a member of the Rotary Club and an avid amateur golfer who took part in local tournaments at a country club where he and his wife had a membership. He also worked for the same company for decades and really did get the classic gold watch at his retirement dinner.

Photo of old gold-plated commemorative trophies that can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

As a result of all those activities, his kids ended up with a lot of metal objects – more than 10 lapel pins, a few tie tacks, a commemorative belt buckle, a money clip from his country club, a high-quality Swiss watch with the name of his country club imprinted on its face, a mantle shelf full of golf trophies, not to mention that gold-toned Bulova Accutron that he got when he retired in about 1970. He also attended various formal functions – they used to be a lot more common than they are now – and he had two sets of tuxedo-shirt studs, also gold.

What is all that stuff worth? It depends. But a number of those items date from the 1960s and 1970s. Those were the days when gold was cheaper than it is today, and relatively inexpensive commemorative items could contain significant quantities of it. Several of the pins that my cousins inherited, for example, are stamped “18K” (18 karat) on their backs, which means that they were either gold-plated or filled with quantities of gold that could be worth sending to a qualified gold refinery.

What About Trophies?

The answer is again, it depends. Most modern trophies are not worth much – they are plated with very thin layers of gold, hardly worth extracting. The older trophies are, the more likely it is that they will contain quantities of gold or silver that are worth recycling.

How old? Again, it depends, because there is no exact date when trophy-makers stopped applying thicker layers of silver or gold plating to their products.

If you own some of the items described above, why not call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and tell us what you have? One dresser drawer full of lapel pins, tie tacks or other commemorative silver and gold jewelry could be worth more money than you expect.

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

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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What Is Karat Gold and How Can You Find Out What Yours Is Worth?

The karat measure that’s used to indicate the purity of gold can be pretty confusing. You open your jewelry drawer, look at some old cufflinks, watches and tie tacks, and notice that some items are stamped as 18K (18 karat) gold, others as 10K, and on it goes. Then a ring comes rolling out and it is marked with the European measure “417.” What does that mean?

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

It’s confusing – and it only gets worse if you have a large number of gold and gold-plated items that you would like to recycle. What’s going on here?

We just found a helpful article entitled “Gold: Know the Difference between Karats, Carats and Carrots” on Jewelry.com. It clears up a lot of the confusion about karat and other content ratings. Let me share a few highlights with you.

Karats Are Not the Same as Carats

Karats are used to specify the purity of gold; Carats are used to measure the weight of diamonds. Despite the similarity of those two words, there is no correlation or connection between them.

Karats Offer a Measure of the Purity of the Gold

Here are some explanations of common karat gold designations, all based on the number 24, that are standard in the United States:

  • 24K is pure 100% gold.
  • 18K is 18/24ths gold content, or 75% gold.
  • 14K is 14/24ths gold content, or about 58.5% gold.
  • 10K is 10/24ths gold content, or 41.7% gold.
  • 9K is 9/24ths gold content, or 37.5% gold. Although this karat rating is popular in some countries, jewelry with this low content percentage cannot be labeled “gold” for sale in the United States.

Different Countries Specify Gold’s Purity in Different Ways

As the article explains, the U.S. system uses karat designations to specify purity. Europe has another system, using numbers to designate the percentage of gold content. For example, 10K gold is marked “417,” indicating that it contains 41.7% gold; 14K is marked "585" for 58.5% gold, and so on. That can make it even more challenging to understand the amount of gold that is contained in the gold items that you own.

If you have gold or gold-plated jewelry, or any other gold items that you would like to recycle using America's best gold refiners, Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can help you understand their potential value. Gather your gold items and call us 800-426-2344.

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