These Easy-to-Overlook Items Contain Platinum!

These Easy-to-Overlook Items Contain Platinum!

You know what to look for when you are hunting for platinum and platinum scrap, right? You’re looking for platinum engagement and wedding rings, right? Or you might focus on floor and bench sweepings from factories where platinum jewelry was manufactured.

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Four Common Sources of Platinum Scrap

Four Common Sources of Platinum Scrap

If you’re on the hunt for platinum scrap, you could sweep the floors at a jewelry factory, pull up old drain pipes and floorboards you find there, or tweezer out bits of old platinum screens and sponge from plating tanks and drains.

That’s hard work. There are much easier places to find platinum . . .

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Recycling Precious Metals – It’s Time You Found Out about Findings

Recycling Precious Metals – It’s Time You Found Out about Findings

Findings are small, pre-manufactured metal items that are used in jewelry production. Chances are pretty good that as you read this post, some of them are right there in the room with you. If you bought a nice silver chain to give your niece for a present, for example, open the box and take a look at it. You’ll see that there is a small ring attached to one end, and some kind of clasp to the other. Those add-on pieces are findings. 

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How Valuable is Platinum-Plated Silver Jewelry?

Platinum is currently selling for more than $1,200 per troy ounce on the London Fix, while silver is going for a little less than $20. So what sense does it make to manufacture jewelry that is made of platinum-plated silver? And why is so much platinum-plated-silver jewelry being sold today?

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum, silver and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum, silver and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Perhaps most importantly, how much platinum can be reclaimed from a quantity of jewelry items that are made of platinum-plated silver? Here are some facts you need to know . . .

Platinum Plating Prevents Silver from Tarnishing or Wearing

Silver is a metal that tarnishes (oxidizes) quickly. It is also soft and easily scratched. Platinum is just the opposite – it is extremely resistant to oxidation and so hard that it resists wear. So plating a layer of platinum onto silver produces an item of jewelry that is both tarnish-resistant and durable. Platinum also has a bright white sheen that makes silver even more beautiful.

Extremely Thin Layers of Platinum Are Used

It only takes a very thin layer of platinum to keep silver untarnished and bright, so extremely small quantities of platinum are used as plating. If you have a large quantity of platinum-plated silver items that you would like to recycle with a qualified silver and platinum refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, how much platinum can you expect to recover? It depends on how the jewelry was manufactured; platinum could represent as little as 1% or less of the metal that you own, or as much as 5%. How can you tell? Call us at 800-426-2344 and we can explain how we test platinum-plated items to determine their value.

Rhodium Can Be Plated onto Silver Too

Rhodium is nearly as valuable as platinum. Like platinum, it is durable and tarnish-resistant. So remember that the bright white plated jewelry that you own could be plated with rhodium, not platinum. Testing in our labs can determine what you have.

Jewelers Are Now Offering to Plate Gold, Silver and Other Items with Platinum

This is pretty interesting. If you take your gold wedding rings or other items to some jewelers today, they can send them out to be coated in thin layers of platinum. The result is that certain pieces of jewelry can be given a new, bright look, and at surprisingly little cost – less than $100 in many cases. I mention this today because it is possible that what you think is an item of platinum-plated silver jewelry could in fact be platinum-plated gold or something else. Only testing in a qualified lab can determine if that is the case.

And Don’t Forget Platinum-Plated Silver Coins Too . . .

It is not uncommon to come across quantities of platinum-plated commemorative coins that are produced by private “mints.” You might even find platinum-plated quarters and other circulated coins that have been marketed as collectables. In most cases, these items contain extremely small quantities of recyclable platinum. But if you want an expert opinion about what you might have, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344.

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Five Things You Need to Know about Recycling Platinum-Plated Jewelry

5 Things You Need to Know about Recycling Platinum-Plated Jewelry

Platinum-plated jewelry has unique properties that are often misunderstood. If you own quantities of platinum-plated jewelry or platinum plate scrap, here is some critical information you need to know about recycling it . . .

1. Platinum-Plated Objects Must Be Refined, Not Reformed

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Shown: Jewelry and jewelry scrap containing platinum and other platinum group metals like rhodium that our customers have sent in for recycling and refining.

Unlike karat gold, sterling silver and many other kinds of jewelry, platinum-plated items cannot be reworked or redesigned. Because the platinum has been applied as a plating, any attempt to heat, hammer or reshape a piece will result in a disastrous failure.

2. Platinum-Plated Rings Cannot Be Resized

Any attempt to stretch them a size larger will result in the same kind of catastrophic failure that we described just above. Plus, platinum –plated rings cannot be cut and remanufactured into smaller sizes. So if you have a number of platinum-plated rings on hand, you need to send them to a qualified platinum refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners for recycling.

3. “Platinum Plated” Can Mean Many Things

It does sound like “platinum plated jewelry” can only be one kind of material. But in reality, platinum can be plated onto gold, silver, and even a soft metal like copper. Obviously, 100 pounds of platinum-plated silver jewelry will be worth much more than 100 pounds of platinum-plated copper items. The only way to know how much your items are worth is to send them for testing at an experienced platinum recycling company.

4. Platinum-Plated Jewelry Can Tarnish and “Turn Your Skin Green”

It is a myth that anything coated with platinum cannot tarnish. If the layer of platinum is too thin, it can wear away and expose the metal underneath. The result? An “untarnishable platinum-plated” piece of jewelry that tarnishes, changes color, or irritates your skin.

5. When You Look at Platinum-Plated Jewelry, You Might Not Be Seeing Platinum

Platinum-plated metals can sometimes be plated with an additional thin layer of rhodium, which is even harder and more corrosion-resistant than platinum itself. Sometimes this additional layer of rhodium has not been disclosed by the manufacturer, and the piece will only be labeled “platinum-plated.” How can you tell? You need the services of an expert platinum recycler like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Call Specialty Metals to Learn More about Platinum-Plated Jewelry

Prices for platinum are on the rise, so you need to know all you can about recycling this precious metal. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

Related Posts:

How Much Platinum Does Your Platinum Jewelry Really Contain?
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Platinum Sterling: What You Need to Know about this Precious Alloy
What Happens when Platinum Meets Rhodium?
An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals to Partner with Our Precious Metals Refinery