Everything You Need to Know about Profiting in Platinum Scrap

Everything You Need to Know about Profiting in Platinum Scrap

In the classic movie The Graduate, a man takes a recent college graduate aside and says to him, “I have one word to say to you . . . PLASTICS!”

That is a famous scene, and we have some similar advice for you. If you want to profit richly from investing in precious metals, “We have just one word to say to you . . . PLATINUM!”

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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.

Related Posts:

How Much Platinum Does Your Platinum Jewelry Really Contain?
An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals to Partner with Our Precious Metals Refinery
Platinum Sterling: What You Need to Know about this Precious Alloy
Five Things You Need to Know about Recycling Platinum-Plated Jewelry

Reference List of Precious Metal Alloys

If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know a lot about recyclable precious metals and where they can be found.

We’re going to give you some more valuable information today, in a list of precious metal alloys. You might want to print out a copy for your files or bookmark it on your browser, because it can help you find and understand valuable alloys.

Argentium Sterling Silver

Colored Gold Alloy Chart. 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

Colored Gold Alloy Chart. 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

This alloy of sterling silver and germanium, popular in jewelry, answers the need for a lustrous sterling-silver alloy that resists tarnishing. It is about 90% pure silver.

Billon

Since Roman times, billon has been used to mint coins and medals that look like silver, but which contain copper and other base metals. Billon coins, commemorative medals and other items contain small quantities of silver and are generally not worth recycling.

Britannia Silver

This is an alloy of silver and copper that got its name nearly 300 years ago, when the British government attempted to set up standards for silver that could be used by silversmiths. It generally contains about 90% silver, but that percentage can only be accurately determined by a qualified precious metals recycling company.

Pink, Rose, Yellow and other Colored Golds

These tinted golds are alloys that have been created by combining 24K gold with silver, rhodium, nickel, and other metals. The value of these metals can be determined after testing by Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners.

Electrum

Electrum is an interesting alloy of gold, silver and copper that occurs naturally in nature. It has been mined and used in coins since ancient times. It can contain as much as 70% pure gold, but that percentage varies. If you come into possession of ancient coins, some of them could be made of this alloy.

Mokume Gane

Mokume Gane, which has gotten to be something of a craze among people who are shopping for wedding rings, isn’t an alloy per se, but a striated metal that is made up of thin laminated layers of gold, silver, platinum, and other metals. When it is twisted and formed by a jeweler, beautiful and unusual surfaces are created. How much gold and other precious metals does Mokume Gane contain? It depends completely on the way the laminate was created and what it contains.

Platinaire

Platinaire is a patented alloy used in jewelry. It contains 92.5% silver, 5% platinum and 2.5% base metals. It is often made from recycled silver and platinum.

Platinum Rhodium

As we explored in an earlier post on this blog, alloys of platinum and rhodium are widely used in lab testing equipment, thermocouples, and other applications. And don’t forget that platinum and rhodium are often found side-by-side in catalytic converters.

Platinum Sterling

Platinum sterling, like Platinaire, is an alloy of silver and platinum that is used to make jewelry. It is made of about 92.5% sterling silver, amounts of platinum that can vary from between 3% to 5%, and quantities of gallium and base metals.

Titanium Gold

Just as the name implies, this is an alloy of titanium and gold, most commonly used in jewelry and dental applications. The percentages of gold and titanium can vary widely, according to the application.

Find Out What Your Precious Metal Alloys Are Worth

Remember, a qualified precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can test your holdings of these alloys and quickly determine their value. Give us a call at 800-426-2344 or fill out our contact form today.

Related Posts

What You Need to Know about Recycling Alloys of Precious Metals
Are White, Pink, and other Golds Worth Less than Yellow Gold?
Platinum Sterling: What You Need to Know about this Precious Alloy
Some Fascinating – and Potentially Profitable – Facts You Never Knew about Refining Gold

Platinum Sterling - What You Need to Know about this Precious Alloy

If you’ve visited a jewelry store in the last few years, you noticed that platinum sterling and platinum-plated sterling have become top choices for engagement rings and other pieces of jewelry where hardness, beauty, tarnish-resistance, and durability are required.

How did platinum and sterling join forces to become beautiful jewelry? Let’s learn more.

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

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

A Brief History of the Platinum Sterling Alloy

A little more than a decade ago, American Bullion Inc. (ABI) of Carson, California, created and registered a trademark for a new kind of alloy, Platinum Sterling™. The goal was to create an alloy for jewelry that would be beautiful, resistant to tarnishing – in others words, a silver-colored alternative to karat gold.

The result was a great success. The resulting alloy was durable, beautiful, and much more tarnish-resistant than sterling silver alloys.  Many jewelers observed that while the alloy looked similar to both white gold and sterling silver, it was both harder and heavier.

Beyond the Alloy: Platinum-Plated Silver Jewelry

In the same period of time – about the last decade – a growing number of jewelry manufacturers have also expanded their manufacturing of platinum-plated silver jewelry, especially engagement rings and earrings, in which platinum-plated posts are as tarnish-resistant as pure platinum, yet less expensive than similar items made of pure platinum.  If you search online, you will quickly find platinum-plated silver items made by both very high-end jewelry companies (including Swarovski) and other jewelry brands too (Vinani).

You will also notice that a growing number of platinum-plated silver watches are being sold today, and with good reason. They look as elegant as watches that are made of pure platinum, but in most cases are more economical to buy.

The Marriage of Platinum and Silver Could Spell Profits for You

If you have come into a quantity of either platinum silver or platinum-plated silver jewelry items – or scrap left over from manufacturing them – you could have a quantity of precious metals that are well worth recycling. Call 800-426-2344 to learn more.  

Related Posts:

An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals to Partner with Our Precious Metals Refinery
Why It Pays to Find a Refiner for Silver, the Forgotten Precious Metal
What You Need to Know about Recycling Alloys of Precious Metals
How Much Platinum Does Your Platinum Jewelry Really Contain?
Six Traits of the Best Platinum Refiners