What Role Does Copper Play in Determining the Value of Precious Metals?

What Role Does Copper Play in Determining the Value of Precious Metals?

Copper is a metal with many wonderful and useful properties. It is soft and malleable. It is also a “friendly” metal that can be blended with many other metals to form alloys.

What precious metals are most often mixed with copper? And when they are, how does that affect their value? Let’s explore that topic.

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How Much Recyclable Silver Can You Find in Coin Rolls from the Bank?

How Much Recyclable Silver Can You Find in Coin Rolls from the Bank?

Some people who go looking for recyclable silver are applying this simple strategy...They go to a bank, buy rolls of coins and then sort through them, looking for coins from certain years that contain silver. If they can find just one or two old silver coins, they can recycle them and make money. And the more coin rolls they buy, the more money they make. At least, that’s the theory....

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You Just Found Something Made of Argentium... What Is It?

You Just Found Something Made of Argentium... What Is It?

Let’s say that in your hunting for valuable items made of precious metals, you come across something made of “Argentium.” It could be a bracelet or other piece of jewelry in its original box with paperwork that says it’s made of Argentium. Or maybe a salesman at a jewelry store or estate sale winks at you and says, “This piece is extra valuable because it’s better than sterling... it’s Argentium!” It’s bright and white and shiny like silver... but what is it?

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Can You Recycle Precious Metals from Soldering Supplies?

Previous posts on this blog have offered you some practical advice on how to reclaim precious metals that can be found in unused welding scrap and welding supplies. We’d like to explore a slightly different question today . . .

Is it possible for a qualified precious metals refinery to reclaim quantities of precious metals from unused soldering supplies?

The short answer to that question is, it depends. Let’s learn more.

Photo of jeweler using recyclable silver solder to make silver jewelry, both of which you can recycle profitably with Specialty Metals, along with gold solder and gold jewelry.

Lead-Based Soldering and Precious Metal Soldering Are Very Different Processes

If you have a quantity of lead or tin-based solder that was to be used in the manufacturing of electronic components or in plumbing operations, it does not contain either gold or silver, and cannot be profitably recycled.

But if you have acquired unused soldering wire that was used in manufacturing either gold or silver jewelry, that wire contains either silver or gold. How much silver or gold? That depends, and we will have to test the soldering wire for you, because the wire that is used in soldering gold and silver usually contains secondary metals. Call us at 800-426-2344 to discuss your options.

Silver Sheets Are Used in Silver Soldering Too

If you have acquired or are liquidating a company that manufactured jewelry, plates or tableware, you might be in possession of thin sheets that contain silver, sterling silver,  Argentium silver. At first, you might wonder what these sheets are.

They are used to plate a layer of silver over other metals, using a soldering technique. The result? The appearance of a solid silver item. How much are these sheets worth? It depends on their composition and weight. If you own some, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. We will explain how we can test them and determine their value.

What about Soldering Fluxes that Are Used to Manufacture Jewelry?

In light of the comments above, you are probably wondering whether the fluxes that are used when soldering gold and silver also contain trace amounts of those precious metals. The disappointing answer to that question is that virtually no fluxes contain precious metals. The fluxes contain only chemicals that remove any oxidation and prepare gold or silver for soldering.

We Are Your Top Choice for Recycling Gold and Silver Soldering Supplies

But if you own any of the gold or silver-bearing soldering supplies described in in today’s post, we will be pleased to tell you how to recoup their value. Call us at 800-426-2344 to start the process.

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An Invitation to Jewelers, Pawnbrokers and Other Jewelry Professionals to Partner with Our Precious Metals Refinery
As Gold Supplies Dwindle, Demand for Recyclable Gold Will Remain High

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.

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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.  

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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



What You Need to Know about Recycling Alloys of Precious Metals

If you have a quantity of metal that is an alloy that contains precious metal, it’s valuable. That’s the good news. The confusing part is, how much of that precious metal do your alloys really contain? Gold, platinum, palladium and silver are all frequently found as alloys with a variety of other metals. You should call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners and let us analyze them for you.

Here is some information you should know about alloys.

Alloys Are Not Always Made Entirely of Metals

Liquid, molten gold alloy being poured in a foundry. Find out how much precious metals your gold, silver and platinum alloys contain at Specialty Metals.

Liquid, molten gold alloy being poured in a foundry. Find out how much precious metals your gold, silver and platinum alloys contain at Specialty Metals.

A metal alloy is a material that is made by combining two or more elements, only one of which must be a metal. Sometimes an alloy is made of two or more metals, but not always. For example, 18K gold is an alloy that contains 75% gold and 25% percent palladium, copper, zinc… or cobalt. As you can tell, 18K gold that is made of 75% gold and 25% palladium is more valuable than 18K gold that is made of 75% gold and 25% copper or cobalt. It makes sense, right?

Names Can Be Misleading

Similarly, a platinum alloy could be made up of platinum that has been combined with iridium, ruthenium . . . or cobalt. If you have a quantity of platinum thermocouples that you would like to recycle, for example, they probably contain both platinum and rhodium. So remember, names can be confusing – just because you have some “platinum thermocouples,” they are almost certainly alloys that do not contain 100% platinum.

Testing and Analysis Are Needed

As we’ve learned in today’s post, the dollar value of precious metal alloys can vary, depending on the quantity of pure precious metals that they contain. You need a qualified precious metals refinery to do some analysis for you before you can determine just how valuable your alloys really are.

Related Posts:

The Confusing – and Very Profitable – World of Gold Alloys
A Fast, Fascinating History of Metals Like Gold and Silver
Some Fascinating – and Potentially Profitable – Facts You Never Knew about Refining Gold
What Is Karat Gold and How Can You Find Out What Yours Is Worth?

Happy Pi Day from Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners

Today, March 14, is Pi Day – a day that celebrates the number 3.141593. That number is the ratio between any circle’s circumference and its diameter.

Why is March 14th Pi Day? Because March 14th is 3/14, which is the start of 3.141593. Get it?

Happy Pi Day! Get your piece of the profitable precious metal recycling pie when you work with Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

Happy Pi Day! Get your piece of the profitable precious metal recycling pie when you work with Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

Even if you don’t use Pi much these days, you probably remember it from your high school geometry class, when you learned to use it to calculate either the area or the circumference of a circle.

The interesting thing is, Pi can be used to make a rough estimate of the quantity of precious metals that are contained in cylindrical objects. Imagine you have hundreds of scrap metal bars  containing silver alloy left over from your manufacturing process. Before you send them off to the best silver refiners to get the best prices on your silver-bearing scrap, you want to estimate how much money you stand to make.

Let's say you know each bar contains 60% silver. Let’s also say that it is 2” in diameter and 4” tall. To make an estimate of how much silver in in the bar, you first find the volume of the cylinder. To do that, you multiply the area of Pi x R2 (Pi times the radius squared) to determine the area of the base of the cylinder. For your 2” diameter bar, that comes out to be 3.14 square inches. You then multiply that times the 4” height of the cylinder; that tells you that the volume of the bar is 12.56 cubic inches. Since you estimate that 60% of the bar is silver, you can figure that 60% of its volume – or about 8 cubic inches – is silver.

You could also weigh the bar and say that 60% of that weight is silver, and figure out how much silver you have in troy ounces. But what the heck, we want to do things the mathematical way on Pi Day, right?

We hope you find 3.141593 ways to enjoy Pi Day.

Related Posts:

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Why It Pays to Find a Refiner for Silver, the “Forgotten” Precious Metal

Shown: silver for fabrication of jewelry, silverware, electronics, X-rays, sputtering targets and other scrap Specialty Metals recycles and refines.

Shown: silver for fabrication of jewelry, silverware, electronics, X-rays, sputtering targets and other scrap Specialty Metals recycles and refines.

When you think about recycling precious metals, you probably think first of gold, palladium, platinum, rhodium and other “high end” precious metals. You’re smart to think that way. After all, some of them can be worth $1,000 per ounce or even more.

You’re probably not thinking about silver. It’s often the “forgotten” precious metal - the one that you think about last. Silver doesn’t sound sexy. Its price is currently hovering at about $20 an ounce, so it’s worth much less than many other precious metals. But the fact is, a silver refiner can probably write you much bigger checks for your silver-bearing scrap recyclables than you expect, for a simple reason.

You probably have more silver than you believe – possibly a lot more of it.

In addition to jewelry and silverware, it’s widely used in:

  • Automotive components
  • Quantities of plated buttons, trophies, incentive rewards and other easy-to-overlook items
  • Coated plastics
  • Electronic devices of all kinds
  • Gauges and measuring devices
  • Mirrors and machines that contain them
  • Quantities of silver, gold, aluminum, or other metallic paint
  • Rechargeable and other batteries of many kinds – many contain valuable quantities of silver cadmium
  • Silver salts and other unneeded chemicals
  • Silver-plated metal scrap
  • Used or unneeded sputtering targets
  • Thermocouples
  • Unused photographic, medical and dental films of all kinds – some of which could be lying around because they are no longer needed
  • Unused welding supplies
  • X-ray equipment and supplies

And don’t forget silver alloys...

In addition to silver cadmium (mentioned above), many other alloys contain silver too. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook them, because their names don’t even mention silver. They have names like Argentium, Billon, Electrum, Goloid, and even Shibuichi. Don’t overlook their value.

Not sure what you have or whether it contains silver that you can turn into dollars? Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and our expert representatives can help you discover the real value of your scrap and unused silver-bearing materials.