Questions? Call us at 800-426-2344.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do You Have any Accreditations or Certifications that Will Let Us Know that We Are Dealing with an Honest and Honorable Business?

We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. We are listed with Dun & Bradstreet and Jewelers Board of Trade. In addition, we are members of the International Precious Metal Institute (IPMI) and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC). 


How Much Is a Catalytic Converter Worth?

How much your catalytic converters are worth depends on a few factors: the market prices at the time of settlement for the Platinum and the other precious metals we can reclaim from your catalytic converters; the size of the lot we recycle and refine for you, and the specific contents of the lot you give to us, which vary based on manufacturer and model. The minimum lot size we accept for smelting and refining is 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst.


How Much Platinum Group Metal Is in a Catalytic Converter?

There are between 3-7 grams of platinum group metals in a standard catalytic converter, but the amount varies based on manufacturer and model. Keep in mind that the minimum lot size we accept for smelting and refining is 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst.


What Metals Are in a Catalytic Converter?

There are numerous metals that can be reclaimed from catalytic converters, including platinum, palladium, and rhodium, all of which we will pay you for. There are other metals, such as copper, nickel, cerium, iron, and manganese which we do not refine.

What's in a Catalytic Converter?

Platinum is the catalyst in a catalytic converter, but there are other metals as well, including palladium, rhodium, copper, nickel, cerium, iron, and manganese. We recycle, refine and pay you for the platinum, palladium, and rhodium we reclaim from your catalytic converters.


How To Scrap a Catalytic Converter?

We make it fast and easy for you to scrap your catalytic converters. We accept minimum lots of 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst, and we can typically process your scrap in two weeks from the day we receive it. More importantly, you’ll be paid within 30 calendar days of when we receive your scrap.


What Are Used Catalytic Converters Worth?

Because catalytic converters contain three different Platinum Group Metals – platinum, palladium, and rhodium – they can be very valuable. On average, there are between 3-7 grams of platinum in a standard catalytic converter, but the amount varies based on manufacturer and model. So you can see how our minimum acceptable lot size of 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst can add up to reclaimed profits for you. So what are used catalytic converters worth? The actual price of your catalytic converters will also vary based on the market prices at the time of settlement.


What Is the Best Way to Ship a Large Quantity of Catalytic Converters or other Recyclables to You, and How Much Will Shipping Cost?

The best way to pack catalytic converters, electronic scrap and X-ray film is to use 4’ x 4’ cardboard boxes (called gaylord or pallet boxes), placed on pallets. We can arrange for a freight pickup nationwide and Canada with very minimal cost to you. We have contracts with several common carriers and do not charge anything extra over the quoted shipping rates. Shipping rates will vary depending on your location, the quantity and type of material being shipped, and how it is packaged. We will be happy to explain everything to you so you can make the best decision.

Where Can I Find Scrap Platinum?

This questions is best answered in this blog post. If you find bits and chunks of platinum scrap we can recycle it profitably for you.

Are There Platinum Buyers Near Me?

Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners LLC works with business and individuals across the US and the world to help them refine and recycle their platinum scrap. In today's economy our platinum buyers can help you no matter where you are located. Give us a call to discuss the logistics of processing your precious metals. 

Where Can I Send Gold Filled Jewelry for Refining?

You can send it to us, using whichever carrier you prefer. We’ll typically process your gold-filled items within 7-10 business days from when we receive them, and we’ll pay you 10 business days from receipt, too. And because we’ve been the top choice in the US for secondary refining of Gold, Silver and Platinum Group Metals for more than 32 years, for companies in the industrial, electronic, jewelry and mining sectors, you can rest assured that your gold-filled items are in good hands.


What Metals Do My Used Sputtering Targets Contain?

Sputtering targets usually contain a number of metals, elements, and other substances too – including gold, platinum, silver, palladium and rhodium! The material you need for your production processes is probably commixed with other metals or chemicals, affixed to a backing plate, and possibly bonded to that plate with a thin layer that could contain a precious metal or other materials that you don’t even know about. Call us to discuss the kind of sputtering targets that you use and to get a preliminary opinion about what trace elements they could contain. Our testing lab can then quickly run tests to determine if they contain any valuable materials you can recycle and refine profitably.


What Kind of Precious Metals Are Typically Found in Thermocouples?

Thermocouples generally contain the platinum group metals - platinum and rhodium. Thermocouple tips often contain other metals too, such as magnesium; the use of these metals depends on the nature of the testing that is taking place. And on occasion, iridium, ruthenium and rhenium can be found in other platinum wire products. If you send us your wires, thermocouples and thermocouple tips, we will test them and let you know what they contain.


What Metals Are Typically Contained in Microprocessors and Printed Circuit Boards?

Gold, silver and palladium are the three precious metals contained in most microprocessors and printed circuit boards. On rare occasions, some platinum may be present in old medical device boards or military boards, but this is not common. Other metals contained in these different scrap metals are copper, aluminum, zinc, and other base and rare earth metals. Usually the greatest value in circuit boards comes from the gold that they contain, which is often located at the edges of the board where wires and connectors attach.

Is It Worth Recycling Silver-Plated or Gold-Plated Items?

It all depends on the quantity you have to be recycled. Silver-plated material is usually worth doing in large volumes, thousands of pounds at a time. But it also depends on the quality of the silver plating. Richer material is worth processing, even in smaller volumes.

Gold-plated material is also worth processing, but it depends on the type of material and volume. Small amounts of gold-plated jewelry are not worth recycling, but if you have 50-100 pounds of mixed gold-plated jewelry, it could be worth processing. Gold-plated electronic scrap is also worth processing if you have 50 pounds or more. Smaller quantities are worth processing if the gold-plating is higher quality. In some cases, older gold-plated material from the 1960s or 1970s can have higher gold content and value. That can also be the case with military or aviation material. If you call us, we will be happy to explain the potential value of what you have.


If We Send You Alloys of Gold, Silver or Other Metals, Will You Tell Us what Additional Metals they Contain?

We process the scrap material only for the precious metals that it contains. Base metals and other rare Earth metals are not recovered or payable, so we do not analyze the scrap for them. The only exception is that when we process a load of 10,000 pounds or more of electronic scrap, we pay the customer for the copper content as well.


What Is Rhodium?

Rhodium is a chemically inert noble metal that is resistant to corrosion. It is most frequently used in catalytic converters to clean auto emissions (in conjunction with its fellow PMG metals Platinum and Palladium). But Rhodium is also found in jewelry, where it is frequently plated onto white gold to enhance its appearance, and silver, for tarnish resistance.

How Long Will It Take You to Evaluate the Metals that We Send to You for Analysis?

It will depend on the material being turned in for processing. Karat gold takes only two to four days, but other materials can take longer to analyze. If you’re sending circuit board scrap or catalysts, for example, that could take up to 30 days or more.


How Long Will It Take You to Pay Us for Precious Metals that We Have Sent You for Recycling?

Payment is issued for your precious metal as soon as you decide to sell your metals and the processing has been completed. We do not hold payment for any amount of time. Some precious metals recyclers do that – it is usually referred to as “settlement time” – but we don’t.


What Do the London Fix Prices that You Have Posted on Your Website Mean? Are They the Prices per Ounce?

The London Fix prices are set by the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) twice a day, at 7:00 AM and 10: 30AM, Eastern Time. Prices are per Troy ounce for precious metals. For more information, CLICK HERE.


What Kind of Documentation Will You Provide for the Recycling that You Have Done for Us?

We provide you with a settlement report when the processing has been completed, showing all of the lot information, weights, and precious metals recovered from your scrap material.

Will the Metals that We Send You Be Recycled in Compliance with Federal and State Environmental Laws?

Yes. We strictly follow all local and state laws when we process your material. No material ever sent to us winds up in a landfill. So when you use Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, you can be certain that you have chosen to work with a company that respects the environment and does things right.


Should You Send Us a Sample Catalytic Convertor to Be Tested?

In most cases, the answer to that question is no, for several reasons. First, testing a single convertor costs about $450. Second, converters vary widely and therefore, testing just one in your batch makes little sense.

If you absolutely want us to test one catalytic converter, we can. But here’s the bottom line. If you have 500 convertors to recycle (and that is the minimum quantity that you can send to us for recycling), testing one or two of them cannot result in an accurate estimate of how much money you will get from your entire batch. If you give us a call at 800-426-2344, we will be happy to explain more.


Should You Send Us a Sample of Gold Jewelry to Be Tested?

The answer to that question is, usually no. In most cases, we provide an estimate of how much money you will receive, based on the karat markings on the jewelry and what it weighs. You send it in, we melt it down and send you a check for the gold content. 

If you have pieces of gold jewelry that are stamped with a karat rating, you can call us at 800-426-2344 and we can tell you how to weigh them and give you an approximate value.

Should You Send Us Unmarked Gold Items to Be Tested?

Yes, you should. If you have a gold nugget, a piece of unmarked dental scrap gold, or something else that lacks karat markings, you should send it to us so we can test it and establish its value. 


Should You Send Us a Sample of Gold-Filled Items to Be Tested?

Yes. If you have a batch of old gold-filled eyeglass frames or old gold-filled watchbands, for example, they need to be tested in our laboratory. Some of them may be filled with thick layers of gold, others not. Testing is the only way to find out.


Should You Send Us a Sample Sputtering Target to Be Tested?

In most cases, the answer is yes. Sputtering targets – those disks that are used in many modern plating operations – vary considerably in their content and original composition. Plus, they lose quantities of the gold and other metals that they contain during their life of use, and only testing can assess their content.

If you have a quantity of used sputtering targets that are essentially identical, and which have outlived their productive lives in the same company, it is possible to estimate the value of them all by testing only one. But if you have a mixed batch, you will probably need to send them all to us for testing and an estimate of value.


Should You Send Us a Sample of Sand, Black Sand, or Ore to Be Tested?

Yes you should. Some sands, ores and sands contain large quantities of gold, silver and other metals that are worth refining. Others do not. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the difference just by looking at them. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we will explain the complexities of determining the value of a ton – or five tons, or ten – of the sands and ores that you have on hand.

Should You Send Collectables to Us to Be Tested?

Yes, you should. Collectables come in all shapes and sizes – from ingots to coins to foil stamps – and some are stamped with their metal content. Even if markings are present, it is smartest to send in a sample of what you have so we can provide you with an accurate report. Bear in mind that in most cases, we can only accept a large quantity of smaller collectable and commemorative items for recycling because the amount of gold or other precious metal they contain is usually quite small.


Should You Send Us Medical Devices to Be Tested?

The answer is, it depends. If you have a large quantity of obsolete, identical cardiac catheters that were never used in testing, we can test just one of them and estimate how much money you will receive if we recycle them all for you. Similarly, if you have a number of identical, unused implantable defibrillators or pacemakers, we can test just one and let you know how much they are worth.

If you have a mixed collection of different devices, however, there is not much point in sending us just one for testing. We will need to examine everything that you have before telling you what they are worth. Again, call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.


Should You Send Us a Sample of Metal-Bearing Chemicals to Be Tested?

The answer is, yes. Many powdered and liquid chemicals, including inks and solutions used in photo processing, contain quantities of silver that can be profitably extracted. The only way to determine their value is to send us a sample. The good news is that we can determine the value of a large quantity of these materials from a small sample that you can send us.

Should You Send Us a Sample Thermocouple to Be Tested?

The answer is, it depends. Some thermocouples are made of platinum group metals, while others are not made of precious metals at all. If you are not sure what you have, testing is recommended.

If you have a large quantity of identical thermocouples, we can test one for you and estimate the value of your holdings. If you have a variety of them – some from industrial kilns, others from stoves or air conditioners – we will need to examine everything to determine a value. 

If your thermocouple wire is a platinum group metal wire, then testing is not really necessary. We will simply extract the metal and send you a check for what it is worth. 

Should You Send Us Circuit Boards, Cellphones or other Electronic Devices to Be Tested?

The answer again is that it depends. If you have a batch of identical items, for example, we can test just one and estimate the total value of your collection. If you have a mixed collection – and that is most often the case – we will have to examine everything before determining how much money you will receive after we recycle them.

Should You Send Us a Coin Collection to Be Tested? 

The answer is, you should. We can help you determine whether your coins have collectable value that is greater than the worth of the gold, silver or other precious metals that they may contain. Call us at 800-426-2344 and we can help you. 

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