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KMG GOLD Recycling® Refining Gold FAQ

Impurities in Refining Lots

On occasion, a customer will get a refining lot with unusual results. This could be a higher than usual melt loss or a lower than average assay. A number of factors can influence your results for a refining lot.

Under Karated Jewelry

Large and small manufacturers of jewellery alike all undercarat their gold jewelry. This problem is seen throughout where jewelers fail to properly karat the gold before casting. Cutting corners at the manufacturing level can short the customer and ultimately the person or company buying the scrap gold. Gold jewelry made prior to 1976 is usually 1/2 karat or 2% lower than the stamped karat or per millage. New laws established in 1976 did away with this practice but it's important to be aware, especially when purchasing vintage or antique jewelry. It is important to note, that as a matter of business economics, all maunfacturers under-carat their gold and silver jewellery, as gold or silver, are of course, the most expensive ingredients in an alloy. Cost-cutting and the bottom line is the motivation for undercarating and it is wide spread across all manufacturers large and small. India is the leading manufacturing country for undercarated gold jewellery, while Mexico and China are the leading countries for undercarated silver jewelry.

Solder Joints

Items that have been sized or repaired are compromised depending on the solder used. Repair solder, which is typically underkarated, can lower the piece's overall gold content or karat. Chains with soldered links are especially vulnerable to this factor as many are made with chain maker solder which contain zinc, copper phosphorous and flux, no precious metals at all.

Alloys Used in Gold and Silver Jewelry

Some base metals, like Zinc and Tin, have a lower melt temperature than gold and silver and burn off during the refining process when heated to the proper temperature to achieve a homogeneous melt. This burn off can be responsible for a higher than usual melt, or mass loss.

Non-Precious Metals in Gold and Silver Jewelry

Melt or mass losses can occur from the steel springs in lobster claws and C-clasps. In large chain lots, these springs can add up and represent an inflated melt loss. Many jewelers cut off the clasps and reuse them in their retail operations eliminating the inevitable contamination in their refining lots.

Gold and Silver Refining Results

Typical losses from refining gold are 1%-2.5% from melt or mass losses and another 1.5%-2.5% on assay or undercarat losses.

Typical losses from refining silver are 2%-4.5% from melt or mass losses and another 2.5%-7.5% on assay or undercarat losses.

For more information about refining gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, please email or call 1.877.468.2220.