1. #1
    WC3 Megathreader Lilithvia's Avatar
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    Refining old jewelry

    Hey all. Looking to get into metallurgy. Specifically I want to melt down old jewelry and refine it into gold, silver, or copper bars. Melting stuff down looks easy enough, though my concerns lie with personal protective equipment, and safety hazards that arise from using aqua regia, as well as not understanding how to extract the gold, silver, etc from aqua regia.

    Hence this thread. Any metallurgists able to help me with these issues?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Lilithvia View Post
    Hey all. Looking to get into metallurgy. Specifically I want to melt down old jewelry and refine it into gold, silver, or copper bars. Melting stuff down looks easy enough, though my concerns lie with personal protective equipment, and safety hazards that arise from using aqua regia, as well as not understanding how to extract the gold, silver, etc from aqua regia.

    Hence this thread. Any metallurgists able to help me with these issues?
    This is the wrong forum for this. You don't need a metallurgist, you need a jeweler. I'm sure there's a forum/community for jewelry hobbyists. Google it.

    Second, a lot of old jewelry is more valuable as is then the metal it is made of. You need quite a bit of expertise to be able to recognize something that's might worth hundreds or thousands of dollars/euros for a few bucks worth of metal.

    Try Etsy or Reddit for Metalsmithing threads.
    Last edited by Mihalik; 2020-08-11 at 04:03 PM.
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    It doesnt destroy the land to bury styrofoam 25 feet below the ground
    Today Obama once again kneeled at the altar of environmental naziism and hurt this once great country. He has now banned all drilling in the Atlantic Ocean

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Mihalik View Post
    This is the wrong forum for this. You don't need a metallurgist, you need a jeweler. I'm sure there's a forum/community for jewelry hobbyists. Google it.

    Second, a lot of old jewelry is more valuable as is then the metal it is made of. You need quite a bit of expertise to be able to recognize something that's might worth hundreds or thousands of dollars/euros for a few bucks worth of metal.
    Imagine melting something worth 10 grand for a meager $250...

  4. #4
    I am Murloc! shadowmouse's Avatar
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    There are videos about it online. It is a multi step process that will need some specialized equipment, but nothing I recall as terribly exotic. Do be careful about fumes and shavings. Back when I was apprenticing as a jeweler, I was warned: "if you can taste your fork, you're getting too much heavy metal in your system." How accurate that actually was, I cannot really say and I mention it as a sign it was an acknowledged danger ... not medical advice. Ask a real doctor who is current on the possible problems what you should watch out for, just know that things can go wrong. [We were doing whitesmithing and were in contact with lots of fine filings. YMMV]

    The videos make it look almost like free money. Don't count on it. For all the stories about how someone found a fortune, professionals and very dedicated hobbyists have been pawing through estate sales, yard sales and all the rest for years. If you don't have a pretty good idea what you are looking for, you may get skinned.
    With COVID-19 making its impact on our lives, I have decided that I shall hang in there for my remaining days, skip some meals, try to get children to experiment with making henna patterns on their skin, and plant some trees. You know -- live, fast, dye young, and leave a pretty copse. I feel like I may not have that quite right.

  5. #5
    WC3 Megathreader Lilithvia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowmouse View Post
    There are videos about it online. It is a multi step process that will need some specialized equipment, but nothing I recall as terribly exotic. Do be careful about fumes and shavings. Back when I was apprenticing as a jeweler, I was warned: "if you can taste your fork, you're getting too much heavy metal in your system." How accurate that actually was, I cannot really say and I mention it as a sign it was an acknowledged danger ... not medical advice. Ask a real doctor who is current on the possible problems what you should watch out for, just know that things can go wrong. [We were doing whitesmithing and were in contact with lots of fine filings. YMMV]

    The videos make it look almost like free money. Don't count on it. For all the stories about how someone found a fortune, professionals and very dedicated hobbyists have been pawing through estate sales, yard sales and all the rest for years. If you don't have a pretty good idea what you are looking for, you may get skinned.
    I'm not looking to sell the metal bars. Really, I'm just wanting to have a couple bars of gold and silver, and maybe make some custom molds to form metal in.

  6. #6
    I am Murloc! shadowmouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilithvia
    and maybe make some custom molds to form metal in.
    I trained to make jewelry by building it up cold from sheets and wires -- sawing, twisting, filing, soldering -- I didn't get to do casting. No reason why you couldn't though, I gather the basics of lost wax aren't that hard to get started with. Just remember to be careful, I recall from other things that hot stuff can remain hot even when you think you gave it enough time to cool.
    With COVID-19 making its impact on our lives, I have decided that I shall hang in there for my remaining days, skip some meals, try to get children to experiment with making henna patterns on their skin, and plant some trees. You know -- live, fast, dye young, and leave a pretty copse. I feel like I may not have that quite right.

  7. #7
    WC3 Megathreader Lilithvia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowmouse View Post
    I trained to make jewelry by building it up cold from sheets and wires -- sawing, twisting, filing, soldering -- I didn't get to do casting. No reason why you couldn't though, I gather the basics of lost wax aren't that hard to get started with. Just remember to be careful, I recall from other things that hot stuff can remain hot even when you think you gave it enough time to cool.
    I'm planning to drop it into water to help it cool off. Not sure if that will screw it up, but I'm hoping it won't.

  8. #8
    I am Murloc! shadowmouse's Avatar
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    Watch some of the videos, and as one of the other posters suggested you might want to find a board with fellow enthusiasts to get direct advice.

    While I'm simply guessing, if you aren't interested in jewelry and aren't planning on selling, you might be inclined to set something back for a rainy day. Remember that just having a chunk of metal is of limited value without an indication of how pure it is.
    With COVID-19 making its impact on our lives, I have decided that I shall hang in there for my remaining days, skip some meals, try to get children to experiment with making henna patterns on their skin, and plant some trees. You know -- live, fast, dye young, and leave a pretty copse. I feel like I may not have that quite right.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Daedius View Post
    Imagine melting something worth 10 grand for a meager $250...
    I'm willing to wager quite a few enthusiastic amateurs wiped out a few grand worth of value doing that. It's probably more common with stolen goods and coins, as the legal market for those is so small that passing them off without paperwork would be a challenge.
    Quote Originally Posted by Orlong View Post
    It doesnt destroy the land to bury styrofoam 25 feet below the ground
    Today Obama once again kneeled at the altar of environmental naziism and hurt this once great country. He has now banned all drilling in the Atlantic Ocean

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