How to recover gold from scrap

As gold prices continue their march upward, and high unemployment and stagnant wages take their toll on the economy, an increasing number of people are considering selling off their old or broken gold jewelry or other scrap gold.

The price of gold has appreciated considerably over the past four years as the economy has stumbled. Gold recently broke the psychologically important $1,300 per ounce mark, and appears set to break $1,400 per ounce by the end of the year. During this same period, other investments have not done as well and reduced hours, wages and jobs are taking their toll on the middle class. As a result, scrap gold items consigned to the bottom of jewelry boxes and old shoe boxes may be a lifeline for struggling households trying to make ends meet.

Many folks have gone into the scrap gold business, buying and selling scrap gold for fun and profit.

To get the maximum value for scrap gold you own or are trading, you may want to strip down all of the other metals it is alloyed with to get a pure product to sell. Unprocessed gold tends to sell for much less than purified gold, so recovering gold from scrap jewelry can boost your profit.

Recovering gold from scrap jewelry is much easier than recovering it from industrial or computer equipment. In many cases, all you’ll need to do is apply heat and separate the gold. In some cases, a chemical treatment will be needed.

Most gold is in alloyed form, meaning it’s combined with other metals to make it more brittle and capable of holding a shape. Gold is often mixed with silver, copper, zinc or other metals.

When considering recovering gold from scrap, you may want to contract the work out to a scrap melting company, particularly if you only have a few pieces or if you don’t have the space or resources for a gold refining lab. You can find a scrap melting company by talking with a local jeweler. Of course, this will cut into your profits.

If you’d like to set up a home refining system, you’ll need to set up a home lab, including nitric acid and aqua regia. You can purchase these chemicals from various chemical supply firms. The area you refine gold in will need to be well ventilated and equipped with safety equipment such as goggles, a fire extinguisher and an emergency eye wash station.

In general, when you’re recovering gold from scrap jewelry, what you’ll need to do is dissolve the metal in acid and then use electrolysis to recover the gold from the dissolved material. This process is relatively easy, but can release dangerous fumes, making the use of ventilation very important.

When considering setting up your own gold recovery system, you’ll need to examine costs to ensure that the process won’t end up costing you more money than just sending it off to be refined. You’ll also need to intensively study the process to avoid harm to yourself and others, as you will be dealing with hazardous materials.

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