How Scrap Gold Refining Works

So, you've sent your gold and received a nice check. What happens to the gold next? What does the company who purchased your old, broken, unwanted jewelry do with it once they've purchased it from you?

The gold that has been purchased is sent in bulk to a precious metal refiner so it can be

refined and eventually resold. The first step in this process is called smelting. When gold jewelry, teeth and other reclaimed gold products are smelted, the pieces are combined with a chemical compound called flux; the flux bonds to the other metals that have been combined with the gold (usually nickel, silver or other metals to give the gold its strength and color). The gold and slag are heated together to a very high temperature, 1064 degrees centigrade, to make it melt.

This liquid is then poured into molds and allowed to cool into bars called buillion. In the process of cooling, the flux and the impurities that have bonded to it separate from the gold and float to the top, which enables the precious metal refiner to determine the amount of gold that is actually in the mixture. This is called assaying, and it is done by drilling down into the cooled bars and taking a sample for analysis.

After this process takes place comes the final step, called refining. The buillion bars are remelted and chlorine gas is bubbled through it. This separates out any impurities completely, leaving behind gold that is more than 98% pure and allowing the refiner to reclaim any silver that was mixed with the gold in a separate procedure. The refined gold and silver can then be sold to investors, as well as to jewelers and manufacturers as post-consumer recycled gold.

The market for post-consumer gold has grown dramatically over the last few years as environmental consciousness has increased. Not only do components manufacturers and investors purchase recycled gold buillion, it has also become very chic for couples to purchase wedding bands and jewelry that are from clean, non-mining sources.

There is a growing number of jewelers who pride themselves on working exclusively with clean gold; these companies claim that there is enough gold in existence and available to be recycled to provide for all of the world's jewelry needs for the next fifty years, and many people find it rewarding to have the symbol of their love created out of an environmentally-friendly product.

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