Let’s face it gold & silver are expensive! Despite today’s throw away society, even if we are no longer in love with it, gold & silver are not something that any of us just throw into the bin. That would be such a waste of precious metal! So what do we do with it? A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to tour a Gold Refinery. This is what I learnt.
Scraps of Silver
As a silver Jewellery Designer, I am all too aware of the problem of expensive precious metal waste. I have been trained to keep every single scarp of metal that results from making jewellery, no matter how small. This includes everything from tiny scraps of silver wire and sheet, right through to the fine silver dust that is created after saw piercing or filing a piece of jewellery. Every single spec of silver (or as much as I can possibly manage to sweep up) is collected and recycled.
So what happens to the old gold & silver we no longer need?
Some people ask Jewellers to turn their family heirlooms into modified pieces of jewellery. On the other hand, you often hear of companies offering to buy back old gold jewellery. I guess as a private individual this is probably the way to go – although I have never investigated these services, so really can’t comment on them.
The question is, have you ever wondered what happens to the old gold and silver jewellery they buy? This is where Gold Refineries come in.
Having recently visited one such Refinery I can tell you that the refining process is fascinating! In layman’s terms, a Gold Refinery processes old gold/silver scraps and jewellery. They remove any impurities and turn it into bullion and fabricated gold or silver sheet/wire as required by its customers. This can then be used once again by Jewellery Designers like me to create new pieces of jewellery.
How cool is that!
(If you are keen to know more detail about the process, do head over to the Morris and Watson website as I have seriously glossed over it here.)
Use your imagination
If you know me, you know that I would loved to have shown you photos of the process (and maybe even a selfie of me with a gold bullion or two!!) but understandably we were not allowed to take photos during our visit – nor sadly were we given a goodie bag to take home with us 😉 ! Sorry! I will just have to leave this to your imagination. Think of small crucibles of hot molten metal … laboratories filled with what look like giant chemistry sets … tiny granules of precious metals … and little bars of gold… I think you have the picture.
What do you do with Your old Gold & Silver?
Well, that gives you a very brief summary of what can be done with old gold and silver.
If you’re lucky enough to have any lying about the house, I’d love to know what you plan to do with yours?