How To Get Gold From Old Jewelry
Gold prices have risen to the point where people want to know how to get gold from old jewelry. Considered one of the world’s most precious metals, gold is used around the world as currency. Old gold jewelry is frequently collected and melted down into bars in countries like India and Asia.
Getting fold from old jewelry requires the right tools and work area and there are safety issues that must be addressed before you start. Twenty-four carat gold is pure gold, but no jewelry is made from pure gold because it is too soft and looks dull. Other metals are added to the gold to make it hard and shiny, like copper and silver. When you melt jewelry to retrieve the gold, you are also melting these metals. During heating, the metals put off fumes and vapors that are dangerous if inhaled.
Another precaution is to protect against burns and fire. Gold melts at 1,940 degrees and you will be working with hot tools and containers. Wear close fitting clothing, keep your hair tied back and always use heat proof safety gloves. Keep anything that is flammable away from your work area. A cement floor is the safest. If you are using an acetylene torch (the same torch used for welding metal) to melt the gold, wear safety goggles because the intense light can permanently damage your eyes.
Before discussing the melting procedure, here are some of the tools and materials you will need:
- Heat. To melt gold you need high heat. You can supply this with either a furnace that can be regulated or a torch. The torch is more readily available and can be rented if need be. A fairly powerful torch, such as an oxy-acetylene unit, will be needed.
- Crucible. This is the container that will hold the gold jewelry while you are melting it. The crucible must stand up to high heat as well as the chemical flux that will be used. Graphite carbon crucibles will work well for melting gold.
- Flux. To melt gold, a flux made from sodium carbonate and borax works best. It takes a teaspoon of flux per ounce for clean jewelry scrap, more for dirty, but the amount of flux is not critical.
- Mold. Though there are many shapes and sizes of molds used for casting metal, but the easiest to use are open top molds that make a bar or brick shape. These come in several sizes and are made of heavy metal that resists high heat.
- Additional Tools and Equipment. Heat proof gloves and metal tongs.
The following method is for melting and casting gold jewelry:
- Collect gold items to melt and clean in hot soapy water. The more dirt and impurities that are on the jewelry when you melt it, the more flux you will have to add.
- After the gold is dry, examine the jewelry and remove anything that is not gold such as stones, glass and other metals like clasps or jump rings.
- Put the gold items in your crucible and add the right amount of flux based on the weight of the jewelry. Add a small amount of flux even if the gold looks clean. Remember, all gold used in jewelry contains some other metal and the flux will help remove it.
- Apply heat to your container with either a furnace or a torch until the gold melts.
- After the gold has melted, carefully use the metal tongs to grasp the crucible and pour the gold into your mold. Let the gold cool until it sets up but is still hot.
Cool the gold until set, then turn it out of the mold. Be careful, it is still very hot.
- Finally, let the gold cool completely before polishing.
You now have gold from your old gold jewelry and you can either sell it or use it to make some beautiful new pieces.