Recycling Jewellery

May 28st 2011

Recently I have touched on the design/quoting process I go through with all my customers. Today I would like to discuss the issues that I encountered when recycling the gold used for these cuff-links.

Lower alloy purity = higher risk of problems

The lower the purity of the gold the more chances I have of encountering problems when I recycle it. The unwanted cuff-links were made in 9ct yellow gold, the lowest purity gold recognised here in Australia and the most popular carat gold in the market. 

9ct gold contains 37.5% pure gold, the other 62.5% is usually a mixture of silver and base metals. It is these base metals that can cause the problems in the remelting of the gold. They can cause cracking, fire stain and numerous other imperfections in the finished product.

Your gold = your risk

To make some items of jewellery I really need new gold alloy. That said, given the new design that was chosen I felt confident that we would get a good result but still advised the customer that there was a risk of imperfections being present in the gold after remelting.

In the end we did get some small imperfections which I pointed out to the customer when they came in to pick the cuff-links up. As a jeweller these imperfections tended to annoy me, but the customer informed me that they would have never have noticed them if I had not pointed them out. They had successfully turned their unwanted cuff-links into a new design they loved and saved some money on the way.

Show me the gold

The message here is that there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account when recycling gold. To name a few, the carat of the gold, the colour, the intended new design and the weight of the gold. I do all of this during the free quoting process but I need to see the gold.

This leads me to why I was prompted to write this post. Today I was asked over the phone to give a price to recycle two old bangles into a single new one. I just simply could not give the customer a quote or yet alone let them know if it was possible without knowing the intended new design, the carat of the gold to be recycled or the weight of the scrap and approximate weight of the new piece of jewellery.

The customer has made an appointment to see me in the next week and at that meeting I will be able to give her answers to her questions all as part of the free quoting process.