Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Cheapest source for fine silver

Hi Orchidians,

What’s the cheapest, reliable way to buy fine silver? The price of
silveris “relatively” low. I have a torch set up that allows me to
easily pour my own ingots, a small Durston rolling mill and a simple
draw bench and a bunch of nice draw plates. It seems silly to pay
the mark up on one ounce coins. Is there a reliable dealer that
sells simple 1 to 10 troy ounce ingots?

Thank you in advance for your answers!


What's the cheapest, reliable way to buy fine silver? It seems
silly to pay the mark up on one ounce coins. Is there a reliable
dealer that sells simple 1 to 10 troy ounce ingots? 

I buy clean sterling scrap from the local metals buyers and pawn
shops for spot. much better than they can get from a refiner, and
they’re happy to make the sale.

If I need it to be fine silver, I simply refine it.

Paf Dvorak

Is there a reliable dealer that sells simple 1 to 10 troy ounce

yes, Melissa, google “gold and silver bullion dealers” and you
should see find the people who sell all sorts of things other than

Barbara on a rainy day on the island

I have a couple of them I use here in San Diego, that both sell fine
silver and fine gold.

When you inquire about buying silver or gold from them, tell them
you’re using it to make jewelry out of, and not for “speculation”.
You certainly don’t care about the numismatic value of the coins they
sell you, but just the raw metal weight. They may have silver bought
from customers, or coins that have been slightly damaged to sell you.
My fine silver may be in coin or small ingot form, may look like it’s
pretty well used, or even freshly minted, but I don’t pay a “minting
fee”, just the bare-bones spot silver price plus a small fee. They
will charge you a slight charge over the “spot” price of the metals
market, but it is small compared to buying from a refiner, and paying
postage, insurance, etc.

I buy my pure gold and pure silver from a local coin shop, and alloy
my own sterling as well as 18K or 14K gold with palladium (for white
gold) or rose or yellow gold with alloys I buy from David Fell Co.
here in Ca., or United Metals in NY. I am a huge fan of the S57NA
sterling alloy United makes, and almost all my students now make
their sterling stock out of the S57NA alloy and pure silver from the
coin shop.

Its dead easy to do if you have an alloy chart and an accurate
scale, and I really don’t know how much cheaper you can go for fresh
metals with great working characteristics and colors.

Jay Whaley

Hi Melissa,

I buy fine silver 1 oz rounds at my local precious metals/coin shop
for $2.50 over the spot market price.

You will need to alloy it. I prefer United Metals S88 alloy.

Of course you will need a rolling mill and draw plates to get it
into a usable form unless you are casting.

I’ve gone to alloying my own for over a year now since the major
jewelry suppliers have gone to the pricey no tarnish lines and I had
a problem with my long term supplier with sterling that was turning
customer’s skin black…

And it’s a good sales pitch to potential customers…

Rick Copeland

Thanks to everyone for the great responses. I’ve been planning on
trying one of the United Metals alloys and I noticed two of their
alloys were recommended. I checked the United Metals web site and
was surprised to see that they have eight all purpose 925 alloys and
four casting alloys. Quite a range of selections in color and

This group is, as always, very generous with


Hoover and Strong, Stuller Settings to name two that I use. Most any
refinerwill be able to sell you fine silver in ingot or casting
grain form. Have fun and make lots of jewelry.


It sounds like you are set up to fabricate your own mill products
which is positively the best way to keep your studio well stocked
with any silver or gold stock you could buy, in fact, more than you
can buy since with a good alloying reference you can make more
colours and karats of gold than most dealers sell and any silver or
bi-metal items as well. I buy only fine silver casting grain from
local refineries or the occasional lot from Hoover & Strong or any
vendor when I need a speciality that only that mill sells as part of
a bulk/quantity order as adding on lowers pricing to spot if not near
spot. On the occasion I’m buying for a group it always turns out to
be a good deal for clean product. I also find the occasional fine
silver “commemorative” or "specially minted set of X " from dealers
at flea markets (usually they resell pieces bought years ago and can
be had for a fraction of their worth. The last ones I got were 3 oz.
US National Parks commemoratives for 15 dollars each!).You can
cultivate relationships with coin dealers at flea markets who will
sell them to you for not more than spot once they realise you are
melting them and don’t care about die stampings on the pieces. At one
market I get them from the guy has a cigar box full of them marked 6
bucks each for oz. troy rounds and hasn’t changed the price in more
than 10 years! So there are good deals out there! As for “refining
your own sterling into fine silver” as one poster claims, it’s less
than worth the time with sources of fine silver so readily available.
To do it yourself you’ll need to dissolve the copper in nitric acid
(in a glass beaker or other glass vessel) completely to result in
fine silver. It will give off toxic fumes, so you need excellent
ventilation and the correct respirator. Once you neutralize the acid,
and filter the white powder that accumulates, it is then heated with
a small amount of refining flux in a clean well glazed crucible(with
crystalline borax flux) then poured into your mould .There is another
method that involves accumulating the silver crystals on a metallic
plate in the liquid in which the other metals in the sterling are
dissolved but its far more complicated than worth the time in the
small studio. If you need more feel free to contact me…


If I need it to be fine silver, I simply refine it. 

Care to share your refining process? The way I’m aware of is using
nitric acid to dissolve the silver creating silver nitride. Then
suspending a copper wire in the solution to extract the silver.

I just don’t have an area where I would feel safe doing the process
without fear of harming humans or animals…

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan

R. E Rourke,

Please share tips for making 18kt. yellow gold and sterling bi-metal.