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Collecting gold with mercury


#1

Was: Platinum coated diamonds

You worry me. Last time, you were looking for asbestos. You don't
have some sort of death wish, do you? 
I'm afraid you're going to have to bite the bullet... 

Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but aren’t bullets made of lead? I may be
crazy but I’m not stupid enough to go around biting lead! That stuff
is dangerous I hear!

On another note, what do you all think of the idea of having some
puddles of mercury rolling around in my desk to pick up all the
precious metal filings? I could then burn off the mercury (outside!)
and be left with gold, silver, and platinum dust which I could
easily send to my refiner. More importantly I could get a better
weight on this metal and be less prone to the usual refinery screwing
we all get.

Doc


#2
what do you all think of the idea of having some puddles of mercury
rolling around in my desk to pick up all the precious metal
filings? I could then burn off the mercury (outside!) and be left
with gold, silver, and platinum dust which I could easily send to
my refiner. 

Doc, you have a great sense of humor. I’m assuming it’s that and not
the alternative, which is that you are insane… There are so many
reasons not to do that it’s hard to know where to start---- Aside
from the obvious, which is the death-wish part. Just now I priced
mercury at about $60/100gm, or $116/lb. You could have “balls rolling
around on your desk”, I guess, but how are you going to do that?
Train them? Then you’re going to touch them, get them in your
clothes, have them on the floor, in your hair - such a concept. Then
your brain will slowly rot away - mercury’s a neuological toxin…
Finally, mercury isn’t going to “burn off”. It’s simply going to boil
and vaporize, and then it’s going to cool off and un-vaporize, and
deposit elemental mercury all over your yard, your fruit trees, your
tomatos, your water table, your dog. Such a sense of humor!!! I’m
not “mercury paranoid” either - it just is what it is - fairly
difficult to handle because of it’s surface tension, and an
insidious toxin that’s extremely difficult to get rid of. Not to
mention it’s not so cheap.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#3

Hello,

With all my respect and politness Doc, but did you lost all…! Just
grap some mercury to refine Gold,silver and Platinum and let the good
stuf vaporize into free air so others can inhale it?!

YOU don’t like to bite into lead but do you really think that others
like to inhale mercury?

Do yourself and the world a big favor,collect your materials and
turn them in as it is. Don’t monkey around with dangerous materials
and don’t let mercury vaporize in free air. If you really whould like
to do this then look for a save procedure with two bottles and some
glas tube in between so the mercury can vaporize in the other bottle
leaving the heavy materials in the first one. Forgive me for this
uncomplete explanation of this procedure. Look out for an experinced
person and ask him for all others details. Keep in mind that mercury
is extremely dangerous and don’t be one of them whch are thinking
small by saying " it’s just a few grams of mercury…who cares
about it".

Refinery’s have the equipment and the knowledge, let them take care
about it. If you really like to go into it, then find the proper and
save way of how to do this.

What go’s around, comes around.

Best regards and pleace don’t feel bad about what I wrote, this is
not personal.

Pedro


#4

Doc, have you considered the use of plutonium?

The mercury will do no more than a brush, pan and filter. If you
like working with mercury, cyanide and lead (yes even the deadly lead
can refine gold) then you are in the wrong trade; you should be a
refiner and I’m glad you are not my neighbour!

Let the refiners worry about getting the gold out. Better to be
screwed by them than to screw around with poisons.

Cheers, Alastair


#5

I’m surprised someone hasn’t mentioned this bit of history. In
previous centuries hatters used heated mercury in the process of
forming hats. They were frequently exposed to the fumes.

Many of them went mad before they died, thus earning the phrase “mad
as a hatter”.

So did countless native S. Americans fwho werer forced to work in
Peruvian silver mines after the conquest-- at least those who had
the job of mashing mercury into crushed ore–with their bare feet.

When we were kids, my brother brought some home in a tube. I
remember rolling beads of it around in our hands and marveling that
it was molten at room temp. Of course before its toxicity was
scientifically confirmed.

But I think Doc was just joking…:wink: Right?

Cheers!


#6
Then you're going to touch them, get them in your clothes, have
them on the floor, in your hair - such a concept. Then your brain
will slowly rot away - mercury's a neuological toxin.... 

An interesting aside. That’s where the term “mad as a hatter” came
from. Back in the day hat makers used balls of mercury to roll around
in the wet felt to shape a hat. I can imagine some of the customers
got some of the mercury from the hat as well.

When I was a kid my uncle used to work for the local power utility.
He would save mercury from old mercury switches and give it to us
kids to play with. What fun it was. Hmmm… Maybe I should get a
blood test to see how much of the mercury is left in my system. That
might explain some mental lapses that I just blamed on the 70’s. :wink:

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
rockymountainwonders.com


#7
Doc, you have a great sense of humor. I'm assuming it's that and
not the alternative, which is that you are insane..... 

Well, maybe a little of both?

There are so many reasons not to do that it's hard to know where to
start---- Aside from the obvious, which is the death-wish part.
Just now I priced mercury at about $60/100gm, or $116/lb. You could
have "balls rolling around on your desk", I guess, but how are you
going to do that? Train them? Then you're going to touch them, get
them in your clothes, have them on the floor, in your hair - such a
concept. 

Actually, if you’ve ever had any mercury around precious metal dust
and grindings, you’d know that it quickly solidifies as it amalgams
and before long becomes a hard, solid lump.

Then your brain will slowly rot away - mercury's a neuological
toxin.... 

Mercury itself isn’t really a problem. The hazards arise when
mercury is vaporized (which it can at room temperature.)

Finally, mercury isn't going to "burn off". It's simply going to
boil and vaporize, and then it's going to cool off and un-vaporize,
and deposit elemental mercury all over your yard, your fruit trees,
your tomatos, your water table, your dog. 

Yeah I understand the fear, but mercury is an element and exists in
nature. And it won’t “un-vaporize” all on its own like water vapor.

Such a sense of humor!!!! I'm not "mercury paranoid" either - it
just is what it is - fairly difficult to handle because of it's
surface tension, and an insidious toxin that's extremely difficult
to get rid of. Not to mention it's not so cheap. 

I’ll concede the last point you made.


#8

The old time miners used to put their amalgum inside a potato, then
bake it. The mercury would cook off into the potato from which it
could be recovered. Eating the spud is not recommended!

Jerry in Kodiak


#9

When the California mining and geology museum was in the Ferry
Building in San Francico, I took my children in one day to look at
the displays. They had some beautiful turn of the century glass
topped and sided tables with quarter sawn oak wood legs. In the very
back corner was a display of gold ores. The glass panel was broken
and the ore had been crumbled. Beads of mercury were scattered around
the bottom of the case. Someone thought they could extract the gold,
but I doubt if they got much.

Rose Alene


#10

having been to Doc’s shop I can attest to his Laissez Faire (from
the French, meaning to leave alone or to allow to do) attitude and
use of chemicals which he has a grasp of in his rather laissez -faire
way (from New Orleans Creole, meaning not to care -at all…or to
trivialize) - it’s not just theoretical chat folks- he cyanide bombs,
he has mercury rolling around in a container, he has lots of things I
inquired about the safety of (like the cyanide bombing pot without a
lid next to the tanks of gas, and containers -open of course-in a bin
that looked - dangerous at least, and hazardous at best with chemical
crusts and salts all around everything that held or holds something!
in way to small a space and with way to little air circulation in my
opinion)…But the bottom line is He’s still alive…Isn’t it up to him
how he chooses to perform his bench tasks…which from the evidence I
saw he does very adeptly and customers keep coming back…that says a
lot in itself…no one of them has (yet) died from having their ring
bombed nor entering or exiting his shop!! By- the -way a travel tip;
I would avoid going anywhere near the whole of Eastern
Tennessee…(wink!)…rer


#11
And it won't "un-vaporize" all on its own like water vapor. 

You’re a smart guy, Doc - there’s nothing to argue about, but yes,
it will. Whether ANY substance is any phase - solid, liquid or gas -
is a function of temperature and pressure. The reason oxygen is a
gas on earth is because the ambient temperature is above it’s
liquification point. Heating mercury will cause it to boil, just
like water, and when it cools off it will condense, just like water.
And liquid mercury is easily absorbed through the skin, too. But I’m
not all paranoid about it, either. Just facts is facts.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#12
The old time miners used to put their amalgum inside a potato,
then bake it. The mercury would cook off into the potato from which
it could be recovered. Eating the spud is not recommended! 

You are absolutely correct. I started in antique restoration shop
and we had to do repairs on gilded pieces. We drove off mercury under
the hood. Inside the hood we had iron grille lined up with slices of
raw potatoes.

Leonid Surpin
www.studioarete.com


#13

I believe that Mercury can be absorbed through the skin also. Or it
might be that is taken up through small cuts and scratches.

Eric


#14
So did countless native S. Americans fwho werer forced to work in
Peruvian silver mines after the conquest-- at least those who had
the job of mashing mercury into crushed ore--with their bare feet. 

Ah, yes, I’ve heard of this: Potosi, during the late 1500s. I’ve seen
it described by one historian as being like “The Gangs of New York at
13,000 feet, on cocaine, with mercury poisoning”. But it paid for the
Spainish military for decades…

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL


#15

I have a heavy toxic level of mercury in my system and have had it
for over 30 years. It was absorbed through the skin when I worked at
a dental office and had to handle pure mercury and amalgam in a
cheesecloth. I had to put so much amalgam into the cheesecloth and
either one drop or two drops of mercury into the cloth also. Then I
had to hand mix the two together. Then you squeeze the cloth out so
excess mercury comes out. By the time they got to testing my blood
they discovered that my level of mercury in my system was so high
that I was considered extremely toxic. Even after 31 the mercury
level in my blood is still extremely high (I have had all my
fillings replaced and no longer work in the dental field). Just
letting you know that you have to handle mercury with respect. It has
ruined my health. I would hate to see anyone go through what I have
gone through, Be careful when handling anything that may contain
mercury - use heavy thick gloves. Wear a mask. I did not do any of
these things when I had to handle it day after day for years. Just be
very careful.


#16

In kerala India. goldsmiths still using mercury for recovering lost
gold while doing fileing and engraving. they collect all the dust and
put some water so that the collected dust will not fly off and they
add mercury and mix it thoughrouly and meit this amalgamon using the
traditional black clay cup. when it is melt the mercury vaporises and
the gold dust melt together in the form of ingot./ usally people
bring gold ornaments to jewelery shop complainig that the 22 ct gold
which they bought got white i some part and they doubt some kind of
cheating from the part of retailer. when examine the ornament we can
find out it is mercury when we ask them are you recently
hospitalised? the answer is no but yes they went hospital for a
checkup. / we then release this mercury by heatig slowly and then
repolish it if it is in very small quntity we use herbal treat that
is Bettal leaf which used by all Indian states pepple chew it with
little calcim carbonate and arec nut and spitting blood red colored
saliva.

Thank you
Tomy jseph


#17
he cyanide bombs, he has mercury rolling around in a container, he
has lots of things I inquired about the safety of (like the cyanide
bombing pot without a lid next to the tanks of gas, and containers
-open of course-in a bin that looked - dangerous at least, and
hazardous at best with chemical crusts and salts all around
everything that held or holds something! in way to small a space
and with way to little air circulation in my opinion).. 

R.E. I can only HOPE you ARE kidding anyone who works with the
chemicals, gasses, metals and other irems that require care in
handeling, in our shops on our benches and elsewhere has a
responsibility to a whole bunch of people. How about the fire dept
people that have to enter his shop where cyanide gas has filled his
shop and lungs in the event of a fire or emergency? He does have a
responsibility to the safety of people entering his shop and to the
earth in how he uses the items in his shop. All of us do.

Cheers
J Morley Goldsmith/Laser Welding