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Gold testing and reclaimation


Right, I have been given a small pack of estate gold to refine and
I’ve given it a quick once over and a couple of pieces just feel…
wrong. Not stamped and just have the wrong feel and heft, I don’t
have a lot of various acids to try the more traditional methods of
gold testing?

I mean if the pieces are out and out brass there is no point in
sending them in for refining.

Also if I can do a good enough sort on this and weigh it I should be
able to send it in with my own scrap for a better return and work
out the % split after right? Or am I being overly optimistic?

Any thoughts?



Hello Noran,

If you have a good scale measuring to 0.1 gram or so and a small
container full of water, play Archimedes. Note: The container must
be large enough to allow complete immersion of the objects.

Weigh the questionable item and put it into the container of water -
the displaced water will overflow. Carefully remove the item, being
sure to shake any beads of water back into the container. (You might
want to use a hook.)

Weigh out some gold (14K is commonly used if you’re in the US) to
the same weight as the unknown; place the gold into the same
container and see if the water level comes up to match the same level
as when the unknown was immersed. If so, the material of both objects
is the same.

Actually, the order of unknown or known first doesn’t matter. You
are concerned with whether or not the amount of water displaced is
the same.

The denser material (gold, Pt) will displace less water than the
same weight of a less dense material (brass, silver, etc).

Google Archimedes Principle for more info.

Judy in Kansas, where the forced branches of forsythia are beginning to
bloom - “Oh frabjous day! Callou! Callay!”