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Keeping different gold karats separate


#1

I have been working in sterling silver for about 10 years and
recently started working in gold.

I stock supplies in both 10K and 14K (sheet, findings etc, I do not
cast). I am discovering that it is very difficult to keep supplies
and sweeps of the 10K separate from the 14K.

I keep my supplies in separate areas of my bench and label sheet
goods on both sides with an indelible marker.

I don’t want to get into a situation where I sell an item as 14K,
but have accidentally used some 10K, as this practice is dishonest
and illegal. My solution to this problem is to stop working in 10K
and work only in 14K, so that a mix up is not possible. What do others
do?

Regards
Milt Fischbein
Calgary Alberta


#2

One method to help keep things seperate is to buy a electronic
tester. They are relatively cheap nowadays. So, when in doubt,check
it out! Ed


#3

Hello Milt, When cutting scrap off, mark it with a sharpie then place
it in an Altoid type tin marked with the type of metal to be stored
in it. Marta in Sacramento


#4

Hello Milt, Like you, most of my work is in sterling, with
occasional gold (10, 14, &18 karets)pieces or accents. Here’s what
I do. Upon receiving the sheet or wire, I stamp the edge or end of
gold stock with the appropriate mark (highlight over the mark so
it’s easy to find). They are also stored separately and marked with
magic marker as you describe. If there’s any doubt about the karet,
I look at my stamped mark. Findings should already be marked by the
manufacturer. I have filing “drawers” (actually metal cookie
sheets) marked for sterling and 14K, and everything else gets put in
a mixed metal sweeps/scrap container. Since I use very little 10K,
I just don’t worry about having it mixed in with sterling and the
occasional “unknown.” Judy in Kansas;


#5

I believe it was Ben Franklin who said “an ounce of prevention is
worth a pound of cure.” And here it couldn’t be more appropriate.
Have bins for every different type of metal you use and keep your
metal in them all the time. After you cut off a bit of what you
need, put the rest back. I keep a pretty chaotic bench, pliers,
burs, sanding sticks, etc., everywhere, but no precious metal.
Being a custom jeweler who works with many clients who all prefer
different types of metal, I have to have just about every kind of
platinum there is (90% ruthenium and iridium, 95% cobalt, ruth. and
irid. and S+platinum from Hoover) white gold in 14 and 18 as well as
silver and yellow gold in many different karats and colors.
Everything has a bin. After I cut a piece off a shank, if it is big
enough to be reused, it goes in a bin. The only real difficulty I
have is keeping the platinum filings separated from gold. I have
yet to find a fast and ergonomic way of cleaning my bench after
filing platinum and then cleaning it again when filing gold, so I
have to work into the cost of doing business the fact that I won’t
get all the platinum bench filing scrap back from refining.

Larry


#6

Larry~ I found a fairly practical way to keep my metal filings
separate.

I use large pieces of paper, the kind that bakeries use under large
sheet cakes, in my sweeps drawer, When I am done with a particular
metal, I simply pick up the paper ( which I folded and creased in the
middle before I put in the drawer) and carefully tap the paper and
contents into a jar marked for that specific metal.

It keeps it clean, separated, and, no loss of money in the refining.

Frif


#7
    I use large pieces of paper, the kind that bakeries use under
large sheet cakes, in my sweeps drawer,  When I am done with a
particular metal, I simply pick up the paper ( which I folded and
creased in the middle before I put in the drawer)  and carefully
tap the paper and contents into a jar marked for that specific
metal. 

You can also use those inexpensive baking pans w/the plastic covers
and when you are done, simply remove the pan, snap on the cover and
put on the shelf until next time you need it.

Kay


#8

Hello , There are benches with two , metal lined catch drawers ,
available . These benches have a laminate top and pull out design
board under the bench pin [a feature I’ve learned to really like] .

The only real difficulty I have is keeping the platinum filings
separated from gold.  I have yet to find a fast and ergonomic way
of cleaning my bench after filing platinum and then cleaning it
again when filing gold, so I have to work into the cost of doing
business the fact that I won't get all the platinum bench filing
scrap back from refining 

We dedicate one drawer to platinum only , the value of platinum is
so high that saving 10 - 15 gr. would pay for the new bench . As we
work between different metals we just pull out the appropriate
drawer … as easy as can be .

Mark Clodius


#9

I have been working in sterling silver for about 10 years and
recently started working in gold.

I stock supplies in both 10K and 14K (sheet, findings etc, I do not
cast). I am discovering that it is very difficult to keep supplies
and sweeps of the 10K separate from the 14K.

I keep my supplies in separate areas of my bench and label sheet
goods on both sides with an indelible marker.

I don’t want to get into a situation where I sell an item as 14K,
but have accidentally used some 10K, as this practice is dishonest
and illegal. My solution to this problem is to stop working in 10K
and work only in 14K, so that a mix up is not possible. What do
others do?


#10

Hi

I also have been working in 10, 14, and 18k white and yellow as
needed. I keep a bag of smaller ziplock bags all separate. Im hoping
as I get more involved in gold work and the price drops (I hope) and
to be able to stock materials instead of ordering per paid project.
Once this happens I plan on investing in another set of drawers that
I can label per each karat and color.

Christine
chrisitnebossler.com


#11
My solution to this problem is to stop working in 10Kand work only
in 14K, so that a mix up is not possible. What doothers do? Well,
MT. I'm not a snob - don't know if sometimes it may seem so, but
I'm definately not. ~Except~ that I consider 9 or 10 karat gold to
be the scourge of the Earth. Exceptions are things like Black
Hills Gold where the richer colored golds are desirable. That's
beside the point, really, because it's still going to blossom on
you the more you work. 

We have, in our shop: Sometimes a bit of 10k, but I looked yesterday
and I’m out. 24kt, 22kt, 14kt yellow, white and rose, 18kt yellow,
white and sometimes rose, iridium platinum, cobalt platinum, fine
silver, sterling silver. And a box of brass, copper, nickel silver
and bronze that’s for utility things. I have a certain amount of 14k
white and yellow mixed 50/50, which is a peachy color that can be
pleasing. And findings and misc. and that doesn’t incude stones. Then
there is solder. We don’t use medium solder at all, but we have two
solders for each metal, pretty much - 12 or 15 solders, maybe. First
off, we recycle everything that’s recyclable. I work over a newspaper
and save the filings - I just take the time to clean up before I
rubber wheel or change metals or whatever. Years ago I had a roommate
that was an amateur photographer. He gave me a stash of bulk 35mm
film cans. They’re seamless metal cans about 4" wide and 1 1/2" high
or so - perfect for holding bits of metal, and each metal has it’s
own can. Those are going to be impossible for others to find, but
there’s all sorts of candy containers and the like, out there. You’ll
find it useful to use the same containers for all of your metals,
just for stocking and stacking in the safe. If I turn mine upside
down, the filings will stay inside, that’s how tight they are. For
findings and solder we use those compartmentalized plastic boxes. My
findings are just stray parts, as I buy them as needed, for work. So
I just have a spot for settings, one for catches, one for earring
findings, just very general. Then we have a large drum for floor
sweeps, and a plastic refinery jar for bench sweeps, and I have a
small jar for “pure” metal that’s too mixed up to recycle, like if
you file white and yellow gold together on some two-tone job. And
another jar for “pure” metal that contains platinum, as the assay is
different for that. It might sound like a lot to do, but it’s just a
system. Once the system is in place it just happens naturally every
day, which is what systems are for.


#12

Hello,

In addition to labeling with an indelible marker, I stamp a corner
of the metal sheet and one end of the wire with the appropriate
karet. Findings SHOULD be stamped by the manufacturer. Scrap and
filings go into a labeled container at the time they are generated.

I don’t worry about sweeps - they are mixed metals anyway.

Judy in Kansas, where the fireflies are making the evening magical.


#13
My solution to this problem is to stop working in 10K and work only
in 14K, so that a mix up is not possible. What do others do? 

Well marked containers :slight_smile: CIA


#14

Suggest you keep a few large trays- stainless or enamel baking trays
are good and use a separate tray under your bench peg for each
different metal. As we often work on a few jobs simultaneously, just
slide the tray away as you move to a different job. Keep a brush
handy to brush your peg.

Cheers
Lee in Brizzy Australia


#15

Hello,

It is best to perform a quaity control check before disposing your
product. A simple touchstone assay will do.

Marvel


#16

We use baking pan liners when working in golds. Available from King
Arthur flour about 14.00 per hundred they are silicone coated so
the finest filings don’t stick. you can write on them noting colour
and karat and fold 'em up and re-use if you are done for a day and
have further operations to do the next day or so. They last a very
long time if you need to store something. Cross contamination is
avoided at all costs here. Nothing with ferrous metal is used in
fabrication in the main studio- if something has to be done in brass,
copper etc. there are sepearte polishing wheels, files and compounds
used only on those metals/pieces. Polishing motors are wiped down
with a damp paper towel and thrown in a seperate bin from refining
bound waste. We use only fine silver and alloy it only as needed for
repairs or fabricating mill products when there is a specific call
for sterling ( i. e. holloware, awards, incentives, etc. ). You need
to figure out what works best for you and the things you make- no
need in eliminating 10kt unless you are either trying to save your
clients some cash or you just don’t like it…It all refines the same!
Speaking of refining we reuse whatever we can of all gold,
polishings going to the refinery once a year or more depending on how
clogged a wheel is and the cost or discounts the refiner we use is
offering on metals requiring an assay charge to get a
return/settlement. Carpeting, flooring etc is sent in. only when
necessary or you can see the gold being tracked out of the studio

One of the best investments we ever made was a mat holding a giant
piece of masking tape like material - I think the refills cost about
25 bucks per pad of 30 sheets. It is the last thing to be stepped on
when leaving the studio area. Once the mat is covered with metal
particles it is torn away and goes into the refining bin. I’m
guessing we got about $1,000.00 back strictly from gold particles
over a 12 month period. I remember a teacher weighed a sheet when we
first installed the mat, and again after the first one was totally
used- it had about 1. 3 dwts of metal and other stuff on it - over a
12 month period that’s about a half ounce reclaimed once the
non-metal is burned off ( each sheet lasts about 4-6 weeks). We tried
making our own with repositionable spray adhesive on the baking pan
liners but they didn’t trap quite as much and then a second mat was
necessary to clean the stray adhesive off shoes…the vendor product
works best… though this is second best and can be sprayed directly
on a foam flooring section put under the bench. it prevents dusts (
gold bearing) from getting into floor cracks etc. and is annoying for
the first day until the adhesive stops gripping shoes, etc. the
overall benefits are better than vaccuming daily and the amount of
gold recovered is very worth the hassle & After using any adhesive
matting you tend not to even notice it at all after a few weeks…I
never realised how much metal was tracking out of the studio qnd for
many years just vaccumed weekly and wiped everything down daily (
gold was still around $248. 00 an ounce even in 2008 )… With
precious metals costs so high in a small shop ( under a million a
year) the extra time and effort it takes to reclaim all we can is
worth every minute. Keeping larger particles and sweeps seperate is
now essential with gold over $1600 per troy oz. but relatively simple
with containers labled and using the liners we use and re-use.
marking the liners with a karat and colour allows them too to be used
many times if desired. But we try to save money every way we can
around here. The exception being solder scrapings. if they got into
the pure scrap it would be a disaster when trying to reclaim precious
metals and remill the golds into useable materials. as such
scrapings, cut-off soldered areas all go into the larger refining
bin. It isn’t worth the time and nitric acid to dissolve out all but
the gold or silver since one already pays a charge to a refinery for
material that is not readily seperated.

10 kt stuff is rarely used around here exception being strength
needed pieces/repair parts like rivet pins, hinge springs etc where
the material has to be gold coloured. When working in 18, 22, 24kt we
use full sheet baking pans/ trays ( large enough to hold everything
and seamless stainless steel-just slide onto the benches for
production work ) and a bench skin that can be ( and is ) swept each
use into the appropriately marked film containers. film containers
are seamless and seal tightly - older metallic ones are best but
rarer. rer