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Melting scrap silver

I have quite a bit of scrap, which I stored in cups in my workroom. My grandchildren were playing in there last weekend, and mixed the container with sterling along with the fine silver scrap…how big a problem is this? Is there a way to test? I have a crucible and ingot mold on order, and planned to make my first attempt after the holidays. I just bought a rolling mill, so now I can actually DO something with the scrap!
Also, the scrap has really oxidized and has lots of tarnish - does it need to be cleaned before I melt it down? If so, is there an easy way to accomplish this?
Thanks,
Deb in N TX

Deborah

If you take your metal to a refiner, they will melt everything down and give it a full metal test. Their computer will assay by way of electronic testing. It will give you a 100% answer up to the 3rd decimal point of what you have.

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It’s much more fun to melt and reuse your scrap than to send it to a refiner, especially with your new rolling mill. If you have large pieces of scrap silver, a simple test to tell the difference between sterling and fine silver is to heat it with your torch up to about annealing temp, and watch to see what color it becomes. Fine silver has no visible oxides when heated to a fairly high temperature in air, and sterling silver will oxidize brown/black when heated in air. Very small pieces and filings will be too tedious to test in this fashion, those are saved to send to your refiner.

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I knew that! Just forgot I guess. I know I have a large wire wrapped bangle bracelet that weighs 1.5 oz and is entirely sterling, so I can start with that, and it only has 1 tiny place with solder, so I can cut that out. thanks for the reminder!

Deb in N TX