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Raw Gold


#1

My cousin in Alaska has a sterling ring with raw chunks of
green gold soldered into it. Will this gold have mercury in
it? Is all gold mined with mercury? Do I need to ask the
miners. I don’t want to melt it down to use it, I want to use
the chunks pretty much as is. What do I need to know to
do this safely?

–kathi parker, MoonScape Designs


#2

Hi Kathi,

Sounds like you have some native gold nuggets, which is very common in
Alaska and California. I make a lot of nugget jewelry and there has never
been a problem with mercury. I think that the mercury is usually burned
off before you would ever get you hands on it. If it has a silvery tone
to it I might worry, but otherwise not.

Janine in Gold Country Northern
California


#3

My cousin in Alaska has a sterling ring with raw chunks of
green gold soldered into it. Will this gold have mercury in it?

  1. Chunks of raw gold were not mined with mercury. Mercury, when used, is
    used to extract very fine gold from crushed ore that can’t otherwise be
    separated.

  2. If you do suspect that gold has mercury in it ( like dental scraps ),
    do not melt it. Even if you have adequate ventilation, you are still
    releasing it into the atmosphere and it has to go somewhere.

Lee


#4

Kathi, I make nugget jewelry up here in Kodiak…have been for fourteen
years or so, but haven’t run into green gold nuggets yet. Wouldn’t be
caused by mercury or the color would be dark gray to black. Anyhow the
heat of soldering would have driven off the mercury. Acommon practice,
however is to buff up the nuggets during final finishing wit a brass brush
on a flex shaft. Just a little touch is enoug, but if you buff too much
brass is deposited on the nugget and it will eventually turn green.
Scrubbing with a toothbrush dipped in water and thenbaking soda should get
rid of it. I don’t think they use mercury any more, but small miners or
recreational miners will often work stream beds downstream from old placer
operations for gold that had previously gotten past the equipment.
Sometimes that gold has mercury on it. I bought some like that last year
that had been recovered from some of the creeks around Nome. Jerry from
cool and drizzly Kodiak


#5

The color green in gold is caused by silver. Cool Huh? :slight_smile:


#6

Just a little touch is enoug, but if you buff too much
brass is deposited on the nugget and it will eventually turn green.

Jerry, I sent your letter on to my cousin in Fairbanks. She works
at the University there as a botonist. I don’t know if she will try
to clean the gold and see if the green goes away. I don’t think
she has taken the ring off since college, some 30 years ago.

My fingers are itching to get to work. It would be great to have
"green" gold and I’m not up to mixing my own gold colors. I am
test driving a floor-model Ricoh DC-2 digital camera and if I still
have it when the gold comes I’ll let you all know that I can send
a picture.

All of a sudden in the last few weeks, I have more orders than I
know what to do with and more ideas than I can get to work on.
(Oops, ended that one a preposition with, didn’t I?) Life is grand.

–kathi parker
MoonScape Designs