Recycling 18ct white gold rings

I have been asked to reuse the 18ct white gold from rings to make something new and more modern. I have searched around the topic and there appears to be some conflicting information. Can it be done easily or does it all depend on the alloy. How can tell what alloy it is? Would it just be better to send for refining. Of course that would mean I would not be using the metal that is sentimental.
Can someone please tell me what I am getting myself into.


Difficult to advise, without the following.

  1. weight of gold
  2. price you have quoted to do the work,
  3. Is the client near you
  4. Have you the kit hot enough to melt that quantity
  5. Do you plan to cast or just roll the ingot to rod or sheet
    6.can you roll this quantity of gold ie is your mill up to it
  6. do you normally work in white gold.
    Then get the customer to watch you melt it and say it has to be at their risk, if it fails it can only go for refining.
    If they agree, ok, if the dont agree turn the work down.
    how many other jewellers have they been to before you?
    They wont say.

Hi Mieke

Give me a call at work tomorrow son time after 11am

I’m sure i can help you out with a solution but need to know some key factors first


03 445 3094

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Don’t let anyone yell you can’t, just do. You can always send it in later if you have problems. Are you casting?SD

Good grief! Recycling gold of any karat is done all the time. At least you’re getting back either in pure gold grain, or either 18kt grain. I even recycled 450 grams of .925 silver & got back sterling granules for future casting. All of this is less the refining charges. They will & should give you a statement of the processes.
Gerry! On my Teaching iPhone!

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Thanks Ted. I’ll bear that sound advice in mind.

No I’m not casting but I am going to try melting to make an ingot - fingers crossed!

What do they want made? Look at the thread on “new ingot mold”. There’s a
super easy and cheap way tip make an ingot and you can control the size
done with charcoal blocks. I’m assuming you have a torch or you wouldn’t
ask. I use peoples metal all the time. SD

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I do it all the time. I re-use customers gold to make new items. I have cast and I have melted and rolled to make sheet and wire. Sometimes it works better than others. Lots of factors involved and If you are making sheet and wire 18k white can be a little tricky. if it starts cracking then you have to start over and go slower and aneal more often.

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Wouldn’t it be safer & cleaner but to refine the 18kt and remove the old clients white alloy? Then the next forming you won’t have any cracks while rolling the new metal? It is the nickel-alloy that giving you the stress…;( I’m not a bench-jeweller but I think this option sounds better, agree?

Gerry! On my Teaching iPhone!

It all depends on the alloy and whether or no the ring has any solder on
it. Especially if you are going to fabricate with it.
Personally I hate working with white gold. it’s not really white and can be
such a pain to work with if it’s alloyed with nickle.
Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Then it’s not their gold Gerry, that’s the sentimental part and thats what the point of melting their gold into something new is. If you send it in, its just gone. It’s selling sentiment. Sometimes I saw apart the old and use parts of it for the new. This cross is from 2 different rings put together

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It was mentioned that the customer
wanted to use the white gold for
sentimental reasons.
This can probably be done if the
customer is willing to pay for the refining if
a refiner would return the same gold after
Probably not.
The other option, use 50% new metal
and charge the customer for the excess not
I would consider lowering to 14kt, and
use David Fell refiners Winter White alloy,
which I have mentioned as I have used it for
casting and fabrication and found it to be
wonderful to work with.

can’t the metal-smith just keep the customers gold and get newer white
alloy. nothing lost here,agree?

*Gerry Lewy *

  • (905) 886-5961 *

I think the idea is to use their gold for the new piece. If you get new you’ve defeated the purpose. This isn’t a difficulty concept. You can cast their gold or do a melt and mill it, but it’s their grandma’s or mom’s or whatever’s. I love reusing whatever I can. Reduce reuse recycle. SD

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Not sure what all the fuss is about. With 18K white it should be easy–so long as there is NO SOLDER in the melt!!! If you are given cast pieces, you can just melt and proceed. If they are hand fabricated of one piece and just have one join, you can cut out the join (i.e., where the solder is).

  1. 18K palladium white is an absolute dream to work with! Very non-oxidizing. Very much like working with 960 silver (which stays white even after soldering!).

  2. If it is nickel white, I worked out a super easy way to work with soldering it which should be in the Orchid archives. Avoids all the usual nickel-white-gold problems.

  3. Follow my old post in the Archives on rolling ingots into sheet. It might have been specifically in regard to cracking in white golds. But maybe not.

  4. I assume they are giving you just maybe a couple of rings. Any system you have should be able to melt that amount and any rolling mill should be able to roll it into sheet. Use charcoal blocks as ingot molds (see my recent post on preparing them).

  5. The Archives have tons of info on all these subjects from the days when Orchid was largely populated by old-world goldsmiths who hand fabricated everything.

  6. If you are casting the new rings, forget all the above. I’m afraid I can’t offer any info in that department…:-)…

Janet in Jerusalem

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Thanks everyone for their expertise and guidance. I am going to give it a try and see how it goes. I have never had any problems melting down yellow gold jewellery.

We have an understanding with our refiner. If our customers insist that we
re use their gold our refiner will do a small batch for us but they do
charge extra and it takes a few weeks.
I still hate white gold though:-)