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Recycling Metals


I have a question for the list. How do refiners make your scrap
metal leftover from sprues and buttons, etc., into casting grain?
I normally reuse my sprues as 50% of the mix with new casting
grain for my casting in sterling and in gold. I’ve always heard
that you can’t use the old stuff 100% by itself. But, if I were
in a pinch, is there a relatively simple way to recycle the
leftovers myself? Often I will take the leftover buttons and
remelt them, and pour the melt into a bucket of cold water to
make it into smaller bits easier to melt for the next cast. Is
there something I could add to the metal when doing this to make
it “new”? This question comes up because I was weighing some
waxes last night, and realized I might be a bit short of casting
grain. Turns out I have enough for this go-round, but who knows
when an emergency may arise? Plan ahead is better, I know, but
we all know sometimes we just plain forget!

Thanks in advance. Leaving Thursday for ArtiGras in West Palm
Beach. Hoping for blue skies all around!

Judith Marsh


Hi Judith,

Refiners do exactly that, they refine the metal back down to
fine gold. However, there is a way you can refine small amounts
of gold yourself. The only drawback is that you lose all the
alloy and end up with fine gold only. If you’d like to know how
to do this, send me an e-mail and I will send you full

See you later,

McLeod’s Jewellers-Goldsmith-Designer
Specialist in hand made jewellery & corporate gifts,
made to order in gold, silver and platinum.


Dear Judith, I was sure someone would respond to your question,
however seeing none, I will tell you how I go about using all
metal available.

You are correct, a 50/50 mix is the best as to results. If I
get into a jam, and want to use most or all button on a flask,
just add 5% by weight of a commercial alloy replenisher,
recalculate your karatage (purity), and add the appropriate
amount of pure gold. I use #99 Alloy Replenisher from United
Precious Metals, however there are others out there on the
market. Works very well, although I find that you need to take
the mixture up slightly hotter than normal. I only wish they
made a similar product for white gold. Mike


Just a comment on the reuse of metals. For years I have used
customers’ gold to make what they want. I use my old buttons,
occasionally adding small amounts of either fresh gold or a gold
"freshener". I have had no problems using either customers’ gold
or my buttons. Maybe adding customers’ gold is a “back door” way
of adding something a little fresh each time. Who knows - all I
know is it works and my customers seem real happy that some of
granny’s ring is in their new creation.

If you are concerned about reusing your metal, then you
shouldn’t be melting the buttons and pouring them into shot
simply for convenience of melting. That is another melt, and more
of the additives are lost to evaporation each time the gold is
melted. May look pretty, but still, another melt.