Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Removing mercury stains


#1

Hi all, anyone able to tell me how to get liquid mercury of 18ct
yellow gold rings, one is diamond set. Polishing won’t do it. also
need to know safety measures to take. Mask and gloves etc Thx


#2
anyone able to tell me how to get liquid mercury of 18ct yellow
gold rings, one is diamond set. Polishing won't do it. also need to
know safety measures to take. Mask and gloves etc Thx 

Ive not done it but know that mercury can be removed from gold by
heating. IE you volatalise it off.

Its the principle of fire gilding.

Mercury vapours are highly toxic so youd need to do it outside with
you being UPWind of the process.

If your in an urban area its not something I do. out in the sticks
yes.

you need to do your research on temps and time first.

tho the amounts on rings will be small.

French ormulu was always fire gilt and gilders died young! ! There
may be other ways, but im not familiar with them.


#3

I have an old formulas book that says to remove mercury stains, heat
the piece over an alcohol lamp and the mercury will work toward the
surface, then can be polished off. It says that if it’s deep seated
mercury that you should set is aside a few hours and repeat the
heating and cleaning. You know you’ve got it all when the gold is no
longer stained. It says nothing about safety measures, I guess the
books author was not concerned about his readers life expectancy.
Once you’ve bought his book I suppose he has no further use for the
reader.

I’d guess that the safest thing to do is to scrap it and make new.
Although when I was a kid we would roll mercury around in our hands
for fun, these days when they drop an old thermometer in a classroom
they call in the hazmat team with space suits to clean it up and
send all the kids home for the day. So you might think about
scrapping it.

Stay safe,
Mark


#4

First of all- I WON"T tell you. Sorry but you shouldn’t be handling
the stuff particularly if you don’t know how, have experience with
mercury and then there’s sourcing it. It’s no longer simple to buy!
This may be the first time I would urge other Orchid members that do
"know how to" to refuse to informally pass on the to an
individual you don’t know, and cannot be held responsible for that
person’s accidents. but the language isn’t even clear nor the
question. Leave this one alone-One simple trick you may perform
safely is to take a bit of cigarette ashes on a slightly dampened
piece of cotton wool or a cotton swab and rub the stain with i until
the stain is gone entirely. t…it may do the trick. BUT Simone,
sorry - truly- but I think this is one for your own research And as
for precautions- there are so many- it would take me more time to
list than I have time for at the moment- from before gilding with it,
proper handling and up to reclaiming and eventual disposal, In some
places you must be licensed to posses the stuff…

I will say this: if while wearing protective eye-wear respirator
with cartridges for micron graded particulates, and a very good dust
collection hood working and in place, or better yet, outdoors, with
the wind away from you. and. you can’t just use a pumice wheel or
radial bristle disc and liquid lubrication to get the stain out, once
you have depletion gilded it to raise the element on the fine gold
that will rise to the surface in the repetitive heating then
pickling, of an 18 Karat gold anything, then sending it out to an
electro-stripping and plating service may be the safest way to go.
avoid using mercury if you don’t know what you are doing. PLEASE.
RER


#5

We will see what others here on Orchid have to say, but mercury will
evaporate, (sublime) on its own. Back in the “old days” of 50’s to
early 60’s, during the time of silver coins, you could always tell
when the Physics class was teaching barometric pressure, and had the
petri dish of mercury set up with a meter tube to show barometric
pressure, as all the students would place their coins in the coat
them with mercury. The cafeteria was always loaded with shiny and
slippery silver coins, but they didn’t last long. Ofcourse, we all
were exposed to the vapor of mercury, how did we every liveee Maybe
that explains a lot about me! “mad as a hatter” and all that.

Tom Parish
Heavy lifter for Designs by Suz. (and retired pharmaceutical chemist.)


#6

I have removed mercury form many rings over the years. I simply burn
it off. I hesitate to recommend this because of the fume danger. I
have always done this under a very good vent hood.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#7

It used to be a regular occurrence for a nurse to come in with a
ring that mercury had damaged, from a broken thermometer. Doesn’t
happen much these days as mercury thermometers in hospitals is
pretty much a thing of the past.

We would never heat the ring. We would quickly buff away as much
mercury aswe could with tripoli, and then treat the surface with
nitric acid, letting it soak for a bit in the nitric acid, and then
rinse, and refinish the piece of jewelry. The nitric acid removes
the mercury without damaging the gold.

In the old days we never thought to wear a mask, (but we also
handled powdered asbestos back then with very little thought of
safety). Wear a mask for the above operation, and work in a well
ventilated workspace.


#8

Hi Simone

I think the same process as fire gilding would suffice.

The piece is heated till the mercury burns off.

This is extremely poisonous and needs industrial chemical
protection.

Best advice give it to an expert.

Richard
Xtines Jewels


#9

I’ve been wondering all my adult life (now late 60’s) when and how
the mercury poisoning thing would hit me and my siblings. My 2 older
brothers had a chem. Lab in the basement of our family home. My one
brother regularly generated mercury vapors as he studied at that lab
desk. He would heat Cinnabar, a red powder in a beaker under an
inverted funnel. Some, not all, of the free mercury vapors driven
off in this heating process would condense on the inside of the
inverted funnel and he would periodically, with the funnel upright
over a jar, push the condensed mercury down into the jar. He must
have collected at least 10 pounds of mercury. I went down into that
space regularly, and surely the vapors went elsewhere in the house.

Worse yet, during one semester of college my 2 brothers shared a room
in which my one brother continued his mercury generating. One day my
other brother went to use the wall phone and he noticed the plastic
phone looked frosty. Touching it with the tip of his finger he saw a
drip of mercury run down the phone. The mercury vapors had been
condensing on the surfaces of the room all semester. That brother,
still alive in his mid-seventies has Parkinson’s, but otherwise is
still a healthy athlete. The other died in his mid-sixties from
metastasized lung cancer. He was a heavy smoker all his life, the
same with our father and his parents, who also died of lung cancer. I
seem to be healthy for my age, with the same aches and pains as my
contempories. I don’t know what to think about mercury poisoning.

Dennis Fisher


#10

Heat is the trick. It dose not take much. It has been done since the
miners used mercury to clean gold when prospecting.

Do not breath the vapors work in well ventilated space. “Mad as a
hatter” refers to the mercury used in making hats.

I have cleaned mercury off ring from nurses rings in the late 80’s
when working in a trade shop doing repairs.

Lauren


#11

Thanks Mark and Ted,

Yes Mark once you’ve bought the book ones health becomes
insignificant (made me laugh). I believe breathing in the mercury is
quite dangerous, and because we are in a built up area I don’t think
it would be safe to heat it outside. One thing I’ve noticed is the
longer the mercury is on the rings the more entrenched it seems to
be. Scrapping them is not an option this woman wants them fixed, AND
NOW! My health seems insignificant to her as well- she should get
together with the author of that book :slight_smile:


#12

Hi Simone

I had a jeweller clean a ring of mine that had mercury on it 30
years ago.

It cost me $35. So madam bitch AKA pushy customer should be WELL
charged for

the cleaning. And a fee for the hurry up.

My teacher taught me that “The customer is NOT always right, but
they are the customer!”

Meaning get their cash. Dealing with pushy customers becomes a lot
easier after

having 2 teenage kids, LOL.

Richard
Xtines Jewels