Finally I would ask myself if it is worth the effort. How many
milligrams of silver are in solution? Let's imagine that is 1000mg,
and let's say for the sake of argument that silver is costing
around $7.00 for 31 grams. All your effort would yield about $0.23.
I suspect that you will spend more than that to neutralize the
In the old days, in the eighties in South Africa, one of the main
occupations of a self-employed goldsmith was to stay one jump ahead
of the gold cops. I don’t know what the current situation is now, but
then they used to harass you endlessly. Filling in a stupid register
EVERYTIME one melted, weighing all your different golds at the end of
each day. Three warnings if your register was not up to date and then
a fine and possible jail.—because of your own gold. Having to get a
bank guaranteed cheque before you could buy gold, (no cash allowed)
and then being escorted into the Mint by an armed guard, to buy your
measly 30grams of fine. I always laughed at the irony-- the Mint
makes the money, but you got to bring a bank guaranteed cheque to buy
there. Made life a real hassle and that wasn’t the endless surprise
inspections of your records, safe or invoice books. I won’t even talk
about the 35% customs and excise duty that was enforced by the demons
of hell in another one of Satan’s departments. There were many times
when Sgt. De Beer (his real name) insolently flicked his fat ugly
thumb through my register, his red alcohol flushed face becoming
redder and redder because of some small mistake. At those times my
thoughts were anything but Christian.
Anyway, I am coming to the point.
I used to put all my yellow gold scrap, which consisted of 9ct and
18ct " old gold" and melt 5 times the weight of copper with it. So
100grams gold became 500grams gold/copper. Then I used to roll it out
into strips (which would supply me with my monthly gym work-out)
After that, I would dump the strips into concentrated Nitric acid.
This was done at home and at night, because of Satan’s sidekick, Sgt.
de Beer. After the reaction was finished I would be left with what
looks exactly likes coffee grounds. Dark brown and powdery. I used to
store small amounts in a Nescafe coffee jar, for workshop use. The
balance would be stored openly in the copper/gold form in my
workshop. They cops never did figure it out. It looks just like
copper. Or coffee-- and yes, before you ask, one of my workshop girls
did use it to make coffee once, but after she was told that that’s
the boss’ ‘private’ bottle of coffee, it was left alone. All I would
do is take a small amount of “coffee” and mix it with boric acid,
some saltpetre, and methylated spirits, to stop it flying around in
the crucible. When it was melted it would be regarded as 23c.t gold
and I would alloy it down to the proper caratage I needed. I would
also make my own solders from that fine gold, because the cops had
figured if you buy a lot of solder under permit and not much fine
gold, something did not balance. And 'knock knock", they would be on
your doorstep. I once tried to remove the silver out of the expended
nitric by adding table salt and the drying the white gunk that forms.
And them melting it down. Don’t bother. Was a nightmare, thick clouds
of awful white smoke and a tiny silver ball left. I used more oxygen
and gas and time than the silver was worth. If memory serves me
correctly, the white gunk also went grey where light fell on it and
stayed white in darkness. Like photo stuff.