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Reuse Sterling Silver from flatware


#1

I have a friend who recently purchased about forty pieces of what he
believes to be sterling flatware (forks, spoons,serving pieces,no
knives) planning on reselling to someone who would use it to melt
down. I have never used sterling flat ware to melt down and reuse,
and wonder what I need to know before purchasing this to make sure
that it all is actually sterling and not silver plate. I was told
that they are of different named companies. I have used my own
unsoldered clean scrap before, adding some new casting grains to it,
but never these.

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

Best wishes,
John Barton


#2

Hi John,

Don’t melt down the silver until you check on its value. If it is
sterling, each piece will will be stamped “Sterling.” If it old
sterling, or if the pattern is no longer being made, it is probably
worth much more than its silver content. You can check this out on
the internet

There is a huge market for replacement pieces, or old, or
discontinuted patterns, and they are expensive. The sites I have seen
on the internet, have illustrations of the different patterns, and
give the prices. I had to replace a fork in a discontinued pattern,
and it was very expensive.

If it isn’t sterling but is plate, you will find that even it has a
value above what little silver is on it. So do check this out before
doing any melting.

Alma


#3

to my knowledge, (sometimes flawed :–) all flatware is stamped on
the back, i.e. sterling, .925, the British equivalent - or in the
case of silver plate, it should say so but I can’t remember the
wording used.

Jan
www.designjewel.com


#4

John,

if it sayes sterling , then it is very likely sterling silver, if it
sayes 925 it very likely is 925. if it does not say anything but the
maker, then it is not sterling silver. Note that english silver is
marked with a lion passant. check out this site

http://www.myantiquemall.com/AQstories/silver/Silver.html

life can be simple sometimes.

Robert


#5

Words of wisdom would be to just buy sterling silver…

you have wasted more time and money shopping for stuff to melt down
then it costs at 7$ an ounce PURE


#6

First, if it is really sterling (or if it is even “just” some nice
silverplate in a well-known pattern), your friend would/could get a
lot more money by selling it to one of the places that deals in
second hand silverware – one of the places where one can buy a spoon
or a fork to fill fill out one’s silverware – rather than just
selling it to melt down.

Second, have you considered using some of the pieces, such as forks
and spoons, to make bracelets? (Or even perhaps necklaces, or some
such.) Some of the people in our group have made quite a few “spoon
bracelets” in the past. One of them also made some lovely
old-fashioned candlesticks, and used spoons for the handles!

Margaret


#7
Words of wisdom would be to just buy sterling silver..     you
have wasted more time and money shopping for stuff to melt down
then it costs at 7$ an ounce PURE 

I have used sterling flatware, chopped it into pieces, and cast with
it , I buy it from a coin dealer, and I pay spot price. Cheapest way
to buy silver.

I also buy those wonderful stamped round “investment” metals from
Franklin Mint. I have melted thousands of those. Spot price. I have
bought pure silver rounds. Spot price.

I pay for the value of the fine silver content, and get the alloyed
metal. So I pay $1.50-$2.00 less per ounce than I would from any
metal supplier, and using 50-100 ounces a week, that savings goes in
my pocket.

I buy 24 kt grain from a coin dealer, .03%-.05% over spot, alloy
whatever quality of white, red, or yellow gold I need and if you
figure how much Stuller charges to alloy the metal for you, you
might be surprised at what you can save doing it yourself. I don
have different karat gold shot sitting around.Once you figure the
math part out, it is very easy.


#8
   I buy 24 kt grain from a coin dealer, .03%-.05% over spot,
alloy whatever quality of white, red, or yellow gold I need and if
you figure how much Stuller charges to alloy the metal for you, you
might be surprised at what you can save doing it yourself. 

I’m curious, because I’ve not tried to alloy for myself in casting
(only fabrication)…

Do you alloy the metal at the time it’s cast (i.e., put the gold
and alloy metals into the crucible separately, melt and stir, then
inject)? Or do you alloy in a separate step and pour up ingots or
grain that you then use in the casting? What’s the rationale for
doing this one way or the other?

Thanks!
Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


#9
 if you figure how much Stuller charges to alloy the metal for you,
you might be surprised at what you can save doing it yourself. I
don have different karat gold shot sitting around.Once you figure
the math part out, it is very easy. 

I am terribly lazy, so I created a spreadsheet that I call the
Kozmik Karat Konverter. It has built-in formulas which will do the
following math for me-

1). Convert grams to troy ounces

2). Convert troy ounces to grams

3). Given the gram weight and karat of an amount of gold, will tell
me how many grams of alloy are required to alloy it to a specified
lower karat (e.g, if I have 8.6 grams of 22K gold and want to reduce
it to 14K, how many grams of alloy must I add.)

4). Given the gram weight and karat of an amount of gold, will tell
me how many grams of 24K I must add to increase the amount to a
specified karat (e.g, if I have 7 grams of 14K, how much gold do I
need to add to increase the karat to 18K.)

This saves me the agony of applied mathematics and also prevents
potentially expensive mistakes due to math errors.

It is in Open Office format. If anybody wants it, I can e-mail it to
them.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#10
    I'm curious, because I've not tried to alloy for myself in
casting (only fabrication).... Do you alloy the metal at the time
it's cast (i.e., put the gold and alloy metals into the crucible
separately, melt and stir, then inject)?  Or do you alloy in a
separate step and pour up ingots or grain that you then use in the
casting?  What's the rationale for doing this one way or the other?

Karen,

Tried it both ways. This is best way I found for me,20 years
experience.

If I need 10 grams of gold to cast with, I take 5 grams old metal, 5
grams, subtract from 10 - 5, I multiply 5 X .585 to get the pure
gold, 2.93 grams and add alloy till I have 5 grams. I put old gold,
pure gold, and alloy in the crucible, heat till well melted, I take
the torch off the metal and flux, put the torch back on the metal. I
do not stir, I use the torch flame to roll the metal around, back the
flame off till the top is like a mirror, and let it go. I have
virtually no porosity.

I cast centrifically, I don’t know how it works for vacuum casting.
When I sprue for gold, I use a piece of round rod wax the thickness
of a pencil, about 3/4 inch long above the sprue base. Then put the
waxes on the top. I weigh 14 kt at 13.6 x the wax, and add 20%. When
I do it this way any impurities are in the end of the sprue, not
where the sprue meets the piece, and not in the piece.

I have heard quite a few times people state not to overheat the
metal.

In my experience it is hard to over heat metal, and you actually
need to really heat up the metal, and the front of the inside of the
crucible so the metal is very fluid

Richard Hart


#11
This saves me the agony of applied mathematics and also prevents
potentially expensive mistakes due to math errors. It is in Open
Office format. If anybody wants it, I can e-mail it to them. 

Lee, this is in Oppi Untract’s book, and you just have to “zerox” the
pages. It has several tables. Raising or lowering karats. One is for
what karat you have from .999 down to I think 10kt, and it has the
percentage of what the pure gold is for whatever karat you need.

Basically you start with dividing what ever karat you need by 24,
18 kt is 18 divided by 24, or .75. If you need 10 grams of 18kt to
cast with, 10 x .75=7.5 grams pure gold, 2.5 grams alloy.

Richard Hart


#12

I often alloy and cast, I just make sure it is well mixed. Most of
the time I am pouring ingots as I fabricate 99% of what I make.

Robert


#13

Thanks to all who replied to my request for words of wisom on melting
down pieces of old sterling flatware. Like Richard Hart mentioned,
there is considerable savings on sterling silver plus savings on
fabrication charges, insurance and shipping charges. There were forty
pieces of non-matching flatware, all marked sterling and were
purchased for Ten Dollars total. I thought it was a good buy.The
person selling thought it was a good sale (garage sale). :slight_smile:

Thanks again to all,
John Barton


#14

While it is very expensive to replace pieces with these services,
most of this ‘value’ comes from their need to stockpile vast
quantities of different flatware to provide the service. These
pieces are usually bought by them from coin or scrap dealers for
close to melt. Sterling flatware on eBay usually sells for little if
any over melt, unless it is truly ancient, or an extremely popular
pattern with a number of desparate buyers bidding.

Lee Cornelius
Vegas Jewelers