There is a place in Michigan that refines and has no minimum amount.
I usually use them once every couple of years, as I only have my own
small home studio. They are called “G & S Metals”.
Here is a link to their web site: http://www.gsgold.com/
They do everything! And YES, it is worth the trouble! I collected
all my sweeps from the small space of my floor: under, in front of,
and around my bench and solder area (and I DO always have a catch
tray for filings, but often some shavings get away from you anyway)
and I was VERY surprised that there was $87 worth of silver shavings
and about $22 in gold that had landed on the floor! It just looked
like nasty dirt to me, but I sent it along anyway. They also take old
buffs, old sand papers, everything you can think of. They do what is
called “Fire Assay”, so your readings of precious metal content are
All in all, with my small scraps (and I mean the stuff too small for
me to bother with or mixed up metals I cannot separate), I usually
melt all my small cuttings and mix it with fresh sterling grain when
I am casting. I am VERY careful with my gold shavings and scrap, but
there are losses to the Floor Gods no matter how careful you are. I
ended up with over $700 credit I used to buy the metal supplies I
needed to stock up on, and the rest they cut me a check for. They are
a real nice group of people, and will do refining by mail, and their
security is high.
If you have shop I would recommend even sending the floor rugs, etc.
They give full recommendations to shop owners on how to cut down
losses from scrap, too. I don’t use them real often, but they always
remember me. I would say it IS worth refining and saving what you
can, especially in today’s economic climate.
Just my two cents on the subject!