When you sell gold jewellery Brisbane you will hear a lot about the quality of the gold. When people talk of the quality of gold in jewellery they mean the amount of gold in the piece in relation to the amount of other metals used to give the precious metal special properties. Most people have no idea what happens to gold when it is mined out of the ground and how it is turned into pure gold. The process by which the impurities are removed from the ore that is mined is called refining. People who have been in the gold industry long enough will know what refining means but the process might sound obscure and too convoluted to ordinary folk.
The truth is, it’s not that complex and you don’t need to know the nitty-gritty of getting fine gold, high-quality gold. When you buy gold, you should be sure to buy from a reputable supplier – whether you are buying gold coins or gold jeweler.
So how is gold refined?
Gold that is mined from the earth will have other minerals attached to it. Most gold appears in low-purity ore as fine grains. To get these tiny flecks, the ore has to go through a process that separates the gold from the other minerals. In the olden days, people did this by panning however, these days there are more technically advanced methods of doing what old-world gold prospectors did. Fossickers who look for nuggets with their metal detectors probably still pan for gold. Large mining companies have to speed up processes to separate gold particles from other metals in the earth.
To get a higher level of purity the sifted gold is either heated up or chemicals are used to reduce the gold into liquid form. The molten gold will settle to the bottom and the other alloys will remain at the top. The impurities are removed from the top. This method results in gold that is 99.5%.pure.
For a higher purity gold, refineries use advanced methods like chemical extractions. The two common chemical refining methods used are the Miller Process and the Wohlwill process.
In the Miller process, gaseous chlorine is used when the gold reaches its melting point. What happens then is that impurities rise to the top of the molten gold. The Miller process is simple and produces gold with a purity level of 99.5%.
The Wohlwill process is mainly an electrolytic process. The gold is put into a solution of hydrochloric acid and gold chloride and an electrical current is passed through electrodes in the solution. Gold will be attracted to the negative charge electrode leaving the impurities.
These days, the heat and chemical refining methods are used together. The heat extraction is primarily used to purify scrap gold. So when you sell gold jewellery Brisbane as scrap, chances are it will end up being melted and further refined to create the purest form of gold. Low purity gold like 14 K gold might work for jewelry but high-grade quality gold is required to produce investment-grade gold.
Not all bullion gold is made from 99.995 pure gold. Some coins were intentionally alloyed with silver or copper to improve their durability. Some vintage coins like the South African Krugerrand contain copper by design. This is because gold at 99.99% finesses is very soft and easy to damage.
This does not mean gold coins that are 95% or 91.7% pure gold are inferior. Take the American Gold Eagle coin, for instance, it is made with 91.7% gold but remains the world’s best-selling gold coin. Sometimes with coins, the design, the manufacturer, the mint and some quirky manufacturing features could have a positive impact on the price.
There are a lot of gold refineries in the world. The London Bullion Market Association (LBNA) maintains a list of Good delivery gold of refineries that meet the association’s stringent standards of refining and assaying. Within the ranks of the world’s gold refining companies, there are a couple of refineries that stand out and are considered to be the best. The names PAMP, Valcambi, Heraeus, Metalor and Rand refineries, Argor-Heraeus, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo are amongst the high pedigreed refiners in the world. They provide high-quality gold bullion bars and coins and they supply high-end jewellery manufacturers with high-grade gold.
Together these seven refineries refine a total of 5000 tonnes of gold a year. They also refine other precious metals like silver and platinum. Four of these refineries are located in Switzerland, three of them are located a few kilometers from each other in an area known as the Golden Triangle except Metalor Technologies which is located in the town of Neuchatel just North-west of Switzerland. Heraeus is located in Germany, Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo is located in Japan whilst Rand Refinery is located in South Africa. These refineries have been around for years and have built solid reputations over the years. For example, Rand Refinery has refined over 50,000 tonnes of gold since it opened in 1921. This is almost a third of the amount of gold mined to date. It should also be noted that the refinery has produced over 60 million Krugerrands since 1967. These refineries might be located in Switzerland but they operate globally. These refineries don’t only refine gold dore but some of the old jewelry that gets sold to gold buyers across the globe may end up in one of these refineries.
Australia has its own LBMA Good Delivery listed refinery, the Perth Mint which also happens to be a sovereign national mint. The Mint refines and recycles gold scrap, produces high-grade jewelry for wholesale jewelry market and the mint produces bullion bars and coins. The Perth Mint can refine gold in excess of 300 tonnes. If your gold jewelry ends up at a refinery, why not just skip the gold buyer or pawn shop? Refineries deal with gold in large quantities, it won’t make much sense for you to go all the way to a refinery with you one gold chain or ring. Gold buyers provide convenience.