When you’re sorting out your old unwanted or broken gold pieces to cash in, remember not all gold jewellery is created equally, and the higher the gold content, the higher the price you’ll receive.
The most common carats (ct) of gold used in jewellery in the UK are 9ct, 18ct and 24ct . In its purest form, gold is a very soft metal and in order to make it tough enough to withstand the rigours of life as a piece of jewellery, other metals are added to it.
Nine carat gold is 37.5 per cent pure gold, 18ct is 75 per cent pure and 24ct is pure gold. Typically, other metals such as silver and copper are added to make the gold stronger. White gold obtains its colour thanks to the addition of silver and the currently very fashionable rose gold – which was also a favourite of the Victorians – receives its pinkish hue because copper has been added.
Experts can often tell the carat of a piece simply by its feel and colour. The richer the gold colour, generally the higher the carat. They will also look at the hallmark, which is made up of different symbols showing where the gold was ‘assayed’ or tested for purity and will often show the date the piece was manufactured.
Gold hallmarks are often so small that a magnifying glass is needed to identify them properly and in many cases, if a piece is old or has been worn frequently, they may have blurred or disappeared all together.
Scrap gold is also tested for purity with an assay test, which uses acid solutions on a minute scraping of gold from the item. The more gold that is left after the solution is applied, the purer the metal.
If you want to try to identify the purity of your jewellery, there are numerous online guides to hallmarks you can find through Google. You can also buy home assaying kits but this is usually best left to the experts.
The growing importance of recycled gold was one of the big themes at a major international gathering of jewellers in the US.
The Portland Jewellery Symposium, held every year in Portland, Oregon, in the US, puts the spotlight on new techniques and developments in the industry worldwide. The issues discussed at the event inform the new approaches that jewellers large and small take when they are creating new designs and exploring new ways of working, Forbes reported.
This year, one of the areas under the spotlight was how the industry can responsibly source gold. And in addition to the growing pressure for more socially and environmentally-friendly ways of mining the precious metal, the use of recycled gold – the precious metal that’s obtained from your old and unwanted pieces – was a big focus.
Responsible sourcing expert, Bennett Freeman, gave one of the keynote speeches, in which he pointed out that demand from the public for sustainable gold is growing.
He said: “These pressures, this kind of scrutiny is not going to go away. The 21st Century is the century of sustainability, the century of accountability, the century of transparency.
“Every company, every industry is going to face ever rising pressures and expectations to be straightforward about how it does its business, about the character and quality of its content, of its products throughout the entire supply chain.”
One of the jewellers at the event, Toby Pomeroy is leading the pack when it comes to using recycled precious metals in his designs. He brands pieces made this way as EcoGold and EcoSilver and it’s won him a major following.
His business has received such demand for its Eclipse hoop earrings that are made completely from recycled precious metals, that he had to find a way of making them by machine inside of by hand.
“We’re really causing a revolution in the jewellery and mining industries. Anything is possible,” he said.
Mobile phone giant Samsung has been in the headlines after the worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 after a number of incidents of overheating.
The company is desperate for customers who bought the ill-fated phone to return it and one reason has to be that the device contains valuable electronics including recycled gold that can be used again.
It’s estimated that for every million smartphones that are recycled, 75lbs of gold, 772lb of silver and 35,000-plus lbs of copper can be recovered. In the US alone, Samsung is trying to recover around two million of the models, although some customers are keeping a tight grip on their Galaxy Note 7s despite the risks, Fortune reported.
Samsung is offering customers who return their Galaxy Note 7s a refund plus cash off another model from its range. Once the phones are returned, they are passed on to specialist electronics recyclers, who ‘mine’ the devices for their precious metals to use again.
However, there are concerns that recovering the gold and silver in the Galaxy Note 7s will be more difficult than usual. Samsung has glued down the batteries in the phones, and it’s these batteries that are causing the overheating issue, making recovering the precious metals a potentially dangerous task.
According to Wired, an engineer from iFixit who tried to dismantle the model said the process was like carrying out brain surgery on a patient who might catch fire.
The electronics industry is keen to recover the recycled gold used in mobile phone electronics because of demand from manufacturers for the recycled metal for other products.
There is of course a much easier way of obtaining recycled gold, which doesn’t put you at any risk of catching fire. The old, broken and unwanted gold jewellery and items we buy for cash are all melted down and returned to the system, where they could be turned into anything from a wedding ring to a bullion bar – or even find their way into your next smartphone, laptop or tablet.
A former London-based jewellery designer, who moved to Los Angeles is making a name for herself by using recycled gold.
Durrah Khalil was never one for recycling until she started working with the LA-based brand Love Goodly.
She had previously relied on virgin gold, which was manufactured to her designs by a team in Italy.
Now she is using gold made from recycled items, such as the broken and unwanted gold pieces that we buy from our customers, and gold salvaged from other sources.
Durrah told the New Straits Times: “Recycled metal costs more but you can’t tell the difference just by looking at it. “We’re working with the same people in Italy that we’ve been with since the beginning, so I’m OK. I trust then and they trust that I’m doing this for the right reasons.”
The designer is now aiming to make her whole jewellery line between 80 and 100 per cent sustainable within the next 12 months. Recycled gold jewellery is becoming popular among buyers who support sustainability and prefer to live a greener lifestyle. They like reused gold because of their wish to avoid contributing to the harm gold mining does to the environment and many people are event prepared to pay more for it as a result. Using gold again may be fashionable now, but it’s not a new trend.
Jewellers in the UK have been using recycled gold to make their products alongside ‘new’ gold for many years. It’s impossible to tell whether the gold ring on your finger, or the broken gold earrings lying forgotten in your jewellery box, are made from newly-mined gold or whether they was created from melted down items that have been around for decades. That’s because the precious metal doesn’t lose any of its qualities and can be used time and time again. With demand from the industry high for more recycled gold, now is a great time to sell the old gold pieces you no longer want and earn some extra cash.
Recycled and Fairtrade gold are the most environmentally – and people – friendly types of the precious metal you can buy.
If you’re buying gold jewellery for yourself or as a gift, it’s likely that a fair proportion of it has been recycled from other items. The beauty of gold is that it can be melted down and turned into something new repeatedly, without losing any of its value or lustre.
The other way of wearing ethically sound gold jewellery is if you buy Fairtrade gold. Just like the better-known Fairtrade coffee or chocolate, in order to be labelled as Fairtrade, the metal has to be sourced responsibly and the miners have to receive a fair wage for their work.
During the first week of October, a delegation of Peruvian miners are in Britain to promote awareness of Fairtrade gold. They’ll be speaking at events in Leicester, Bangor in Wales and Chippenham.
The visitors will also be visiting a traditional Welsh gold mine and speaking at the 2016 UK Jewellery Conference.
Kevin McCullough, head of campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Gold: a symbol of love, power and wealth. Look behind the glitz, and the reality is not so glamorous. Gold mining is one of the most dangerous, precarious, and unfairly treated jobs in the world.
“Fairtrade gold stops exploitation. It can be traced from the mine through the refining process. This is backed up by documentation of all the transactions between miner and licensed jewellers. It means consumers and jewellers know that fairtrade gold comes from a socially and environmentally responsible, source which has economic benefits for miners.”
Recycled gold also helps to protect the environment. Each time you sell your broken or unwanted gold jewellery, as well as receiving cash, you’re helping lessen the impact of the harmful chemicals involved in gold mining by supplying gold to meet the global demand for the precious metal.
It doesn’t seem two minutes since the August Bank Holiday but already we’re almost in October and the shops are filling up with Christmas stock.
If you’ve started to think about your Christmas shopping, you’re probably also thinking about how you’re going to fund it. This is popular time of year for selling your old, broken and unwanted pieces of gold jewellery because it gives you a bit of extra cash to spend on the festive period.
It’s worth checking your jewellery box for pieces you no long wear, whether that’s because they’re too old fashion or because they’re broken and you never will get around to having them repaired. As long as the item is solid gold – not gold plated – you’ll be able to trade it in for cash.
We also recycle old gold and silver coins and household items, but again only solid silver makes the cut. We don’t take silver plated pieces.
People choosing to recycle their unwanted gold in 2016 have been able to earn some top prices. The gold price has soared this year and that means better returns when you send in your scrap gold – but remember, the scrap gold price will always be lower than the general gold price. That reflects the fact that once an item has been accepted, it has to be weighed, processed and melted down before it can be reused.
Because we’re based in Birmingham’s world famous jewellery quarter, we can get the recycled gold out quickly to jewellers to create something new from it. One of the many benefits of gold is that it can be melted down over and over again without losing any of its value or beauty.
So if you’re looking to earn some extra cash for Christmas, have a look in your jewellery box and get recycling.
The high value of gold this year has seen a flood of old, broken and stored pieces made from the precious metal coming back on to the market.
India, where the government has been pushing people to recycle their old gold to cut down on the need for expensive imports, has really seen recycling rocket in 2016.
The country, the second biggest gold importer in the world after China, has experienced such a surge in gold recycling over the summer that it has met 45-60 per cent of demand for the precious metal through recycling, according to the All India Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation.
Figures from Commerzbank show that India’s August gold imports stood at 26 tonnes, a fall of 81 per cent compared to the same month last year. Over the first half of 2016, the country imported around half the amount of gold it did in the same period last year.
Bachhraj Bamawla, director of the Gems and Jewellery Trade Federation, told the Wall Street Journal: "At this price, the recycled market will continue. Wedding and festival season is approaching, but the price of gold is a deterrent to demand. Rather, people will sell at these prices. If there is no Indian demand, prices may fall."
It’s estimated that Indian homes and temples have a phenomenal 22,000 tonnes of gold stored in them, and it’s this unwanted gold that the Indian government wants people to part with.
The demand for gold is so high in India because people tend to buy it during festivals from September to November, and again during the wedding season that follows.
Shalini Goel was able to exchange a necklace and bracelets for almost 15 times as much as she paid for them, thanks to the good gold price.
We can’t promise you’ll get such a high return for your old broken and unwanted gold jewellery when you send it in for recycling, but it’s likely you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its value in the current market.
A team of Scottish scientists have come up with an effective way of stripping gold out of old computer and smartphone circuit boards.
The University of Edinburgh scientists are aiming to stop gold being sent to landfill by developing a more effective method of recovering it from old electronic circuits. They’ve come up with a mild acid that dissolves all metal parts in the circuit boards and when their specially developed chemical compound is added, they can isolate and recover the gold content.
It’s believed up to seven per cent of the world’s gold stores is inside e-waste such as old phones, PCs and laptops that have been thrown away. The demand for gold for this market is only set to increase as the popularity of smartphones, tablets and laptops shows no sign of diminishing and companies are continually developing newer and better versions of their products.
Around 12 per cent of the world’s gold was being used in electronic gadgets back in 2013, the most recent year there are figures available for. It’s likely the percentage has increased in the three years since.
The team from Edinburgh University’s new extraction method is non-toxic so it ticks the environmentally-friendly boxes too. One of the big issues about gold mining is the cost to the environment, due to the chemicals that are used in getting the precious metals out.
Prof Jason Love from Edinburgh University said: “We are very excited about this discovery, especially as we have shown that our fundamental chemical studies on the recovery of valuable metals from electronic waste could have potential economic and societal benefits.”
Every time you recycle a piece of old, broken or unwanted gold jewellery, you are playing a part in helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the gold industry by making more of the precious metal available to use again. It’s a win-win situation for you …. and the environment.
The Rio Olympics may only just be over but medal-makers’ thoughts are already turning to where they will source the gold for the next Games in 2020.
The organisers of the Tokyo Games in four years’ time are looking to use recycled gold to make the medals for the Olympics and Paralympics and have already started to talk about sourcing the precious metal.
They’re aiming to use gold, silver and copper recovered from old mobile phones and computers to make the medals, rather than asking mining companies – which is the usual practice – to donate towards them.
Although gold and silver Olympic medals only contain a small proportion of the precious metals and are not solid gold or silver, this will be the first time that an Olympic Games has gone all out to make ‘sustainable’ medals.
Japan has a great international reputation for recycling and it’s reported that around 16 per cent of the world’s recycled gold come from precious metal recovered from electronic appliances in the country, while the same practice accounts for approximately 22 per cent of global recycled silver reserves.
In 2014, 315lbs of gold and 3,452lbs of silver was collected from electronic appliances in Japan. That would be ample to create the medals for the Tokyo Games – in the London 2012 Olympics, 21lbs of gold and 2,667lbs of silver were used to create the medals, according to Fox News.
Although much of the unwanted, broken or scrap gold and silver that we recycle goes back into making jewellery, the electronics business is also a large user of the precious metals in its circuitry.
So when you convert your old gold and silver jewellery into cash, some of it may actually end up hanging around the neck of proud Olympic medal winners in Tokyo in four years’ time.
When you convert your old, broken and unwanted gold jewellery into cash, you’re also going a long way to helping other people reach their dreams.
Dozens of British jewellers now have ethical gold policies and they are becoming increasingly important to brides and grooms. There is a growth in demand for wedding bands that have been made with gold that hasn’t harmed the environment during the mining process or hasn’t come from conflict zones.
In many cases, when people are buying new jewellery, they don’t know where the precious metal it contains came from. It could be a mixture of newly mined gold, off-cuts from other items made in the workshop or recycled gold made from old jewellery.
However, you can check with jewellers whether they have a policy to use recycled gold and indeed, many promote the fact they do to attract eco-conscious shoppers. In addition to recycled gold, some now offer Fairtrade gold, a certification which was introduced in 2011, which guarantees that the metal has been mined responsibly by artisan workers. This is generally a more expensive option, though, and you are likely to pay a premium on top of the price of your jewellery.
One of gold’s many benefits is that it can be repeatedly recycled without ever losing any of its quality and value. The old chains, rings and earrings that you send in to be recycled may themselves have been made from gold that was something else in a previous life. There is no telling how many times a piece has been melted down and turned into something new.
It’s fascinating to think that the old gold jewellery you’re planning to recycle may have been through so many incarnations before it was crafted into the piece you’re now selling. And it’s just as interesting to wonder where it may now end up as its continues its story.
Selling your broken, old or unwanted gold jewellery to convert to cash is actually pretty straightforward. We’re based in Birmingham’s famous jewellery quarter, but you don’t need to travel to the shop to complete the transaction: it can all be done by post.
When you’re selling gold items, remember to make sure you deal with a reputable company with a solid track record. There is always an element of trust when you are sending precious items by post but with Scrap Gold, you can be assured on a number of levels.
We are a long-established family-run business that is a member of the British Jewellery Association and the Gold Standard Scheme. What’s more, because we are a bricks and mortar business as well as having an online presence, you have an additional level of security.
Selling your unwanted gold pieces is an easy process. We have an online guide and form http://www.scrapgolduk.co.uk/form to fill out with information about the pieces you are sending, their estimated weight and value.
You can check the current scrap gold price live on our website. This is the value of gold per troy ounce – the unit of measurement used when dealing with gold.
The price of gold has been soaring this year because of its value as an investment product. However, remember to check the scrap gold rather than the gold price to find out how much you’re likely to receive. This is always lower than the main gold price because it takes into account the smelting processing that is necessary to turn scrap gold into a recycled product that can be used again.
The scrap gold price rises when the main index does and is divided into 9ct, 14ct, 18ct, 22ct and 24ct with the higher carats obviously attracting the higher prices. If you don’t know what carat your gold is or don’t want to do the calculations, don’t worry – we can do all of that for you.
The world may not have enough gold available for purchase to meet immediate demand from investors for the precious metal, making the need even greater for old and unwanted gold jewellery to be recycled.
Indeed, there is a growing demand for recycled gold because there is not enough new gold mining going on. It’s an expensive practice to fund but the current state of the world economy means there is less investment around but a greater need for gold from investors who want somewhere safe to put their money.
The issue is that not all investors buy physical pieces of gold, but instead put their cash into pledges and undertaking – ‘paper gold’.
Niel [correct] Pretorius, the chief executive of South African gold mining company DRD Gold told Mining Weekly: “I think there’s going to be a fairly significant shortfall.
“There’s a shortage of real gold cover [for] the paper gold position that’s out there. Definitely, no doubt in my mind about that… and I think we’re going to run out of new gold.”
A high proportion of the gold that is circulating in the world is ‘old’ gold. The beauty of the precious metal is that it does not rust or corrode, and can be melted down again and again without losing any of its quality.
That is why scrap gold – old, broken or unwanted jewellery or pure gold items – is so important when it comes to meeting demand for the precious metal. A large proportion of recycled gold goes into producing new jewellery but some will also be used to make gold bullion bars and coins bought by investors.
Because demand is currently so high, the prices that are being paid for unwanted gold items have also increased in recent months, so it’s worth sorting through your jewellery box to check whether there’s anything there you can convert into cash – and play your part in meeting the global need for the precious metal.
There is a major difference between how much gold and silver recycled jewellery is coming on to the market to be used again, according to a new analysis.
Around 551 tonnes of silver jewellery was bought up to be used again worldwide last year, figures from the Metals Focus: Silver Scrap Repot revealed. But that’s just a drop in the ocean when it comes to the annual demand of 7,045 tonnes to turn into new silver jewellery.
Such straightforward comparisons are not available for how much old and unwanted gold jewellery is sold to be reused, because the figures for recycled gold also include gold bullion bars and coins that have been melted down to use again.
But Silver Seek estimates that around 1,000 tonnes of gold jewellery was recycled last year – less than half of the 2,415 tonnes demanded by jewellers to make new items in 2015. The report said the main reason there was such a difference between gold and silver recycling rates was that better prices that can be obtained for selling on old, broken and unwanted gold jewellery compared to the sale of unwanted silver pieces.
Selling on the old gold jewellery that you no longer wear, or pieces that are lying broken and unused at the back of a drawer or in a box makes good sense at the moment.
As well as helping meet some of the huge worldwide demand for gold to be converted into new pieces, the precious metal is continuing to attract strong values. Gold has been enjoying high prices this year thanks to worldwide political uncertainty.
That means you are able to obtain top dollar – or pounds per troy ounce of gold – when you decide to convert your unwanted pieces into cash.
It’s highly unlikely your old, broken or outdated gold jewellery will end up in the bin and heading for landfill, because it’s not the kind of thing you throw out with the rubbish.
But it’s a different story with electronic waste that’s past its sell-by date or just doesn’t work anymore. Last week, we took a look at how a massive e-waste scrap market in India is providing work for hundreds of people scrabbling about among the old computers and mobile phones to remove the precious gold, silver and copper wiring they use for recycling.
In the US, tech giant Apple – a big user of recycled gold in its products – actually produces an annual report covering how much precious metal it recycles from old iPhones and iPads. You may just be surprised at the quantity.
In 2015, Apple recovered almost a metric tonne of gold from old products that were no longer wanted. It gives some perspective on just how much recycled gold is demanded by the market and why there is such a strong trade in it. Apple is just one of the tech companies that use precious metals in its products, so imagine how much is needed to meet international demand.
The California-based business’ Environmental Responsibility Report says that the value of gold it recovered last year was around £28 million pounds. Given the rocketing price of bullion over this year, it’s likely that the value will be much higher when it comes to calculating the figure for 2016.
It also extracted an amazing 6,612lbs of silver, 2,953,360lbs of copper and 101,000lbs of steel from devices in 2015. Apple has robots called Liam, which were invented to do the job of taking apart more than a million iPhones every year to get at the precious metals they contain.
One of the reasons Apple is successful at recovering gold, silver and copper to use again in its products is its programme to offer money off new devices when customers hand in their old ones for recycling. It’s a double whammy – Apple is able to retain the customers, and get at the gold it needs to keep producing its tech.
The precious metal from your broken and unwanted gold jewellery that you can convert into cash is generally melted down and used to create new jewellery designs.
But as we’ve explored in previous articles, gold is a very important component in modern electronics from your laptop to your smart phone, where it is used in the circuitry.
Much of the scrap gold used in phones and computers is recycled many times over. The beauty of gold is that it can be used again and again without losing any of its quality. Plus, recycled gold is cheaper for manufacturers to buy than freshly-mined precious metals.
In India, the second biggest importer of gold in the world, there is a thriving market for recycled gold. The country is home to a giant e-waste market in Seelampur, where old and broken computers, fridges, phones, computers and television sets are sent to be scrapped.
The sheer size of the scrap market means it attracts tens of thousands of people, who come to remove the scrap gold and other metals, such as copper, which can be sold on for reuse. There is a mixture of independent workers at the site and people working for large companies, spending all day extracting the scrap gold and metals from the e-waste.
Muhammad Hameed owns a scrap shop and has been working at the market for four decades, making a living by removing the metals from old circuit boards.
People are paid both by the volume of scrap metal they are able to find and the type, with gold paying the best rates.
Ishtiyaq, who runs a scrap factory, told the Daily Mail: “There is a demand for gold and copper. There are copper manufacturing plants that mostly buy and purify the extracts. They pay a good amount.”
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