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It’s highly unlikely your old, broken or outdated gold jewellery will end up in the bin and heading for landfill, because it’s not the kind of thing you throw out with the rubbish.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.”
You may think last week’s vote for the UK to leave the European Union doesn’t have much to do with the price of your old, broken and unwanted gold items.
But you’d be wrong. The Brexit vote has sent the price of gold – which was already strong – even higher and that means the money you can earn from your scrap gold has gone up too. There is demand for gold at the moment because investors are looking for somewhere safe to put their cash while there is turmoil in the economy.
Since the vote to leave the EU last week, the value of the pound has fallen and astronomical amounts of money have been wiped off stocks – although there has been some improvement very recently. That effects everything from how far your money will go if you’re on holiday abroad to how much your pension is worth if you’re retiring.
But gold has traditionally been the go-to investment in times of trouble. Investors like it because it is a solid form of wealth that won’t disappear in a puff of smoke.
The increased demand for gold means that the price rises as the market looks to meet that demand. Even small amounts of gold coming from people's old jewellery will be affected by this.
Much of the gold people buy for investment purposes, such as gold bullion coins and bars, is produced from recycled gold. The broken necklace or old ring sitting in your jewellery box that you no longer wear has a real market value. With investors’ thirst for gold continuing to rise, more scrap gold is needed to make the investment products they want to buy.
Now is a great time to sort through your unwanted items and take advantage of the strong prices. In the uncertain world we’re currently living in, you can at least be sure of getting a good price for it.
It’s an Olympic year, and of course that means gold medals.
Like many of the gold and silver items that are now made, Olympic medals contain recycled precious metals. Organisers of the Rio Games, which begin in August, have unveiled the design of the medals for the event and released information about how they are made.
There will be a total of 5,130 medals made for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, all created by the Brazilian Mint. They feature the traditional laurel leaf and Rio logo on one side and Nike, Greek goddess of victory, on the reverse. The name of the event each medal is awarded for is engraved around the edge.
And although the gold and silver medals do contain precious metal, they are not solid gold or silver. In fact, there is only a small amount of solid silver and gold in each, but the precious metals they do contain have been sustainably sourced.
The gold used has been extracted without using Mercury and has come from renewable sources, the Rio 2016 website reported. Both the silver and bronze medals contain 30 per cent recycled materials such as the silver from mirrors, X-ray plates and soldering materials.
It’s traditional for Olympic gold medals to be made from gilt silver – or silver gilded with gold. When London hosted the Games in 2012, the gold medals contained 92.5 per cent silver and just one per cent gold.
So if you have inherited or bought gold or silver Olympic medals and want to sell them for recycling, the actual precious metal content may not be exactly what you thought.
Of course, it’s a different matter with the scrap gold and silver jewellery that you can convert into cash. Troy ounce by ounce, the metal is worth much more than an Olympic medal, and who knows – the gold and silver you recycle now could be used as part of the medals produced for the next games in 2020.
At Scrap Gold, we don’t just recycle gold but we also buy silver items, which are then turned into new products.
Because gold and silver do not lose their quality, they can be reused time and time again, and in the modern world, recycling precious metals is a great way to reduce the environmental harm that large-scale mining can cause – and of course, earn some extra cash at the same time.
But you might be surprised to learn just how ancient a practice this is. According to archaeologists who have unearthed a hoard of Roman-era silver jewellery in Scotland, the Romans were also in the habit of reusing their precious metals.
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen, who have been studying what is known as the Gaulcross Hoard of silver pieces found in Scotland, wrote in their report: “Late Roman silver was recycled and recast into high-status objects that underpinned the development of elite society in the post-Roman period.”
The first pieces of the hoard were unearthed nearly 200 years ago by workers using dynamite to clear a field of rocks. They found a silver bangle, a chain and a pin but didn’t continue their search.
Now archaeologists have discovered around 100 silver items at the site, from ranging coins to broken pieces of jewellery and silver ingots that may have been used as money, Antiquity reported. There are also fragments of silver dishes and spoon handles made from silver.
The search took 18 months to complete and the team believes the items date back to the fifth or six centuries AD.
Archaeologists call a collection like this a hoard when they suspect it has been purposely buried or hidden. But if you have a hoard of your own of broken or unwanted gold or silver pieces, don’t just leave it hidden way in the back of a drawer. You can earn some great prices for precious metals at the moment, thanks to the current values of gold and silver.
Trends on the high street suggest that rose gold is enjoying a comeback and yellow gold is not far behind it, meaning that if you have rose or yellow gold items that are damaged or you no longer wear, now is a good time to sell.
Demand for rose and yellow gold from jewellers means that more of the precious metal is required for recycling and you’ll be able to earn a decent price if you decide to part with it. Of course, the strong gold price per troy ounce that we’ve seen so far this year also signifies a great time to make some money from trinkets you don’t need or use.
Britni-May Edwards from Page Fine Jewellery in Ely, Cambridgeshire, told Professional Jeweller: “Trends can take a while to ripple through, and rose gold is at a peak for us.
“It did take a while for it to get through, but it’s now showing no signs of slowing down. Nine carat gold sales are creeping up now. It’s more noticeable because it wasn’t selling before, probably because the price was so high.”
Rose gold, which is pinkish in colour, was originally popular with Russian royals in the 1800s and was also very fashionable in the 1920s. It’s a mixed metal, and 18 carat rose gold is typically made up from around 75 per cent yellow gold, 21 per cent copper – which creates the rosy glow – and four per cent silver.
While the pieces that are currently popular are modern, pinkish items, older rose gold jewellery doesn’t have the same on-trend look but is certainly worth trading in to recycle.
With much of the gold we buy melted down to make jewellery items, your unwanted rose gold could find itself transformed into new wedding and engagement rings – and put you in the pink with some extra cash in your pocket.
It’s fair to say that having gold jewellery in your collection means you’ll always be able to raise some extra cash when times are tight and when you come to sell your broken or unwanted pieces, you might be surprised just how much value they have.
But while the price of gold is currently strong and prices for scrap jewellery are reflecting that, you’re unlikely to raise as much cash as a very old piece of gold jewellery that’s been discovered in Dorset.
The pure gold crown, found in an old cardboard box, is believed to be Greek and date from 300BC. It is going up for auction, where it could make £100,000.
The crown is made from gold fashioned into leaves and put together in the shape of a wreath. Evidence of dirt on the piece make auctioneers think it had been buried at some point and was dug up by archaeologists.
The seller, who prefers to remain anonymous, received the crown as part of his inheritance from his grandfather who was a keen collector of ancient artefacts. It’s believed he may have acquired the piece during the 1940s or 1950s when he was travelling abroad.
Guy Schwinge, from auctioneers Dukes of Dorchester, told the Bournemouth Echo: "It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It's pure gold and handmade, it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith.
"The wreath is in very nice condition for something that's 2,300 years old. It's a very rare antiquity to find, they don't turn up often. I've never seen one in my career before."
The piece will be auctioned on June 9.
So, if you have any pieces of old gold jewellery tucked away that you’ve inherited but never worn and have no intention of doing so, it’s certainly worth your while finding out what they are worth.
If you have old, unwanted or broken gold jewellery to sell, now is a great time to make some money on it because demand is currently on the up.
New figures from the World Gold Council show that the UK jewellery industry used one per cent more gold in the first three months of this year than it did in the same period in 2015.
The increased British demand for gold comes at a time when prices paid to people selling their scrap gold are at the strongest they’ve been for years. Such is the demand for the precious metal from everyone from investors to jewellers and technology companies, that prices rose by a glittering 17 per cent in the first quarter of the year; the biggest rise in a three month period for almost 30 years.
The majority of scrap gold – broken and unwanted jewellery – that is bought in Britain goes back into creating new gold jewellery. Figures from the Birmingham Assay Office show the number of pieces being hallmarked after the usual busy run-up to Christmas, when gold jewellery always sells well, experienced another jump towards the end of the first quarter of this year.
Britain, however, is bucking the international trend. Although we’re buying more gold jewellery here in the UK, demand has fallen in the world’s biggest gold jewellery markets of China and India.
The World Gold Council statistics show that worldwide, there was actually a 19 per cent dip in demand for gold jewellery in the first three months of the year. The main reason for this was a strike by Indian jewellers, who were protesting about taxes being imposed on their work. There were also concerns in China about the country’s economic growth, which meant people weren’t spending their cash.
But overall, the picture for gold is a sparkling one. Worldwide, 1,290 tonnes of the precious metal changed hands in the first three months of the year, a rise of 21 per cent on the first quarter of 2015.
The first and foremost issue in most people’s minds when they recycle their old, broken or unwanted gold jewellery is usually the extra cash they can earn to use for other things.
But recycling the precious metal also benefits the environment and there is a growing worldwide push to persuade more people to part with gold they no longer want or need, so it can be reused.
One of the major benefits of gold is that it doesn’t degrade – so if you have a 24 carat gold bangle to recycle, it’ll still be 24 carat gold once it’s melted down and can go on to be transformed into new gold items, such as wedding rings.
Ethical jewellery is becoming a big trend, so the demand for recycled precious metals is rising. It’s estimated that around 30 per cent of gold is historically recycled and used again. But figures show that if around three per cent of the world’s gold jewellery is recycled every year, then the entire global demand for the precious metal can be satisfied without having to mine more.
Three per cent doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you put it into context, it is. That’s because around half of the 170,000-plus imperial tonnes of gold that the US Geological Survey estimates ever to have been mined has gone into making gold jewellery. At the moment, miners are digging up around 3,000 tonnes of gold every year.
The green lobby doesn’t have a problem with gold itself, but environmentalists are unhappy about the effects that mining has on the planet. They blame the practice for generating huge amounts of toxic waste and pollution caused by mercury and cyanide. According to GreenBiz, gold mining is the top cause of mercury pollution and is one of the reasons why higher levels of mercury are now found in fish.
So every time you sell some scrap gold for recycling, you’re not only helping your bank balance, you’re helping the planet too.
The old, broken and unwanted gold that you sell for recycling in the UK has a new life in gold jewellery or as part of the hi-tech circuitry in mobile phones and computers.
But in India, it’s a different story. There’s a drive going on in India to persuade more people to recycle the old gold they have stored at home or gold that is kept in temples. It’s all part of the Indian government’s efforts to meet the demand for bullion, without having to pay duty on importing more and more of the precious metal.
One of the ways India is doing this is through gold buying schemes at approved banks, and much of the bullion that is brought in goes towards creating more collectible gold to be sold to investors.
Last year, India recycling a massive 80.2 tonnes of gold, and much of that was collected thanks to the schemes urging people to part with precious metal they had hidden away at home.
But that’s still the tip of the iceberg when it comes to demand for gold in India. The World Gold Council says that the country bought 849 tonnes of the precious metal in 2015, up from 828 tonnes the previous year. And demand was especially high in the last three months of 2015, when 233 tonnes was bought.
The Indian government is so keen on recycling gold because of the high import taxes it has to pay to bring bullion into the country. Earlier this year, it tried to pass some of that cost on to the jewellery industry by imposing a tax on gold items. That didn’t go down well with jewellers who staged a strike over the new payments.
Although the UK doesn’t have the same import demands for gold as India, which after China is the world’s second biggest gold buyer, it’s a smart move to recycle gold that you don’t want or need any more. And with the current strong prices for the precious metal, you might be able to earn yourself a nice little nest egg while you're at it.
Selling your broken, outdated or just unwanted gold jewellery is a brilliant way to make some extra cash, and help meet the commercial demand for the precious metal.
As we’ve seen, the electronics industry is constantly in need of gold for the technology we use every day, but one key market for scrap gold has really shrunk in recent years.
At one time, having a gold tooth – or two – was a real status symbol but just like a pair of 1980s earrings, fashion has moved on and people are less likely to want to flash a bit of sparkling precious metal among their pearly whites.
Around 67 tonnes of gold were used annually to mend or enhance people’s smiles 10 years ago, but today, the figure has plummeted. According to the World Gold Council, demand for gold from dentistry has fallen by around 60 per cent since the start of the decade. It says just shy of 19 tonnes of gold were used in dentistry last year.
The high gold prices seen during the recession and the passion for whiter than white Hollywood smiles is being blamed for the fall in demand in the last few years.
Lindsay Richards, dean of dentistry at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, told IOL: “We hardly ever use gold in front teeth now, almost never. I would’ve last done a gold filling 10 years ago in a front tooth. For the back teeth, it’s still an excellent material, but people don’t like the look of it.”
Gold is considered one of the strongest materials for repairing teeth, and unlike porcelain, it won’t crack and split. It’s believed to have been used as a long ago as 630 BC to mend teeth and was seen as a decorative as well as a practical enhancement.
But even if the dentistry market’s demand for gold has dropped, there is still a huge need for scrap gold for so many other purposes. And with the current high prices, it’s definitely worth converting your unwanted pieces into cash.
Now is probably one of the best times to dig out your old, broken and unwanted pieces of gold and convert them into cash, because gold prices have been steadily rising – and it doesn't look like they’ll be heading in the opposite direction for some time.
The gold price soared during the recession because big investors tend to consider the precious metal a safe place to park their cash when things are uncertain. However, when the economic recovery started to gather pace, investors looked around for the better returns that come from more risky investments and took their money out of gold. As a result, the gold price – and the amount you receive for your unwanted gold – plummeted.
But so far this year, we’re seen a big turnaround. The price of gold in the first three months of 2016 has rocketed, due to a combination of worldwide factors. Fears about the international economy and the threat of terrorism have sent investors looking for the ‘safe haven’ of gold again, and as a result, the price has recovered.
Figures from the World Gold Council show that the price of gold increased by 17 per cent in the first quarter of this year – that’s its best performance in almost 30 years. Although the price you’ll receive in return for you scrap gold hasn’t quite hit the heights we saw during the recession, many market analysts expect the gold price to continue rising. They say we’re in a ‘bull market’ for the precious metal, and depending on what happens on the world stage, the price could continue in its upwards direction.
The gold price changes minute by minute depending on trading around the world, and of course it does go down as well as up.
But if you’ve been having a spring clean or sort out, it’s a great time to find out what your unwanted or broken pieces are worth.
Selling your scrap gold jewellery for extra cash is easy – easy for you and easy for industry to get at the precious metal it contains and reuse it. But it’s hasn’t been such an easy job for people who are recycling gold from electronic waste – until now.
The tried and tested method of extracting scrap gold from old computers and mobile phones involves using dangerous chemicals including cyanide and acids which actually dissolve the precious metals. The gold is then recovered from the chemicals by passing an electric current through the liquid.
Cyanide, which is also used in gold mines to get at the bullion, can be a safety nightmare, with many levels of security put in place to stop the poisonous fumes from escaping.
But now a team at the National University of Singapore has come up with a safer and more environmentally-friendly technology that uses bacteria usually found in soil to do the job.
They’ve created big pools containing the bacteria that can remove gold from old electronic equipment in a week. Although the hazardous chemicals can do the same thing in an hour, the pools containing the bacteria can be used again and again. And they also have the benefit of leaving the gold whole – unlike chemicals, which dissolve it.
The team is three years into a five year project to prove the new idea and they’re working with Singapore electronic waste company Cimelia to refine it. The project itself is costing around $2 million (£1.4 million).
The plant manager’s, Mr Nagendra, told the Straits Times: "We have every intention to use this new technology in our electronic waste recycling process upon the successful completion of the project."
It just shows how badly the industry needs scrap gold if it’s prepared to spend millions on new ways to extract it.
So, if you do have any broken or unwanted gold jewellery tucked away that you think isn’t really worth anything, it might be worth reconsidering.
Obtaining money for ‘scrap’ gold jewellery – the unwanted or broken items lying in the back of a drawer – is great way to make some extra cash.
Such is the demand from industry for gold components, whether that’s for a new smartphone or for the circuits in a laptop, there’s no sign of the market diminishing any time soon. And because gold is currently enjoying some of the highest prices in years, the return you receive is also up.
The electronics industry is one of the major users of scrap gold. It’s reckoned that around £25 worth of gold goes into manufacturing a new laptop, and from a commercial point of view, it’s much cheaper for makers to use recycled precious metals than buy newly-mined gold ore.
Industry estimates suggest that around 320 tonnes of gold and 7,500 tons of silver go into making new computers and hi-tech devices annually. Although laptop circuit boards require the most, your tablet device contains around £10 of the precious metal and there is around £4 of gold in the average smartphone.
As well as sourcing gold from recycled unwanted jewellery, companies are now taking up ‘urban mining’ to remove the gold content from broken or outdated technology, Channel Biz reported.
Mark Hall from BusinessWaste.co.uk, based in York, said: “Verifiable destruction combined with the smart recovery of precious metals can now be achieved by companies with the right expertise and right equipment, and it’s these urban miners who are going to profit from British industry’s continuing need for up-to-date equipment and readily-available raw materials.”
So while there may not be gold in them there hills, there probably is in your old computer. However, the best – and easiest - returns for individuals are undoubtedly in the shape of your old gold rings, earrings and necklaces.
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