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Saturday, December 05 2020

With gold prices on the rise, you might be wondering if now is a good time to sell some of the gold you’ve found over the years.  And ifsell your gold you decide it is, you might also wonder how to best sell that gold and to whom. The type of gold any buyer is interested in varies, and will largely depend on what form of gold you have.

Gold dust consists of flour, fines and flakes. This is the stuff most prospectors find as a result of panning, sluicing and dredging. This form of gold is probably the lowest value because it will have the most impurities. Small nuggets start at about 1 gram  and are a step up from gold dust  in value. Medium nuggets, on average, weigh up to 31 grams or 1 troy ounce. Large nuggets are defined as weighing 1 troy ounce or more. Larger nuggets usually command higher prices, and could be considered museum quality. Gold in quartz is usually a collector’s item or a museum piece, therefore, prices widely vary.

Keep in mind, though, that even nuggets that appear to be pure gold are not. They will have impurities embedded and blended into the matrix. There is no such thing as 100% pure gold from nature.  In fact, in North America, the average purity for prospected and mined gold averages 60% - 85%. The impurities in natural gold consist of metals such as silver and copper and other minerals that have combined with gold on a molecular level. Tests, referred to as an “assay” must be performed to accurately measure the purity of gold. Some jewelers and pawn shops can analyze your gold to determine purity with an XRF gun (X-Ray Fluorescence); expect to pay a charge for that service.

The majority of gold bought and sold from small-scale prospectors include: private buyers  (some advertise on eBay, Craigslist, and other online sites) pawn shops, independently owned jewelry stores that craft and repair their own jewelry, museums looking for unusual specimens or rare nuggets, and refiners. Most refiners are contracted by large gold mining operations, but some smaller refiners will purchase gold from prospectors in any form or mesh size. An internet search will reveal refiners that will buy from individuals.

If you want to sell your fine gold or nuggets, there are a few things to do first. You may not get a totally accurate assessment of your gold’s value, but you’ll at least have a ballpark estimate. Do NOT melt your gold. Keep it in its original form.

  • Clean up your placer gold dust. Be sure it is completely dry and then use a neodymium magnet to remove any black sand. After using the magnet, do a final rinse to remove any sand or grit that is not magnetic. Let the gold dry.
  • Clean your nuggets with ammonia or any type of cola. Put the gold and soda in a small plastic container with a lid and vigorously shake. Rinse and repeat a few times. Don’t scrub with a brush or abrasive material.
  • Weigh only your gold (not the container) in grams using an electronic digital scale. There are 31.1 grams in a troy ounce, which is the unit of measure for precious metals (a troy ounce is heavier than a regular ounce which equals 28.3 grams). Gold is also measured by pennyweights or grains. 1 troy ounce equals 20 pennyweight (or dwt). 1 pennyweight is 1.55 grams.
  • Determine the spot price, which is usually based on a troy ounce. Multiple or divide the weight of your gold by the daily spot price.

When you make contact with potential buyers who specialize in raw and natural gold, be sure to ask about and understand their procedures and policies and payments. Ask how your gold will be assayed and how the purity is determined. If you are shipping your gold to a buyer, understand their requirements for packaging and shipping, insurance, and other safeguards. Some buyers pay for the testing and shipping, others pass along the costs to the seller. Remember that buyers have costs and will not pay 100% of the spot price. The exception to this would be if you have museum specimens or very large nuggets. In those instances, buyers will pay more than the spot price.

Be patient and shop around to not only get the best price, but to find a buyer who you can work with now and in the future. Get recommendations from fellow prospectors, or clubs such as GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America). If possible, make your first transaction with a new buyer a small one to assess your experience and satisfaction with the overall sales process. When you feel you have had a successful first transaction, you’ll feel confident you can continue that relationship in the future.

If you've not yet found your first gold, get Alaska paydirt here.

Posted by: Denise AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Saturday, January 11 2014

For thousands of years, humans have been prospecting, mining and refining metals. The invention of smelting was a true technological advancement for mankind and marked the end of the Stone Age. Working with native metals such as copper, silver, gold, lead, and tin came first. These metals have fairly low melting points and the ability to cast and forge them was revolutionary. The Bronze Age was born when tin was mixed with copper, creating the first alloy and better weapons of war. sme

As the centuries passed, metallurgists tried to figure out how to smelt iron. Iron doesn't occur in its native form and melts at a far higher temperature than any of the metals that had been smelted previously. By developing an ingenious process, iron was at last smelted, forged, and put to good use. Thousands of years have passed since the Iron Age began, and since then many exotic compounds have been created to support our quest for better and better technology.

Whether you've recovered natural gold (nuggets, flakes, wire gold, pickers, flour gold) or have unwanted jewelry or beat up old coins, you can smelt these at home. Choices for doing so include a small but high-powered electric furnace, a torch, or a small portable melting kiln kit you can also take into the field. To get started, you will also need basic gold smelting supplies such as flux, crucibles, tongs, ingot molds, and safety equipment.

Professional mining companies recover gold and other precious metals in quantities sufficient enough to pay refiners to do the smelting for them. But now you can smelt or melt your own gold, silver, and other metals at home!
 

Posted by: Denise AT 02:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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