Rare and valuable minerals

What can you make from old gold jewelry?

Looking at the counters of jewelry stores, you simply get lost in the shining luxury of jewelry of all kinds of designs. It would seem that every person, no matter how demanding he is, will definitely find a ring to his liking. However, making rings from gold and silver is a fairly popular service provided by many jewelry workshops. Moreover, in large cities (especially in the capital), more and more new studios are appearing where rings of original designs are made. The cost of custom-made jewelry is significantly higher than the price of factory jewelry. Nevertheless, clients do not stop going to private workshops and ordering jewelry, analogues of which they could purchase in stores. One of the attractions that attracts customers is the service of making rings from the customer’s gold. Let’s figure it out together what this looks like in practice.

What gold items will the new jewelry be made from?

  • You have enough scrap at your disposal to cover the cost of making a new ring.
  • It is important for you that the new decoration be made from the old one (we warn you: this is not always realistic).
  • You want to get a truly exclusive piece of jewelry and are willing to pay a lot of money for it.

Not all workshops undertake the manufacture of products from the customer’s gold. The exception is 999 fine gold bars. All workshops work with it without restrictions.

Not every gold item (or scrap) will be accepted for making new jewelry. This is only possible in the case of modern products with the Russian Federation hallmark. They can be practically new, worn out, or even damaged, but they must have a hallmark and a name tag (the signature stamp of a licensed master or manufacturer).

Is it possible to make rings from old and foreign gold?

Some of our compatriots have accumulated a lot of old gold, inherited from their mothers and grandmothers. It was made in Soviet times and is decorated with an hallmark with a star.

At that time, 583 gold was popular, now superseded by 585. This means that no one will put a modern hallmark on a product melted from Soviet gold. Therefore, making and selling jewelry melted down from Soviet gold is illegal. There is a real criminal penalty for this.

Nevertheless, the workshops accept products made from old Soviet and foreign gold that do not meet modern Russian standards. But jewelry is not made directly from this metal: it is sent for refining. In Russia there are about ten state-owned enterprises that refining scrap precious metals. It comes there from workshops, pawn shops and purchases.

Refining is the purification of gold alloys from impurities (ligatures). Technologically, this is a very simple process that can be done even at home, but it is illegal. Therefore, all scrap precious metals (including items made from Soviet gold, crowns, denture discs, etc.) are processed exclusively at licensed enterprises.

Where do impurities come from in gold? The fact is that pure gold is a metal that is slightly harder than plasticine. A product made from it could be bent with two fingers and scratched with a fingernail. To achieve the required hardness, other metals (ligatures) are added to gold – copper, silver, platinum, palladium, and so on.

The amount of additives determines the gold standard. For example, the most popular jewelry alloy, used to make most rings, has a purity of 585. This means that a kilogram bar of this alloy contains 585 grams of gold and 415 grams of alloys.

So, at the refining plant, the scrap is cleaned of alloys and ingots of almost pure 999 fine aurum are obtained. Ingots of this soft metal are sold to banks, jewelry factories and workshops.

Soviet gold has always had a pronounced reddish color. This means that it was made with the addition of a large amount of copper. White gold is made by adding platinum, silver, palladium, nickel and other white metals.

In the workshops, gold bars are obtained, the required amount of alloys are added to the aurum to achieve the desired color and physical characteristics, and jewelry is made from the resulting alloy (including rings).

Then all the jewelry made is sent to the local office of the Federal Assay Supervision, where they receive hallmarks: an assay mark, with the coveted numbers and a woman’s profile in a kokoshnik, and a name tag, that is, a name stamp containing the encrypted code of the manufacturer (in our case, the workshop).

Summarizing the above, we can conclude: workshops accept almost any scrap of precious metals, but they evaluate it and send it to the enterprises for melting.

The cost of the scrap will count toward the price of the new jewelry, but it will most likely be made from metal that came from the refinery. So, most likely, it will not be possible to make an engagement ring from earrings inherited from your grandmother. In this case, it is more economically profitable to hand over old jewelry to a pawnshop. They will be checked, weighed, assessed and the corresponding amount will be taken into account when you purchase new jewelry from the existing range. Or you can just take it with money!

In Russia, all manipulations with precious metals are strictly controlled by the state, but this practice is not typical for all countries. Therefore, gold items brought by tourists from Turkey, Greece and Egypt almost always do not correspond to the numbers indicated in the sample. And enterprising Turks often sell jewelry without stamps, but they put any stamps at the buyer’s request.

Master class on making jewelry

The Internet is replete with all kinds of master classes on making rings at home. Many of them contain quite detailed recommendations and descriptions, but once you read them, you understand why jewelers charge such high fees for their services.

To make rings with your own hands, you need to purchase a lot of equipment and available materials: a crucible, cutters, a soldering iron, wax, silicone, plaster, acids, all kinds of shapes and containers, and much more. And this is not counting the precious metal, which can simply be ruined if handled improperly.

In the workshops, gold rings are made by experienced jewelers who have an extensive arsenal. And they learned their art not from gold, but from simpler metals.

By purchasing a machine for making rings, you will not automatically become a jeweler. You need to work long and hard before you start actually working with precious metals. By the way, without a license it is illegal: just sell or give away a handicraft product and you will commit a crime.

How is the cost of the finished product determined?

The actual cost of the work is calculated based on many factors:

  • Material price. The more high-grade gold the master uses, the higher the cost of the final product. And when making, for example, a silver ring, the price of the material is, of course, taken into account, but it takes a small share in the final pricing. We must not forget about the cost of precious stones, and it can also be quite large.
  • Difficulty of work. A complex model will naturally cost more than a smooth wedding band. The most affordable option is to choose a product from the proposed catalog: the workshop will already have special forms in stock, which will reduce the cost and time of work. Jewelers work much longer on individually designed models (according to an exclusive layout), which is reflected in the price.
  • Technological nuances. For example, an engagement ring can be made in two ways. First: a narrow gold plate is cast, closed in a circle, welded and polished. With a professional approach, the product is obtained without any traces of seams. The second option: take the appropriate mold, pour hot jewelry alloy into it – and get a monolithic piece of jewelry. The second method is much more expensive, but many clients prefer it.

The workshops do not make absolute copies of popular brand models – no one needs copyright problems. But you can order a product very similar, for example, to a Love ring or a “nail” from Cartier. There will be a difference in nuances, but only a specialist will be able to notice it.

Production time

If you want to have a custom ring made from your own gold, you need to be patient. It is extremely rare that you can go for finished products in a couple of weeks.

In most cases, the process lasts for one and a half to two months, especially if we are talking about an exclusive product designed by the customer.

Don’t be fooled!

Unfortunately, not all jewelers are distinguished by crystal honesty – they are just people, and even those who constantly hold gold in their hands. The risk of being deceived is highest when ordering jewelry from private craftsmen and small, unemployed workshops. It is not profitable for large salons to deceive clients – they value their own reputation too much.

The most common fraud schemes are:

  • replacing stones;
  • overestimation of the weight of the final product;
  • a large percentage of discards for waste.

Replacing the alloy with a low-grade one is practically never found. The fact is that all products go through the Assay Office, and the deception will be revealed instantly.

But craftsmen are quite capable of laying down a high percentage of waste (that is, reducing the weight of the metal). Remember: this figure should be no more than 10%, otherwise it is already theft.

If after making the jewelry there is “extra” metal left and it does not count toward the work, then you must return it to you in the form of a gold plate with a name tag. However, you can also take it in money – whatever you want.

Remember: the process of making custom rings is a very labor-intensive and expensive job, with many questionable aspects. So it’s more profitable to simply hand over the gold to a pawnshop and use the amount received to buy yourself a new piece of jewelry. Believe me: in the window of an online store you can find a ring for the most intricate taste – if only you had the means!

The idea of ​​melting down old jewelry and making new ones out of them is not uncommon. Everyone has their own story: someone cherishes the family ring left by their great-grandmother, someone feels a special energy from their old jewelry, and for others it’s just a good opportunity to save money.

We are the jewelry brand Ring Studio. We have been making rings since 2010 and in this article we will dispel several myths about melting down jewelry, tell you why we never accept products from customers and why you should not return them either. We’ll also give you good advice on what you can do with your jewelry.

The main obstacle to melting down old jewelry into new ones is the complex production process and high modern product quality standards.

In modern jewelry production, jewelry is cast using special injection molding machines. Casting in such machines occurs in batches of 30-40 products. A batch of metal is loaded into a machine, melted and evenly distributed among all products. This means that no more than 3% of your favorite family earrings would end up in your new ring.

In addition to the products themselves, an accompanying metal of identical composition is also involved in casting. It forms fastenings and connecting elements between future decorations. After casting, it is separated from the products and sent for processing. Its weight can be 2-3 times the weight of the products themselves.

  • jewelry is cast in batches and the metal is evenly distributed among them.
  • the manufacture of 1 product requires 3-4 times more metal than the weight of the ring itself.

Another difficulty in melting down old jewelry lies in the ligatures that are part of all precious alloys. Ligatures are impurities of other metals that are added to pure precious metals during the melting process to give them the required color, strength and other jewelry properties. These can be copper, zinc, nickel, cobalt, silver and other metals.

Electronic control of the casting process allows you to select the optimal melting temperature of the metal with an accuracy of 1 degree. This is necessary so that all components of the composition melt evenly to the desired state, but do not boil or overheat.

Each component of the alloy has its own melting point. Knowing the exact composition of alloys and their percentage, the foundry selects the optimal casting temperature regime, which is subsequently used for years.

But if a product that does not correspond to the current temperature conditions gets into the injection molding machine, then some of its alloys may simply boil, forming voids inside the metal, which will make it unsuitable for further use.

Conscientious companies do not even reuse their own accompanying metal (the role of which we discussed above), since during the first melting some of the alloys inevitably burn out from it, and its reuse can significantly deteriorate the quality of the products.

How, then, do jewelry companies deal with metal residues formed during the production process?

Companies deliver it to a refinery, where, using special equipment, the alloy is purified from all impurities and the pure precious metal is returned to the company, which is subsequently used in production. This procedure is called refining.

  • Old jewelry is not suitable for reuse in production without a refining procedure due to the heterogeneity of the composition of its alloys.

Until recently, in most cases, when jewelry companies offered to melt down old jewelry into new ones, they took your jewelry to a refinery and made new ones from their own materials.

Not just one piece of jewelry is sent to the refining shop, but a whole batch of 500 grams or more, so there will be no hope that you will receive new items made specifically from your metal.

But since 2020, the situation has changed legislatively.

  • On September 12, 2020, by government decree No. 1418 and federal law No. 41, the purchase, acceptance and processing of scrap precious metals, including from the population, became a separate licensed activity. Without such a license, jewelry companies are prohibited from purchasing, processing products made of precious metals from individuals, and even taking new products as credit.
  • a year earlier, the same law prohibited the production of jewelry from scrap precious metals without sending it to refining. Simply put, as of 2019, directly melting down old jewelry into new jewelry is illegal.

If you are planning to save money on buying new jewelry at the expense of old ones, then the best solution would be to take your old jewelry to a professional buyer and use the proceeds to buy new jewelry.

Read our article about why people change their wedding rings.

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There are plenty of ways to indulge yourself, but buying engagement rings online is definitely not on that list.

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