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Ask Your Goldsmith:
New Jewellery Made From Customers Gold

"Hi,

Thank you for the advice in your article. I have had a few experiences with, as you say "the good, the bad, and the ugly." My question to you is where would I go to have new jewelry made from old gold scraps and pieces that will never be worn? Thank you again for your information.

Karen


Hi Karen,

Thanks for your inquiry!

Are you in Canada or in the USA? If you're in Toronto, you can come and see me about it! If you're in a different city in Canada or the USA, you have to find a Goldsmith that does his own handwork on his premises, who is willing to work with your gold.

Most jewellery salespeople (non Goldsmiths) have no patience or understanding for that and would perhaps tell their customers that their own gold would be used and then get their supplier or gold caster to make up the item from their own gold and then keep the customer's scrap for refining of all their scrap gold later! Not that there is anything wrong with it. When your scrap gold weighs in, lets say at 30 grams of 14 KT gold, and you get 28 gram of 14 KT gold back stamped by the maker 14 Kt with his trademark.

The only thing is, if your own gold had sentimental value to you, because it was a pair of old wedding bands belonging to your late your grandparents, let's say, then you would not have that anymore, because the jeweller misrepresented his actions by not really working with your gold. It's just easier for him, though there no difference in the monetary value. You were not really cheated money or value wise, but the work to be done with your gold was misrepresented! So you have to be able to trust your own personal Goldsmith!

We have melted many customers own gold into a bar and made sheet or wire from it and than follow up with the work after, while the customer watched us, just out of interest! We also wanted the customer to see the process of his gold, converting it into gold sheet and wire material for the job to be done with that later!

But please note, not all items can be done by hand from our gold or your gold! Sometimes, a heavy ring for instance, has to be made in a wax model first and than get a caster to cast that in gold, using only his gold, and not ours or our customers. Now the casters do not use every clients' gold and cast all different items together from their jewellers gold, because they are in the business of selling gold castings and they have to guarantee the KT or fine gold content also.

And using scrap gold from different items and sources can mess up and infect all the casting gold because of the low KT solder that was used on the old items or a small minute piece of soft solder (lead) that was used on a repaired old gold item a long time ago. A small piece of soft solder would mess up the whole batch of melted gold. Than all the gold has to be refined afterwards to get out the pure gold again and after that start to alloy the whole lot into a certain Karat, like 10 Kt, 14 Kt, 18 Kt and so on.

That is the other reason the professional casters do not want to work with customers' gold, but rather sell their own fresh new alloyed gold. In that case, you should be told ahead about it by your Goldsmith, that your gold could not be used to make a new item out of it by the casting method. So you know that the sentiment you have for your old gold would not be there, if it were substituted or traded in, as part of the deal to make a new item for you.

Hope I have helped you to clear things up a bit
Hartmut Reinsch
Toronto


***** Return Letter: *****

"Hi Hartmut,

Thank you so much for your quick and informative response.

I live just northeast of Toronto. I would really like to melt down a gold charm bracelet removing the charms because they were purchased all around the world. Most likely there would be a solder problem with the charms themselves. I also have other misc. pieces of gold.

What I would like to do is have some jewelry made for my daughter utilizing her grandmothers gold. My daughter would like a name ring, enlarge some rings, and possibly design a piece incorporating a diamond. Would it be possible for me to make an appointment to see you?

I have been told by so many jewelry stores, that I would have to find someone who does this for a hobby. I think being a goldsmith is much more than a hobby it is a true gift of craftsmanship. I understand that with the holiday season you must be very busy. However, I would like to meet with you, at your earliest convenience.

Little has changed between the tools of Renaissance goldsmiths and today.

Karen


Hi Karen,

Thank you for your thoughtful letter and your swift response!

As far as the little bit of solder by the charms especially is concerned, we can cut the solder out, before we melt all the gold together. If your gold pieces are of different KT (fine gold content), than we have to separate these items also.

In other words, just using same Karat items, or if there is a higher Karat item, then we can bring up the lower karat with that. We have to weigh the individual Karat items separately and figure it out mathematically.

If you want to upgrade your 10 KT to 14 KT let's say, and you do not have any or enough 18 KT to do that, than we have to put a certain amount of fine gold to the weight required to bring the fine gold content up to a higher Karat.

For the initial ring, we would have to use a form or a wax model and get it casted from the caster's gold. I can create a hand made band or pendant, broach or bangle, and set your diamond into the piece. You have to see my hand made items to give you an idea!

As for you being "told by so many jewelry stores that I would have to find someone who does this for a hobby", what they are not saying to you is that it is a waste of their time to bother with converting the customers old gold into a new item! If they're are honest enough and do not want to bother, they will perhaps tell you "to find a hobbyist" I guess and if some of them they see a sales disappearing, they will tell you it can be done from your gold and afterwards they would substitute your gold with a caster's gold and keep your scrap gold (for which they allowed very little) for gold refining at a later date.

The only difference there, between those people and us, is they allow you very little for your scrap and make sure that they charge you enough to cover their casting and new gold charges and other expenses and make a good or better profit as a bonus later, as they get some money out of your old gold. If they allow you a little more than their initial charges were already high enough, for them to do that.

Your Goldsmith to be (hopefully)
Hartmut Reinsch
Toronto


For more information, please read my other articles about Buying and Selling Jewellery, About Old Gold and Taking Care of Your Jewellery.


Have a Question? Get the Answer! info@westyorkjewellers.com


Sincerely,

Hartmut Reinsch
President
West York Jewellers
January 2003