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Melting down old gold to make new jewelry

Intro / synopsis:
Melting down gold is okay for the experienced. But be aware that people will generally trust the karat stamping on a piece of jewelry, but no one will trust what the contents of a blob are, so you'll be in for the expense of a precious metal assay.
For a quick understanding of the value of gold: 24 karat or 24K means pure 100% gold.
12K means 12 parts gold out of 24, i.e., 50% gold and 50% other metals (usually much less valuable ones like copper).
14K would be 14 parts gold out of 24; 10K would be 10 parts gold out of 24, etc.

Q. Would I get more money if I sell my 12 karat 14.1 gram rope necklace as is or would I get more money melting it down and then selling the gold that is left?

Jacob Micheal Kocher
- Gallatin, Tennessee
August 24, 2021

Gold Rope Necklaces on eBay affil links

A. Hi Jacob. Don't even think about melting it. Even assuming it has no aesthetic or collector value, such that you are concerned only about intrinsic metal value ...

Most jewelers and buyers would probably -- based on the look of the piece, the 12K markings, and a quick acid test -- believe that in fact it is 12K gold. Once you melt it into a blob, only a friend or a fool would believe it to be solid 12K without an expensive assay that you would have to pay for :-)

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. Hi All, I have a lot of 9k & 18k gold rings and necklaces and I wanted to get them melted down and remodeled into new jewellery, however I have been told that although a jeweler will take my gold it will probably end up in a scrap box and new gold will be used. Is this true?

Kelly B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Perth, Western Australia, Australia

A. Gold and other fine jewelry that starts off as a cast piece is made from a process called vacuum casting, the hot metal is poured in a molten state into the mold then the pressure in the mold is reduced to about 2.0 atmospheres or so (which if memory serves is not very much). This forces the metal into all the nooks and crannies, giving you a near perfect positive of your mold.

The reason that most jewelers do not do common vacuum casting is that it is prohibitively expensive; whereas the basic smelting equipment [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] is almost 500 bucks, the stuff for the vacuum casting [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] is almost 10,000 USD Hope that explains it.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina

A. Kelly,
the reason most jewelers won't cast with scrap gold is because you have solder joints in the scrap gold. When the scrap is cast you may get porosity or discolorations in the finished piece. hope this helps.

Peter Bochniak
master jeweler - Algonquin Illinois
November 22, 2010

Q. I am trying to figure out how to remove gold from jewelry. I want to buy old gold plate jewelry & separate it to make a gold brick. 1st of all, is it worth it? My goal was to buy it (jewelry) for $9.00 a gram for 10K & $10 a gram for 14K. Would it be worth while or Profitable to do this? So, how to remove it and is it worth it? Thanks, Tony

Tony O [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
potential buyer - Springfield, Oregon, USA
March 21, 2008

A. Be aware that recovering the gold from solid gold jewelry is one thing: 10K gold being 10 parts gold out of 24. But recovering gold from gold plated jewelry is something entirely different because the plating is likely to be only millionths of an inch thick. There is probably more gold in one 10K ring than in 500 plated ones.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. If you wanted to melt down different jewelry with different K value, how are you able to determine the quality or K or the newly formed item?

chris Beaumont
hobbyist - Melbourne, Victoria
June 29, 2008

Q. I received an 18k plated gold ring. Not wanting to keep it; is it worth anything in the scrap gold stores for melting. Please reply. cheers John

John Byrne
student - NSW
May 17, 2011

gold rings on eBay affil links

A. Hi, John.

Try to sell it on eBay or Craigslist if you don't like it. Plated gold is so thin that it is worth almost nothing in intrinsic metal value. Most knowledgable people think if you really know what you are doing, and are already set up for it, and if you're lucky, you might get a fraction more for the gold than you spend in recovering it, but most people are throwing money away when they try to do so.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Hi I have a couple of Rings and I have about 6 pins and they all are gold Plated. How much can I sell them for. Thanks.

debbie beck
- tacoma Washington
May 2, 2012

gold rings on eBay affil links

A. Hi Debbie. Try to sell them as jewelry on eBay where their beauty may offer some value. There are "We buy gold" stores on every other street corner these days, but gold plating is usually so thin that you'll find that there is almost no intrinsic metal value and it can cost more to recover it than it is worth -- they probably don't even want them for free. Sorry.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. I just want to know a refiner that melts scrap gold down to a gold bar. How much is it to get this done?

I'm in Sydney area

mark hobourn
n/a - nsw redfern australia
February 18, 2015

A. Hi Mark. I know very little about this, but I think I know two things, and unfortunately they both contradict what you'd like to do, sorry :-(

First, you can't just melt it down because that just forms a big mixed blob of worthless brittleness. Please see thread 12200 where Chris Owen explains this, and what must be done instead.


Second, there isn't a good way for the refiner to know what will be involved or what it will cost him or what the product will be worth until he does what is called an "assay" on the material that you want recovered. So free estimates of cost are unlikely. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My grandparents gifted me a gold necklace, with a gold "nugget" with a diamond in it. I am told it is in the fashion of an older semi-popular idea that the gifted would have the gold recast. It has no design to it; it is literally just gold, to my knowledge (or rather, as close to "just gold" as anything). I'm not sure about the karat. Do you know if this would be a cost efficient idea to pursue? Or, since I don't consider it a sentimental piece and its not particularly pretty, do you think I should consider selling it? I don't know how much they put into getting it made, and I'd hate to waste it, but it really is rather ugly.

Paris Turner
- Tampa, Florida USA
December 19, 2015

A. Hi Paris. If it is an older piece, really designed for that purpose, then it will be practical to melt down as intended -- and maybe your grandparents actually intended for you to do just that. But when you say you don't know how much "they put into getting it made", it sounds like it's recent and probably just in the style of the old days. My bet is they wanted you to appreciate a piece of the times they lived through.

If it's a gold plated decorative piece designed to emulate that old idea, it has no intrinsic value and you'll just ruin it -- so save it for your own daughter. Any jeweler can test it quickly, or you can look up Archimedes rule to do an initial test yourself because solid gold is much heavier than most plated gold. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Hi I have a solid 10k gold necklace I wanted to melt down. I have a graphite mold but there was too much gold to melt on the torch I was using. So now the necklace is only a quarter way melted. I wasn't going to sell it, I just wanted it all as a ingot from my mold. It seems nobody around can finish the melting and am being told I'm going to ruin it and that I won't be able to sell it after its melted. So now I don't know what to do with this half melted chain. Any suggestions or help would be appreciated! Thanks

Michael Morris
- Raleigh, North Carolina USA
January 8, 2018

A. Any jeweler should be able to melt it all together.

Assuming the chain was originally marked 10K, by melting it you have changed something of somewhat known value into a blob of unknown value. By melting it, you have made the selling of it more complicated. However, any knowledgeable buyer with a touchstone should be able to easily zero in on the gold value of the blob.

Whether melted or unmelted, a gold buyer will probably give you between 50% and 75% of the actual gold value. I recently talked to a jeweler in a small town that was only paying 50%.

"Hands-on" learning is fun, maybe try a ...
Precision Electronic Scale

on eBay or


(affil links)

Before attempting to sell it, weigh it on a gram scale and then calculate the approximate actual value of gold in it. Be aware that something marked 10K is rarely, if ever, actually 10K. It is very likely to be 1/2 Karat off, or 9.5K, which is 9.5/24 = .396 = 39.6% gold. At the present spot price of $1318 per troy ounce, gold is worth a little over $42 per gram (1318 divided by 31.1). Your chain, whether melted or melted would be worth about 42 X .396 = $16.60 per gram. So, if you were to sell it for 50% of value, you would get $8.30 per gram. At 75%, you would get $12.45 per gram.

Shop around. You don't have to take the first offer.

Chris Owen
- Benton, Arkansas, USA

Q. Thank you for the response! Also good to know it's not ruined. I didn't want to sell it anyway but if I'm not going to be able to melt it into my mold I don't have a use for it. The clasp is still intact on the remainder of the chain however. It seems there are some processes of refining the gold out to purify it but afraid it might be hard to do myself. Is there a place that can do that for you? If I just want to use it in my mold is it better to just leave it as 10k? There's 32 grams so not a whole lot here, but still significant.

Michael Morris [returning]
- Raleigh, North Carolina

Q. I inherited some gold jewelry (varies on kt content), some with stones, some without. I would like to find a local jeweler to remake the pieces into a statement piece for me. What should I look for in the jeweler? What would be a reasonable price to turn 8 average necklaces, 8 bracelets and 10 rings into a necklace? I know it's a very broad question but I only expect broad answers. I'm in NC closing the estate.

Lisa Rogers
- St. Petersburg, Florida USA
February 9, 2018

A. Hello Lisa, as you mentioned these pieces have different alloys and the jeweler may choose to melt them down in groups or singularly for that matter. The biggest hurdle will be to find a jewelry mfgr and designer to do it. If you do decide to do this weigh each piece and note the kt composition for each. 14 kt gold has about 58% gold weight. Just do the math for other kt pieces. The weight before and after won't match exactly because of stones, etc. So you have melt charges, which can be as much as $650.00 or more depending on the shop doing it. After that, the design job will be the most expensive and obviously dependent on what you want designed. Be prepared and know your weights, because there is a lot of skimming off the top. Good Luck.

Mark Baker
Process Engineering - Phoenix, Arizona USA

Melting Gold to go over an existing charm

Q. Me and my husband are getting new wedding bands for our 25th anniversary, what I would like to do is purchase two charms for each of my children, then have those charms dipped in our wedding gold rings, is this possible?

Karen Nic
- Horsham, Pennsylvania
February 24, 2018

A. It's not as simple as just melting the rings and then dipping the charms in the molten metal. That would never, ever work, for several technical reasons.

One way to do it, is to do it chemically. That would be a lot of work and it would quite expensive, assuming you could find someone with enough knowledge to do it. I doubt if any jeweler would be capable of doing it. It would take a good chemist and, even then, many would have problems doing it, since most have no experience working with precious metals.

They would have to first dissolve the rings in acid, separate and convert the dissolved gold to a chemical that could be used in a plating bath, formulate a proper plating bath, and, finally, plate the charms with gold thick enough to withstand wear. Everything on this list requires expertise.

Another way I thought of is to first have the rings refined to extract the pure gold. Then, the gold could be sputtered onto the charms. This method would be simpler, but it would require special equipment and expertise and would also be quite expensive.

I realize that this is purely a sentimental thing. You want the exact same gold that is in the rings to be used on the charms. Once you give those rings to a person contracted to do this work, what would prevent him from simplifying all this by substituting gold, already in the form needed, from another source. Gold is gold is gold. You would never know the difference. I bring this up because I've seen similar things happen, several times.

Chris Owen
- Benton, Arkansas, USA

Thanks Chris. People see chocolate covered strawberries and soft ice cream, candied apples, and so on, and envision a similar thing but as you say, it won't work for gold. I wonder if the rings are malleable enough to be hammered into some sort of charms though?


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My mom died this year and I have her and my dad's gold wedding bands. I wanted to get them made into a hammered gold keychain as a memento (they're divorced but he still wants a token). I don't need it to look great; I know melted gold has impurities. But is it even something that can be done?

Christie Michele
- Aurora, Illinois, USA
December 1, 2018

A. Hi Christie, yes it can be done. The alloys may vary but as you say, you don't care what it looks like. There has to be enough surface area on the rings to make the hammered keychain. You will have to find a Goldsmith or jewelry maker that's willing to do it for you.

Mark Baker
Electronics plating - Phoenix Arizona USA

Q. I want to melt down my 14k gold chain and bracelet with small diamonds in it into teeth or a tooth -- can it be done and how ?

John Ikon
- Victoria Melbourne Australia
December 22, 2018

A. Hi John
Contact a dental technician. Gold teeth are less common these days but it is a well established process and they will have all the kit needed.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

Pouring melted gold onto jewelry

Q. Hi, I currently have a friend vacationing in Ghana. There is a bracelet that is not real gold he sent me a picture of...Is it possible, and/or does it make sense to "pour" melted gold over a piece of jewelry that is not gold. I love the bracelet but want it in gold. He was told to remake it, it would cost 700.00-1000.00. To "pour" melted gold over the bracelet would cost 300.00-500.00. Is this possible to do or is it a scam. Will it have value long term?

Lynn Wilson
- Oak Park, Illinois USA
February 7, 2019

A. Hi Lynn. It is not possible to 'pour' gold over base metal jewelry, but it probably is possible to get it electroplated with gold. But what color is it? If it is brass, the contrast won't be stark as it starts to wear. If it is silver colored, it will look poor more quickly.

Have your friend purchase the bracelet in Ghana, but have it electroplated locally -- then you'll know what you have and you'll have recourse and not have to worry about scams.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. is it worth it to buy a 18k hallmark gold bar and have a jeweler melt it to make a custom chain?

Isaias Caraballo
N/A - Linden, New Jersey
April 30, 2019

A. Hi Isias. I don't think it's a common situation for a jeweler to melt down a bar of gold and make a chain from it for you. So when you ask whether it's "worth it", I don't think people can give you a standard answer. I think your only choice is to ask a few jewelers what it will cost and decide based on their answers :-(


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Hi, I was thinking of buying 20k gold nuggets for sale in various places and when I have enough melting them down to make a bigger piece. Then keeping it as an investment. Could this be done and would it be advisable or just a waste of money.
Many thanks.

Sam McFaul
- Belfast Northern Ireland
May 9, 2019

A. Hi Sam. Lots of people think gold is a great investment; it's certainly not a poor one as long as you're sure those nuggets are as advertised and you're buying them at a fair price. But I'm not seeing the point of melting them down -- it's not like gold consumes a lot of space.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. If the nuggets you have are marked and certified 20K, that's a good thing. They'll be easy to sell.

If you melt them into one lump, it will not be certified, and it will difficult or impossible to sell until you pay for an assay and certification.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

Q. Hi,
I usually work with silver, but have now been asked to make a new ring from two 1k wedding rings. Is it possible to fuse them together? The ring is supposed to have a 'raw' look, but will it be very brittle? Should I use a lot of borax [affil links]?
Thankful for any advice on this.


Randi Wolner
- Asker, Norway
August 7, 2019

Q. So I got the bright idea to melt mine and my wife's old broken yellow gold and, you guessed it, looks like white gold. I have a couple and a half ounces. Did I mess up by melting it and is it worth anything now?

Craig Birchfield
Hobbyist - Lyndhurst Virginia United states
February 21, 2020

A. Yes, it's worth something because there's some gold. Try one of the "We buy gold" places.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

A. Hi.
Jeffrey is right if it was real gold / fine gold / karat gold. But if it was just gold plated, you can hope for some silver value but probably no gold value :-(
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. Hi, I have quite a bit of broken 10, 14 k jewelry as well as a lot of gold from Elk teeth ( truth, my dad was an Elk and collected antiques so he also collected these ) also I have gold rings passed down and gold that I don't wear anymore....what to do with it? I have 3 granddaughters I would like them to go to but they are 2 years old. What can I do for them now that can be gifted to them when they are 21 or getting married. I want to keep the gold in the family as it was worn by my grandmother etc. thank you

Chris cahill
- Easton Pennsylvania usa
September 25, 2020

Q. I have a bracelet circa 1932 18 karat 52 grams gold. It has sentimental value to me, but it's just sitting around collecting dust. I realize I could get good money for it at an auction but would rather melt it down and make jewelry out of it. Any advice would be great

konrad brandt
- british columbia, Canada
January 22, 2021

"Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques"
by Anastasia Young

on AbeBooks

or eBay or


(affil links)

A. Hi Konrad! People are encouraged to help you if they can, but I think jewelry making is more about acquired technique than book knowledge. And for that reason, I think 18 kt gold is a very poor candidate for anyone's first practice. I'd suggest that you get a little copper and/or silver and try your hand at making some pieces from that before risking $2000+ worth of gold on your first try. Best of luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
January 2021

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