Recycle old gold to
Original wedding rings recast into new rings for 25th anniversary. Click here for the whole story and process.
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* Recycling can be motivated by environmental and fair trade concerns, to save money or for sentimental reasons. All of the gold used by Walker Metalsmiths is from recycled material for the simple reason that gold is too valuable to throw away. In all honesty, most American jewelry craftsmen are using recycled gold, so this fact alone does not make us especially unique. What is unique about Walker Metalsmiths is that we will recycle your gold and give you that same gold back in the form of a new creation.
Something old, something new.
New life for old jewelry.
Celtic design is about tradition and heritage. What better way to add meaning to your jewelry than to make it out of precious materials that already have a legacy in your family? The craftsmen at Walker Metalsmiths can remount gemstones that have outlasted their settings, but we can also take the gold from those settings or other gold jewelry and use it when we cast your new special order jewelry.
Why should grandma’s wedding ring just sit in a box for decade after decade until nobody can even remember whose it was? It means too much to your family to just sell it for scrap. So why not make this keepsake into a ring for a new generation to wear and to treasure? Nobody is ever going to wear those gold cuff links with the company logo that they awarded great-grandpa all those years ago. Wouldn’t it mean much more to him if they were fashioned into something new for his descendants? Especially if that something new expressed the heritage that he was so proud of?
Planning a wedding on a shoestring? Consider asking guests at the bridal shower to contribute odd bits and pieces of gold. Friends can bring their worn, damaged or old gold jewelry to be melted down to make the wedding rings. This can be a way to help with the cost as well as to give the couple a physical message that the symbols that are their wedding rings are in part a witness of their friends and families faith in their union.
Here is how it works. Bring or send the gold items you want to reuse and recycle to Walker Metalsmiths with instructions as to what you want us to make out of it. We will calculate how much the gold is worth towards the cost of the new rings. The more gold you bring to the project, the more affordable the final price. Most customers choose from our range of designs that have already been molded that are illustrated in our color catalog or on our website. But we also do custom designs. Before we do anything with your material we will check the gold quality, weight and get back to you with a price for your approval before any work begins. In almost all cases we have to add some of our own material so that there is enough gold in the cast to do it right. Then we will use the “lost wax” method of casting to incorporate your gold into the new piece. Click here for some recycled gold stories and see how it is done.
Please read the information at the bottom of this page before sending any gold to Walker Metalsmiths.
Q: Another jeweler told me that old gold cannot reused without refining it first. How can you do it when other jewelers won’t?
A: We can do it. We know how. It is a widely held belief among craftsman that old gold, especially lower karats, is difficult to remelt successfully without expensive refining with dangerous chemicals. But after experimenting with customers' legacy gold for many years I have found that my casting techniques have overcome the problems associated with recycling unrefined gold and remelting mixed alloys from various manufacturers.
Q: How long does it take?
A: Usually 3 weeks or less.
Q: Can I mix different colors or karats of gold?
A: Different colors need to be cast separately. Karats can be mixed, but this will result in an alloy which is an odd karat. Aesthetically this is OK, but if you want it stamped we will have to mark it with the lower carat.
Q: Can you also use my gemstones in the new piece?
A: Yes we can in most cases. If there is a problem we will contact you after inspecting the material.
Q: How do I know that this is really my gold that I am getting back?
A: You can either just trust us or come and watch! We have an unblemished rating of zero complaints with the BBB. Or if you like you can come and watch the casting. This is actually a lot of fun. We have had couples cast their original wedding rings into new designs and take them right off their hands into the crucible and then wait for us to finish and polish the new rings. This can be a very romantic thing to do, especially if either party has never had their original rings off their finger since the wedding. Please note, we do need to plan ahead for this because the plaster investment molds for lost wax castings are prepared the day before and burned out overnight. Click here to see how lost wax casting is done.
Q: How much is my gold worth?
A: Walker Metalsmiths will give you credit towards the purchase price of your new jewelry based on the gold price listed on the scrap buying price listed at Kitco.com which is approximately 93% of the New York spot price. This price will be locked in on the day we receive your material or when you approve your order, which ever is later.
Q: Where do you get the rest of your gold from?
A: Our gold is supplied by United Precious Metal Refining of Alden, NY and by Hoover and Strong of Richmond Virginia. Both of these companies sell us gold that is refined from jewelry industry scrap and post-consumer recycled material. *
Q: Will you reuse my silver?
A: Yes. In most cases this will make a piece of silver jewelry made from your recycled silver cost more than if it was cast from our metal, but if you want this done for sentimental reasons we are glad to oblige.
Q: Will you reuse platinum?
A: Sometimes. Unfortunately we are not set up to cast platinum and have not found a third party caster who is willing to reuse customer’s material. Sometimes we can reuse it by taking it apart and using it to fabricate a new piece. Once I cut open a wedding ring and made it into a cross as a memorial.
Q: What do you do with the left over gold?
A: You are credited with the full value of your gold against your cost for the new jewelry. In most cases the button from the casting is added to a later project. If you want the remainder returned to you, that can be arranged and you will be given credit for only the net amount of gold used for the project. However it normally takes extra 5 grams of gold to make a successful casting. If you bring less than 5 grams of gold to the project and you want the leftover gold as well, it will cost you more than if you had bought the same piece made with our gold.
Q. Recycle, reuse or refine. What is the difference?
A: Anything used over again is recycled. Most gold collected by scrap buyers is first refined through an elaborate process that uses some very dangerous chemicals and sophisticated testing equipment. It is more efficient to do this in larger batches. This is why other many jewelers will either not use your same gold or charge a hefty premium for the service. Refining is expensive and has its place, but Walker Metalsmiths can reuse your gold by using a very traditional approach to casting reused gold. With over 25 years of experience reusing old gold without chemical refining we have perfected our technique.
Q: How do you determine gold content for marking?
A: We examine the material to be reused for quality marks such as "14K" and then follow up with a top of the line electronic gold tester. Gold that was marked in the US prior to the 1970s could legally have been 1/2 karat below the quality marked. For this reason the marks on older gold are somewhat unreliable. If you want the rings to be a certain karat we may have to add some pure gold to bring the melt up to plumb. Then it can be honestly marked. If you are not particularly concerned about the karat quality of your final piece we can just use your gold and leave off the quality mark. If, for instance, we mix 10K and 14K gold and do not add any pure gold we have to mark it with the lower karat, or not mark it at all.
Gold jewelry of American manufacture is usually marked 10K,14K or 18K. These are the qualities of gold. Pure gold is 24K. 10 K = 41.2%. 14K = 58.3%. 18K = 75%. European and other foreign gold is usually marked with a 3 digit number which is parts per thousand such as 750 for 18K. Gold filled is not solid gold. This material is usually marked 1/20 12K GF. We cannot melt down and reuse gold filled or gold plated material, so please do not send it to us. The spot price of gold is for a Troy ounce of pure gold. Karat gold is not pure so 10 grams of 14K gold contains only 5.83 grams of pure gold. A Troy ounce is 9.7% larger than a common ounce. A Troy ounce = 31.1 grams. We will calculate your gold value in grams. Any stones that are in the material you send that are not used in your piece will be returned to you. Any material that is determined not to be usable gold will also be returned to you. Our offer of matching the Kitco buying price is only given up to the price of your purchase from Walker Metalsmiths. The price paid for gold in access of your purchase will be offered depending upon our current needs for material.
Contact Stephen Walker or Walker Metalsmiths customer service at 1-800-488-6347 or e-mail service@walkermetalsmiths if you need more assistance.