Reusing Metals: Okay or Not?

Posted on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 in Precious Metals.

Once in a while, we’ll have a customer come into our store asking if we can use the metal from one of their old jewelry pieces and incorporate it into a new piece. While we can always scrap the metal and put that money towards a new piece, we usually don’t recommend reusing precious metals. Here’s why:

Unless your jewelry is 24 karat gold, your favorite rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings are actually made up of a mixture of different metals. Copper, zinc, and nickel are just some of the different metals that are added to the “primary” metal. These metals are added to affect color, increase durability, and assist in the casting process. Similar to cooks using different recipes, every alloy is composed of different ingredients, or metals. The types and quantities of metals found in one jewelry piece can vary greatly from another. When you add new ingredients to the already existing recipe, you’re most likely going to end up with a poor-quality outcome. Anytime you add new metals to an existing alloy, you risk discoloration, cracking, and porosity. So why can’t you just melt the existing jewelry and transform it into a new piece without adding any new metals? Well, some metals are lost during the melting process and need to replaced. Because of this, you’ll never end up with the same alloy you had before.

So unfortunately, reusing the metal in your old jewelry isn’t that simple. If for sentimental reasons, you are determined to incorporate some of your old jewelry into a new piece, we’ll work with you to ensure you leave our store with a treasured piece you love.