Learning Center

Refining

Refining or purifying metals (including recycling scraps) plays a key role in the quality of your metal jewelry. Learn the basic techniques here.

24 ARTICLES
Article
Discussion on Refiner Methods

Shawna Kulpa takes a look into the assaying methods refiners use to determine the value of a lot. This article is a discussion on refiner methods from the journey a piece of metal goes through to how much they are worth. It seems so mysterious: …

Article
Lois Betteridge: Stretching Material Limits

The core of life’s work in fine artisanry is the unfolding of a personal style within the cultural milieu of one’s time. Exploration, experimentation and sensitivity to material characterize such development. Over the past…

Article
Heat-Induced Web Textures on Anodized Aluminum

In late 1981, I began working with anodized aluminum, drawn to its light weight, availability and low cost. In developing a simple studio “facility” for anodizing aluminum, I focused on experimenting with both color applications…

Article
Tips for Recovering Precious Metal Particles

Most jewelers know how to handle their precious metal scraps: they separate their scraps by metal, dry out ultrasonic solutions so they just ship the metal-infused sludge, and they keep their bench sweeps separate. But what about the precious…

Article
Florence Resnikoff: New Esthetic Potential

Florence Resnikoff delights in the use of color. Vibrant and glowing, muted and moody, color for her involves extending beyond  traditional metal and stone in washes of purple, rose, peacock blue gray—the expanded palette she achieves…

Article
Aluminum & Aluminum Anodizing

This article is based on technical information taken from my personal notes and experiences, shared information from the Penland Anodizing Symposium (Fall 1985, Penland, NC: Invited guests: Christine DePaul, Garret DeRuiter, and David…

Article
The Silversmith Mandate: Looking at the Future

The following are excerpts from a panel discussion chaired by Lois Etherington Betteridge at the Society of North American Goldsmiths’ conference in Toronto, June 1985. The panelists included: Gary Griffin, Head of Metalsmithing, Cranbrook…

Article
Fusion Patterns

This paper describes a process that combines techniques researched by others with a few well known facts about the properties of certain metals. This information was applied to a metal fabrication process specifically designed to extend…

Article
Anodizing Aluminum

While I was in graduate school at San Diego State University I became interested in the anodizing process. I had been working with aluminum in jewelry for a while when Arline Fisch brought back some basic anodizing aluminum information from…

Article
The Art of Doublée Making

Historically, a wide range of techniques has been used to clad or coat silver or base metals with gold. These processes are based on efforts to balance three factors: cost, physical properties and appearance. Rolled gold or gold-filled stock…

Article
Metal Spinning Part 3: Tooling

As skill develops in spinning, it becomes more important to have a sense of what forms can be produced. To fully appreciate the range of shapes possible, a thorough knowledge of tooling is needed. “Tooling” denotes the specialized…

Article
Reticulation of Shakudo and Shibuichi

For a number of years I have been exploring the use of the Japanese alloy shakudo in ways other than mokumegane. I was interested in its coloring properties and use in marriage of metal. In 1982. I started coloring it with heat rather than chemicals,…

Article
Copper Granulation Technique

Granulation, a technique used in jewelry and metalwork, is the decorative use of minute metal granules attached to the surface of the same metal, or, in some cases, attached to each other. In attaching the granules to a surface or to each other,…

Article
Masterpiece in Metal by Adolphe Himmel

Among the most distinguished known surviving pieces of New Orleans-made silver is this tureen made by Adolphe Himmel. With its swelling rococo-revival body decorated with grapevines, grape clusters and leaves—both cast and repoussé—it…

Article
Metal Spinning Part 2: Techniques

This article is the second of a three-part series on Metal Spinning by James Seavey discussing the techniques in developing spinning skills. The process of metal spinning involves the entire body. As with any hand-forming process, it is the…

Article
Master Metalsmith John Prip

One observation on the career of John Prip (more often called Jack) is the way in which the man and his times have grown together. In some people this might be a coincidence; in others it would indicate an ability to perceive and adapt to a trend.…

Article
Anodizing Principles Update

Although the basic anodizing principles involved in the reactive metals have been discussed in the past, a deeper insight into the process can aid the artist in solving some of the technical problems encountered. The publication of my thesis,…

Article
Precious Metal Refining

The principle of this ancient, valued procedure is described here because of its historical interest, and with the thought that young people coming into the field should be aware of the basic procedures of the trade, even though they may not…

Article
Refining Gold Jewelry Scraps

When questions arise about manufacturing quality gold jewelry, manufacturers are eager to talk shop with their peers and industry experts. They want to know if they are using the right alloy for a specific application, casting at the appropriate…

Article
Maximizing Refining Returns

Platinum jewelry manufacturing presents some very different concerns when discussing the collection of materials for refining purposes. The assumption that methods used for gold and silver collection and recovery can be used for platinum…

Article
Inquartation and Parting Refining Process

The small-medium scale refiner (typically up to 3-4 kg per batch) tends to adopt the Aqua Regia process as being a relatively straightforward technique, capable of producing gold with a purity in excess of 99.9%. The essential steps in the…

Article
The Art of Gold

‘The Art of Gold,’ curated by Michael Monroe, is the first major survey of contemporary American goldsmithing. The traveling exhibition was organized by the Society of North American Goldsmiths and toured by Exhibits USA. Comprising 79…

Article
Recycling Gold from Electronics

With over 300 tonnes of gold used in electronics each year, end-of-life electronic equipment offers an important recycling potential for the secondary supply of gold. With gold concentrations reaching 300-350 g/t for mobile phone handsets…

Article
Ensuring the Best Refining Experience

Today’s record metals prices have probably encouraged you to be more diligent than ever about capturing every last bit of precious metal dust in your shop. With gold in the $1,600 to $1,700 range at presstime, never before have your old polishing…