Silver and gold are two of the most common precious metals used in jewelry, technology and industry.
Learning where to find scrap gold and silver, and how to render it for recycling can be an excellent way to provide your family with an extra source of income.
Listed below are the top three sources for finding scrap gold, and the top three sources for finding scrap silver.
Top Three Sources for Scrap Gold
1. Old Jewelry
Often even old costume jewelry is made with real gold. Look on the back of pins, on the clasp of necklaces and on the inside of rings for a K symbol with a number. This tells the karat weight of the gold.
10k gold is significantly harder and less pure than 24k gold, but still has value. The higher the karat number, the more valuable the gold is if sold by the ounce. If there is no visible K emblem, it doesn’t mean that the jewelry is not gold. It could be old enough that it is not stamped; the stamp could have worn away; or the piece of the jewelry that contained the stamp could have broken away.
Before taking it to a jeweler to have it assessed, try sticking a magnet to it. If the magnet sticks, it is not gold and has little to no value.
Take care; old jewelry can be worth more intact than it is recycled. Make sure you understand the value of the piece before rendering it for gold.
Look inside old televisions, radios, cell phones, computers and other electronics for gold. Gold is an excellent conductor and is used in areas where a high level of conductivity is required from a very fine piece of wire.
Using gold allows electronics manufacturers to create smaller, more advanced pieces of equipment. Check connectors, soldered joints, stripping and wiring for gold.
3. Old Decor
It was once common to use gold in home decor. When wandering through local flea market or an estate sale, look for golden candelabra, tea sets, serving trays, knickknacks and more. Like jewelry, you should look for a K symbol on the base, and use the magnet test to ensure you are getting a recyclable piece of gold.
Top Two Sources for Silver
1. Silver Flatware and Table Service
Look for a stamp mark, like “.925″ or the word “Sterling” on pieces of silver. Silverware, tea pots, service platters, candle sticks and other table setting pieces were once commonly crafted from pure silver.
Some pieces or collections are worth more as collectible items than as scrap, make sure you have looked into the value of what you have before selling it by the ounce. Also, don’t overlook broken pieces that have no value as collectible items, but which still have a high value when sold by the ounce.
2. Silver Coins
In the United States, most pre-1960 coins were made of pure silver. These coins are often too worn to be of value to collectors. These coins can be bundled together and sold by the ounce as scrap silver. Some coins are extremely rare, and even in a very worn condition have a high value among collectors.
Make sure you research the significance and potential value of each coin before turning them in as scrap.