Precious Metal Precipitants Bring Jewelry To Life
Precious Metal Precipitants: Ever wonder what it takes to turn a piece of ore into a beautiful gold bracelet or sparkling silver ring?
The reality is there are quite a few steps involved in turning mined materials into useable, wearable works of art. One of the keys in the process involves working with precious metal precipitants to unlock the desirable metal from the ore itself.
From Ore To Gold, Platinum And Silver
When gold, silver and other precious metals are mined from the ground, the resulting ore is generally not considered pure. Other alloys, minerals and even earth itself might be trapped in the mix. In order to work the ore to its fullest advantage, precious metal precipitants and a refining process must be used.
Until a refining process has taken place with precious metal precipitants used to separate out the gold, for example, creating necklaces, rings and even bars from the ore is not possible. A number of different precious metal precipitants have been used through the years to extract the desired metal from different ores.
Using Quicksilver / Mercury / Cyanide
Perhaps the most commonly used of all the precious metal precipitants through the years has been quicksilver, or mercury. This is considered a useful substance in a number of different refining processes.
In the case of gold, mercury has been used for centuries. In fact, it is one of the most effective precious metal precipitants, but not always the safest. The process of using quicksilver as a precious metal precipitant involves what is called amalgamation.
In order to obtain pure gold, quicksilver is added to crushed ore. The quicksilver then causes the gold to liquefy. The resulting muck, which is known as amalgam, is then heated. During the heating process, the quicksilver evaporates and pure gold is left behind. A similar process is also used to separate silver ore, as well.
While quicksilver might be one of the oldest known precious metal precipitants, it is not considered the most safe to use. Its fumes can be highly toxic. The high toxicity levels found in quicksilver have paved the road for other refining processes to be born.
Another process that can be used to separate out gold from ore involves the use of cyanide as the precious metal precipitant. In this process, the ore is crushed, ground and then treated with a cyanide solution to obtain the pure, precious metal.
Modern Day Refining Methods
The three main refining processes used today are called electrolytic, aqua regia and chlorination.
The chlorination process involves the use of chlorine with melted bullion in a special furnace. The chlorine gas reacts with the precious metal, such as silver, to form bubbles that rise to the surface. These are removed for further processing. In electrolytic processing gold bullion, for example, is dissolved in a chloride solution to separate out the precious metal.
In the aqua regia method, silver, for example, is dissolved in aqua regia and is precipitated in the form of silver chloride. Gold is precipitated in a powder form, which can then be melted for use. Aqua regia is the name of a special, and highly corrosive, mix of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid.
Unlocking gold, silver and other precious metals from their root ores involves some serious chemistry. Although the processes used today are considered safer than older methods, the truth is there is a great deal involved in creating products from gold and silver.
From the mining and processing to the actual jewelry crafting, there are tedious, delicate steps all along the path.
We Buy Gold, Platinum And Silver In Any Condition Canada Wide.
If you’re thinking of selling your unwanted gold, platinum or silver remember we buy gold and precious metals Canada wide including:
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