FAQ's About Recycled Metals

Frequently Asked Questions about Recycled Metals

1. Is buying recycled jewelry just the same as buying second hand jewelry? 
No. Recycled jewelry is made from precious metals that have been recycled from various sources such as scrap from jewelry manufacturing, unwanted jewelry, electronics, etc.

 2. Are recycled metals as good as new metals from a mine? 
Absolutely! When a metal is mined from the ground, the ore is chemically processed to purify the metal content to very high levels – typically 99.99%. Instead of digging the earth for ore, recycled metals are generated using scrap precious metals from various sources which are purified, through a refining process, to the same high level as mined precious metals. The “refined” pure metals from both the mine and the recycled source are of identical purity!

 3. You talk about recycled metals…where do new metals come from? 
New or virgin metals are typically mined from the earth. It takes literally tons of rock to yield just a few grams of pure precious metal.

4. How can I tell if a metal is recycled?
You can only tell if metal is recycled when the supplier of the metal has supplied recognized independent certification authenticating it.

5. Does it matter what type of process is used to refine and recycle metals?
Yes. You need to be safe and secure in the knowledge that the metal that makes up your jewelry has been refined using environmentally safe practices.

6. Why bother with recycled metals? What good will it do?
Recycled metals are very important. If we continue to use fresh mined metals, we are paying a huge environmental price. By using recycled metals, the “environmental bill” has already been paid.

7. Is precious metal mining always bad for the environment?
Precious metal mining requires digging up to mile wide holes in the earth, which displace animals and plants. Most mines use deadly chemicals in the mining process which impact animals humans and plant life. There are a few mines that have made strides on some levels but only certified “recycled precious metal” can be guaranteed not to have an impact on the environment.

8. What is argentium sterling?
To answer the question, it's important to know what traditional sterling silver is.  Sterling is 92.5% fine silver, and 7.5% copper; it's the copper that causes the tarnishing. Argentium sterling substitutes germanium, a white metal for a portion of the copper. Because it's still 92.5% fine silver, it's still called sterling, However, it has a high tarnish resistance, making it the perfect choice for the modern woman.

9. How does gold filled differ from gold plated?
Gold-plated jewelry has a smaller percentage of gold and goes through a different manufacturing process than gold-filled jewelry. To create gold-plated jewelry, a base metal goes through a series of processes and is eventually dipped into a bath of electroplating solution which contains gold. When an electric current is applied, an electrochemical reaction occurs and a thin layer of gold is deposited onto the metal. This layer is much thinner than the coating of gold that covers gold-filled jewelry, which goes through a process of mechanically bonding and heating the gold to the base metal.

While gold-filled components must include gold that is at least 1/20th the weight of the entire piece, gold-plated components can have gold that only makes up a very tiny percentage. As such, gold-plated jewelry items are more prone to tarnishing as well as having the thin layer of gold eventually rubbing off than similar products made from gold-filled. Because of the lower gold content, gold-plated items are generally less expensive than similar gold-filled products.