The first time I heard this, I was shocked! Then it was endless stories of pawn owner’s explaining how refiners didn’t find their platinum. So let’s talk about this elusive metal.
To start, sneaking metal into your refining lot is never a good idea, especially platinum group metals. The first, and most important reason is if the refiner is expecting gold and silver, a fire assay is done on your material to assess value.
Important fact, small amounts of platinum group metals will not be easily recognized using fire assay. When your refiner knows to look for platinum group metals, an ICP analysis will be done. ICP, or Inductively Coupled Plasma, can give a detailed analysis of your lot down to parts per million.
Why don’t refiners conduct ICP analysis on every lot?
The reason is because it’s expensive and given the competitive nature of our business, and our company’s desire to put more in your pocket, fire assay is the most accurate and cost effective way of determining gold and silver content in a refining lot.
What if I don’t have enough platinum for a separate refining lot? I hear this almost every day when discussing platinum jewelry scrap. Here at Glines & Rhodes, we offer a buy program where we’ll purchase individual pieces of platinum jewelry that fall below our lot minimum of 10 Troy OZ.
Should I add the platinum jewelry to my karat gold refining lot?
This is where things get complicated! Platinum, and platinum group metals (platinum, palladium, rhodium and iridium) are very complex. What makes these elements so unique is they are inert. Platinum group metals are commonly used in implantable medical devices because their inert properties meaning they won’t react with the human body causing an allergic reaction.
We’ve all heard of people getting a rash from their gold jewelry that will never happen with platinum isn’t that cool? The uncool part is these properties that make them lifesaving tools means refiners have to use intricate chemistries to effectively separate the elements.
Again, should I add platinum to my karat gold to my refining lot?
Because refiners have to use additional processes to separate these elements from gold and silver, means it comes at a cost. So you may have to decide if it’s better to sell individual pieces of platinum jewelry or potentially have a lower gold accountability or an increased treatment charge.
The best thing to do is be honest with your refiner and trust they’re going to give you the best options, which results in putting the most money in your pocket. At Glines and Rhodes, we’ve been in business for 103 years, with over a century of refining experiences we’ve realized the importance of being flexible and finding the best options for our customers no matter how difficult their metal mix may be.
Platinum Fun Facts:
Atomic Symbol PT – Atomic Number 78 – Melting Point: 3214.9 Degrees Fahrenheit
Most Common Use – Catalyzing material to refine crude oil into petroleum
The first known Platinum Material was used to decorate the Casket of Thebes, an ancient Egyptian Tomb that dates back to about 700bc. Then, in 1801, Englishman William Wollaston discovered a method of effectively extracting the metal from Ore, which is very similar to the process used today.