September 1, 2014 | In: Sell My Gold

An Inside Look at How the Pros Test the Real Value of Precious Metals

An Inside Look at How the Pros Test the Real Value of Precious MetalsWe all know that not all precious metals or pieces of scrap are created equal. The trick to making a profit off of metals or old electronics is understanding what determines the ‘value’ of an item. Your average person is not 100% sure how to pull this off; the best they can often do is make an educated guess based on outside factors. As an example of how people estimate the value of goods is the current rise in bargain hunters who will visit stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army, looking for items they can repurpose or sell. You’ll notice that these folks don’t sweep everything off the shelves into a bag; instead, they guess at what’s valuable and what’s not. Sometimes we check our own basements and attics for old antiques or electronics and look to see if there are any signs of hidden value. If you’ve ever watched the show Antiques Roadshow, you’re probably aware of how reliable the average person’s perception of value is. On Antiques Roadshow, people bring items that they think have a shot of being valuable in front of expert appraisers, who tell them the real history and cost of those items. Countless people have been disappointed that their “priceless” antiques were actually mass produced and worth pennies, while many others have been shocked and delighted that an old painting or set of earrings in a relative’s attic are worth millions. So if you’re thinking “I want to sell my gold, but how do I know whether I’ll get a good deal?”, it’s time to turn to the experts.A refining company and their staff have foolproof ways to tell the real cost of an item, guaranteed. By using specialized equipment, the professionals can test the real value of precious metals and electronic scrap. Curious as to how? We give you an inside look at the details.

Starting Off: The First Steps That Refining Companies Take to Evaluate

So you’ve looked at your excess antiques, items, or goods and decided “I want to sell my gold!” Here’s how the process of judging its value begins. First of all, you present the refining company with your gold. There are two ways you can do this:

1) Walk into the refining company’s headquarters or one of their approved buyers. This allows you to physically drop off the metals so they can be properly weighed and assessed.

2) Use a mail-in program to sell your gold. This method is much more convenient, and if you use insurance then you dramatically reduce the risk of mailing in.

Once the items have arrived at the refining company, they will evaluate the material right there. The process takes a couple of days to ensure that everything goes off without a hitch. The material is sorted into appropriate categories – obviously scrap will be separated from metals, and metals will be sorted into gold, silver, platinum and so on. Then the material is “graded” based off its karats. The categories are weighed and documented. If they aren’t sure about the karats or the quality of the metal, they go through one of these three tests.

The Acid and Touchstone Kit Test

You may be interested in selling your gold, but first it’ll have to go through the touchstone method. You definitely want the pros to handle this test, as it requires acid. Here’s how it works: 24k gold will resist all but the strongest acids, as it is pure gold. Lower quality metals that have been diluted and mixed with other materials, on the other hand, will react much more violently to an acid bath. For touchstone testing, experts set up a well ventilated area with an acid testing kit, glass beakers, water, baking soda, abrasive paper and safety goggles, and of course protective gear. They make a notch in the item and look for fresh metal. Then, they test the gold with acid. If it turns a bright, vivid green, that means the “gold” is a baser metal. If the gold passes these tests, the various needles and acids are used to test the exact karats, and the value is deduced from there.

The Conductivity Test

The conductivity test is used for your electronic scrap to separate the metals from consumer electronic scrap. When you turn in an old gaming console or computer tower, the pros are looking to see how many valuable pieces of scrap they can pull away. The conductivity test gives them this answer. Electrical currents separate the metals and push them apart due to magnetism. This test reveals how much metal scrap can be saved and how much has to go in the trash, which shows the true value of your old electronics.

The X-Ray Fluorescence Test

“If I sell my gold, will it always go through the acid and touchstone test?” You might be wondering. The answer is no, because there’s another way of testing precious metals: the x-ray fluorescence test. This is exactly how it sounds: they test metals by looking within and seeing its contents. Just like a doctor looks at your bones to make sure you’re growing up healthy or that your injury is healing well, the pros will use x-rays to see the true value of your gold.

Every year, countless Canadians decide “it’s time to sell my gold!” Chances are you might be among them. If so, you don’t have to worry about figuring out the true value of your gold or scrap. The experts at a refining company will do it for you. They will take the steps above to asses your gold and make a decision for you. The stress will be off your shoulders and you’ll be able to wait for your offer and cheque in the mail. Good luck!

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