The MGS Precious Metals Blog

Manhattan Gold & Silver is an industry leader in precious metal pricing and refining with more than 30 years of experience. During our time in the business, we’ve found the topic of precious metals to be a vast and interesting one. Here on our precious metals blog, we write in-depth posts about the science of precious metal refining, historical and modern uses for precious metals, market news, and much more. Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay current, and discuss the latest posts on our Facebook page.

Michael Oistacher

Manhattan Gold & Silver has been a family business since 1985. So although Michael Oistacher officially became the Vice President in 2001, he's actually been a part of MGS his whole life. In addition to his experience with building client relations and handling the day-to-day operations of MGS,


Total posts: 681
Last post: September 17, 2019 07:00

School Jewelry Is Still a Thing: Class Ring Ideas

September 17, 2019 07:00
School Jewelry Is Still a Thing: Class Ring Ideas

If you don’t own a class ring, you likely know someone who has one. They’re usually big, gold and gaudy. But class rings aren’t about subtlety or style, they’re about symbolism: a relic from your high school days or evidence of academic achievement.

Class rings, however, don’t have to be garish.  In fact, you can get some really cool class ring ideas just by searching on the crafty online marketplace Etsy. You’ll see plenty of minimalist styles, like gold or silver square signet rings engraved with school crests. These styles are much more contemporary than their traditional counterparts.

That’s because school jewelry, although not as popular now as it once was, has morphed from the clichéd gemstone rings to class bands, tags, lockets and even bracelets. Class ring makers such as Jostens and Balfour specialize in all sorts of stylish mementos for high school students.

How did class rings become a thing, anyway?

The History of the Class Ring

The tradition of class rings dates back to the class of 1835 at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Administrators wanted to issue keepsakes to graduates to commemorate their West Point experience; a token to remind them of their shared values and ideals.

And so the class ring was born.

What better way to let everyone you come into contact with know you graduated from such a prestigious school? The idea caught on and soon, civilian schools adopted the practice too, including Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Dartmouth.

The prestige associated with class rings changed in the late 20th century. For one, they became more of a high school accessory than a college one. In the 1980s, the decade of pop culture, high school class rings were quite common—and not just for prominent prep school grads. They had morphed from a status symbol into one of unity and school spirit.

The Class Ring in the 21st Century

Are class rings destined to make the list of Things Millennials Are Killing? While old-school style rings may be losing their shine, new-school ones may keep the tradition alive. That’s because students are still interested in the idea behind the class ring: a symbol kinship and belonging.

Whether you’re buying a class ring for yourself or gifting one, choosing a style that will age gracefully matters. Here are some suggestions:

Cool Class Ring Ideas

Class it up. Opt for a simple band that's wide enough (10mm) for two lines of text. This gives you plenty of space for a small stone, school name, graduation year and a personal engraving. You can also pick your metals:

  • 14K Gold: 14K gold contains more pure gold--14 parts of the alloy is gold and 10 parts consists of non-gold metals. The higher percentage of gold in the alloy gives it a yellower color (learn about the different shades of gold and what types of metal are used to create those colors in our infographic).
  • 10K Gold: 10K gold is more affordable and contains 10 parts pure gold and 14 parts other metals, such as copper, zinc and silver. Since it contains less pure gold, it's actually harder than 14K gold.
  • Sterling Silver: True 925 sterling silver is made of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent metal alloy. If you're on a budget but want something real, sterling silver is a great option.

While class rings are traditionally worn on the middle finger of the right hand, why not get creative and wear one as a pendant? The goal is to pick or create a design that will age well.

If you already have a ring that you’ve outgrown (because it garish), you can always bring it in to us. If it’s gold, you can use our payout estimator to find out what it’s worth.

How to Sell Estate Bullion & Coins

September 10, 2019 07:00
How to Sell Estate Bullion & Coins

When people choose to invest in physical precious metals like gold bullion or silver coins, they’re often planning for the future--not just their own, but their family’s as well. In some cases, these investors plan to include precious metals as part of the estate they will pass down to their heirs. Unfortunately, although precious metals are extremely valuable, liquidating physical investments like bullion for their maximum value in legal tender can be easier said than done.

We understand how stressful it can be to deal with precious metal items inherited through an estate. Estimating the value of each item and finding buyers who will pay fairly for them can easily start to feel like a full-time job. When it comes to selling precious metals, honesty and integrity are at a premium. There is constant demand for precious metals--so how do you choose a buyer you can trust?

When it comes to buying estate pieces like bullion bars, coins, and jewelry, Manhattan Gold & Silver proudly stands apart from estate liquidators and other precious metal buyers. During our 30+ years in business, our one-on-one customer service and flexibility in handling lots of any size has built a substantial base of clients who keep coming back for our fast and fair transactions. No matter what types of precious metal items you need to sell, we offer each of our clients the following:

Experience you can trust – MGS has been family-owned and operated since 1985

Maximum melt value – Generally, most consumer scrap jewelry sells for 70-80% of the melt value for their precious metal content. At MGS, we’re proud to pay our clients 98-99% of their precious metal’s melt value as set daily by the London Fixing.

Transparency – Customers can watch their precious metal scrap go through the entire process of being weighed, melted, and tested

Customer Service – We maintain an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau

Speed – most transactions (even those from large estates) are processed and paid out the same day

Full ServiceWe also sell bullion for those who want to re-invest a portion of their payout

Flexibility – No lot is too large or too small. We buy almost everything containing gold, platinum, palladium, and silver (except for electronic devices and alluvial material). Some examples of items we accept from estate sales include:

  • Bullion bars and coins
  • Watches, chains, and jewelry--in ANY condition
  • Silver flatware
  • Sculptures, metalwork, and more

If you’re not sure of the precious metal content of items you have, we can find out for you! MGS has more than 30 years of experience testing items for precious metal content and purity. We also offer ultrasonic testingwhich is prefect for authenticating bullion and coins. The testimonials from our customers speak volumes, but allow us to prove it to you. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you with estate liquidation.

How Silver Is Used to Make Folding Phone Screens

August 21, 2019 07:00
How Silver Is Used to Make Folding Phone Screens

It's still early days for the technology, but it looks like folding touchscreen displays for TVs, smartphones, and other gadgets are going to be the next big thing in consumer electronics. Manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, Nokia, and others are still troubleshooting the best materials to use in flexible display technology – and silver definitely looks promising.

Touchscreen technology works by using tiny electrodes on the surface of the screen to receive input from a user's fingers. Currently, more than 90% of touchscreen electrodes are made with indium tin oxide (ITO). But in a flexible display designed to bend forward and backward repeatedly, the ITO electrodes crack – lowering image fidelity and causing the touchscreen to lose input sensitivity. Substituting ITO with a material that would be conducive to flexing without sacrificing electrical conductivity has been one of the challenges in designing a mass-market flexible display.

With its flexibility, conductivity, and formability, silver is a nearly perfect replacement for ITO in making the touch-sensitive electrodes in folding screens. But, there is one critical drawback: opacity. Similar to the struggles that solar panel designers have faced with silver wiring blocking incoming sunlight, the network of silver electrodes can block the display’s outgoing light – reducing the perceived color and sharpness of the image.

However, there may be a way to overcome silver’s opacity issues. In our next post, we’ll explain how some manufactures are planning to use silver metamaterial to bring flexible displays even closer to reality.

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