Cupcakes for Cancer 2013 is Coming Soon!

Our 3rd annual Cupcakes for Cancer event is fast approaching! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so to show our support Manhattan Gold & Silver will partner with Kaff’s Bakery to hold this year’s fundraiser.

From Oct. 7-11, the MGS storefront will be stocked with fresh-baked, 100% kosher cupcakes from Kaff’s Bakery. Cupcakes will be $5 minimum, but patrons are free to pay an additional amount as a donation. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from cupcake sales will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Details for the event are still being finalized, so please stay tuned – we want to sell as many cupcakes as possible! Connect with us on social media or use our contact page to make sure you don’t miss any details about Cupcakes for Cancer 2013 and our fundraising progress. We hope to see you there!

Avedis Zildjian – The Alchemist

Manhattan Gold & Silver has been refining gold in New York’s Diamond District for more than 30 years. We got our start with gold before expanding into the other precious metals. And while 30+ years is a respectable amount of time for maintaining a business, we tip our hat to others who have been at it for longer – such as the Avedis Zildjian Company, which has been around for more than 400 years! While they don’t deal with gold any longer, that’s how they got their start back in 1623.

The company was started by Armenian alchemist, Avedis. In his quest for a metallurgical formula to transform base metals into gold, Avedis instead created a proprietary alloy of copper, tin, and silver. It wasn’t gold (although it does look similar), but it did have novel properties. Notably, a sheet of this alloy could be struck repeatedly to make distinctly booming noises without cracking or shattering the sheet. Thanks to Avedis’ alchemy studies, cymbals were invented.

Sultan Osman II was so impressed with Avedis’ work that he gave him the name Zildjian (made from the Turkish words “zil” and “dji” – which translate to cymbal and maker/seller, respectively. “Ian” was a common surname at the time). Avedis Zildjian’s cymbals were famously used by the Ottoman army to strike fear into its enemies.

The manufacturing process for Zildjian’s alloy has remained a closely guarded family secret for generations. However, musicians (and millions of fans) have enjoyed Zildjian’s cymbals since the company started producing drum kit accessories in the 19th century. With any luck, our family-owned business will be up and running for just as long!

Water and the Gold Mining Process

Since gold’s discovery, water has been a key tool in gold mining operations of all shapes and sizes. One of the best examples of this is gold panning – the oldest method of gold mining, which is still favored by individual prospectors and hobbyists. When a placer deposit of gold ore is found in a river bed, the gravel from the deposit is scooped up into a pan and carefully swirled around with water from the river. The swirling action of the water causes lighter particles, like sediment or non-precious minerals, to spill out of the pan. Meanwhile, heavier particles, like gold, remain in the center.

Just as in gold panning, other forms of mining use water to separate gold from undesirable materials. However, the methods of using water to do this vary considerably. Another ancient gold mining technique called “Hushing” is a great example. When prospectors could confirm that a hillside had veins of gold in it, they would build a massive reservoir at the top of the hill and use aqueducts to fill it with water. Once the reservoir was full, they would release all of the water at once to create an enormous wave that would erode the side of the mountain and reveal the veins of ore. As the veins were mined, they could fill the reservoir again to clear the veins of any dirt or rocks that had built up.

The Roman Empire found hushing to be particularly effective in their mining operations (after all, those solidus coins had to come from somewhere!). Hushing was also used during the California Gold Rush, where it evolved into hydraulic mining. In hydraulic mining, the basic principles are the same as hushing. Except instead of building a reservoir to contain the water, water-sources were diverted into high-pressure streams, then into canvass hoses that allowed miners to blast hillside gravel into large-scale sluice boxes.

Using water on an ever increasing scale lead to a lot of erosion problems in the Sacramento Valley, so such mining techniques are now heavily regulated, giving way for more popular chemical mining techniques. But, water is still great for small scale operations and gold panning.