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How MGS Safely & Quickly Removes Gemstones from Scrap Jewelry

Here at MGS, we specialize in buying large lots of precious metal scrap from other businesses. Since our location is in New York’s famous Diamond District, we commonly get piles of old or broken jewelry from local pawnbrokers and jewelers. Any gemstones in these types of lots must be separated from the metals – but manually removing each gemstone from its setting is extremely time consuming and poses the risk of chipped, cracked, or lost stones. Fortunately, we can use a chemical process to remove gemstones safely and quickly.

Chemical gemstone removal should only be done by professionals – it requires a regulated environment and involves hazardous chemicals. That said, we can safely remove gemstones by soaking the jewelry in aqua regia. Aqua regia is a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Individually, these acids don’t affect precious metals like gold. But in combination, each acid performs a different task to dissolve the metal. Basically, the nitric acid frees up some gold ions and the hydrochloric acid produces chloride ions. The gold ions and chloride ions react with each other to oxidize the solid gold into chloroauric acid. With the exception of organic non-minerals like opals and pearls, aqua regia doesn’t affect gemstones.

Once all the metal has dissolved, the gemstones are then filtered out of the solution, sorted, and returned to you in pristine condition. Meanwhile, we precipitate the precious metals out of the acid solution and refine them into bars. Depending on the size of your lot, we can remove your gemstones and have your payout ready in only 5-10 business days. If you have any questions about our gemstone removal process or refinery services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.  

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