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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.

Who Buys Dental Gold?

October 29, 2019 08:00
Who Buys Dental Gold?

While the use of precious metals in dental restorations has been on the decline due to newer and improved dental technologies, dental gold and other precious metals still accumulate quickly in dental offices. According to DentistryIQ, many restorations with metal placed over the past decades are now reaching their life expectancy and need to be replaced, keeping dentists busy. That’s why many dental professionals recycle dental gold and other filler metals such as silver, platinum and palladium.

Who buys dental gold? Precious metal refineries with on-site labs do, like Manhattan Gold & Silver, for example. Dental professionals simply bring or ship their dental scrap to our refinery, where we assay it to determine its precious metal content. The payout is based on the dental scrap's market value the day it is evaluated.

Materials Used in Dentistry

Common materials used in dentistry include gold, porcelain, silver amalgam or composite (white) resin. Gold, however, is still the strongest and longest lasting material dentists can use. Like teeth, gold is durable but also malleable, which makes it an ideal metal for use in a crowns, caps and fillings. Gold is also ideal for dental applications because it is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Other precious metals used in dentistry include platinum and palladium. The main drawback to these alloys is their metallic color, which is why metal crowns are generally relegated to back molars. So how do these precious metals, including gold, end up as dental scrap?

What Is Dental Scrap?

Dental scrap is any type of prosthetic that contains precious metals, such as crowns, but may also include:

  • Onlays and inlays
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and bridges
  • Fillings
  • Implants
  • Caps
  • Dental grindings

When a patient needs a crown or bridge removed, these dental restorations essentially become dental scrap. Dental professionals generate plenty of dental scrap through extractions and other procedures. The rise in value of precious metals, has made dental scrap even more profitable lately.

However, not all dental scrap is recyclable. Substances like amalgam are actually made up of a mixture of materials that can include toxic mercury, silver, zinc, tin and copper and must adhere to strict guidelines for collection and disposal. The metal component of partial dentures, which is generally made out of base metal, is also not valuable.

It’s difficult to determine the material and value of any dental scrap without an assay and evaluation, which is why it’s important to work with a reputable refinery.

Who Buys Dental Gold?

At Manhattan Gold & Silver, the recycling process begins when a client brings us dental scrap to be recycled. We melt down dental scrap into a bar and determine its precious metals content with an assay. The fire assay process has been practiced for centuries to determine the weight of precious metals including gold, silver and platinum. Compared to other determining techniques, like X-ray assays, fire assays are the most precise because other impurities are “burned” off, leaving only the purest of metals. It is the most accurate way to test the purity of gold.

The Benefits of Recycling Dental Gold

For dental professionals, the main benefit of recycling dental gold is financial. Recycling dental scrap can help offset overhead costs and boost profits. The second is environmental. Recycling dental scrap helps reduce the amount of resources spent on mining unique materials. Manhattan Gold & Silver is equipped to handle dental scrap of any size and mix. Our expertise makes dental scrap refining simple and profitable for our dental clients. We can quickly and easily refine dental scrap and pay out the maximum value based on the current market rate, as determined by the London Fixing.

Want to optimize your practice and recycle dental gold and alloys with Manhattan Gold & Silver? Create an account to get started today or contact us directly for price quotes.

Is the Earth Running Out of Gold?

October 22, 2019 08:00
Is the Earth Running Out of Gold?

While the concept of the Earth running out of gold may seem farfetched, it’s actually not. Let’s consider how it got here to begin with.

Where Gold Comes From

One theory many scientists believe is that precious metals, including gold, crash landed on Earth via meteorites that bombarded the planet more than 200 million years after its formation. When molten iron sank to the Earth’s center to form the core, it took most of the planet's precious metals (and gold) along with it. Hot water trapped deep inside the Earth eventually cracked the planet’s solid-rock layer, releasing quartz-and-gold-filled veins.

That’s what makes the gold mining process so challenging. Gold located close to the surface can be extracted using open-pit mining techniques, while gold that’s located farther below the surface is excavated with underground mining methods. Areas where gold is concentrated enough to be mined profitably are far less common.

What Makes Gold a Precious Metal?

Well-known precious metals include silver, palladium, platinum and the most distinguishable one, gold. For a metal to be considered precious, it must be:

  • Rare – A metal must be more difficult to find than other types of metals.
  • Valuable – A precious metal’s rarity should give it economic value as an investment, art, jewelry and a commodity.
  • Naturally occurring – Precious metals must be naturally-occurring compounds that can found on the periodic table of elements.

Let’s look at gold, more specifically. Unlike diamonds and other gems, gold can’t be artificially produced. It isn’t formed on this planet but exists in its natural state contained within the Earth’s crust. It’s what makes it rare. According to Gold.org, if we melted down all the gold ever mined throughout history (approximately 190,000 tons), it would result in a cube of pure gold that would measure roughly 68 feet on each side.

Running out of Gold

Since the planet has a finite supply of gold, running out of the natural resource is conceivable. According to US Geological Survey estimates, there is only about 52,000 tons of mineable gold still in the ground. Global gold mining, however, adds about 2,500-3,000 tons to the overall above-ground stock of gold each year. By those estimates, there may be only about 17 more years of underground gold left to mine.

Things, however, aren’t that simple. Gold reserves, for example, have remained unchanged since 1995—despite the mining of 2,500 tons of gold each year. That’s because new discoveries and old mine developments are keeping pace with current mine production.

If the thought of running out of gold is still unnerving, consider this: gold can be recycled. That’s why we can’t run out of gold like we would a non-renewable resource, like oil. If gold mines were to tap out the Earth’s natural supply, the gold industry would simply transition from mining to recycling.

Recycling Gold

Fortunately, we haven’t run out of gold yet. But why wait to start recycling? Because gold is so stable and valuable, it can be recycled with no degradation in quality and repurposed without the need for new mining.

According to the World Gold Council, at least 15 percent of the annual gold consumption is from recycled gold. In fact, if the world recycled less than 3 percent of the existing gold supplies, it could satisfy most of the global demand. Jewelers who sell their gold scrap contribute to the large amount of gold that re-enters the market each year via precious metal recycling.

Finding an Experienced Gold Refiner

Since 1985, businesses from all over the world have come to Manhattan Gold & Silver to sell their scrap gold lots. Scrap gold buyers are critical to the gold supply chain. About 1,000 tons of gold are recycled each year to meet annual market demands, which is higher than what is produced through mining alone.

If you’re selling your gold lot or any other kind of precious metal, contact us and learn how our refining services can put revenue back into your business. Gold, mining, gold recycling

What's Behind the Demand for Silver?

October 15, 2019 07:00
What's Behind the Demand for Silver?

It’s hard to imagine there was a time when silver hit $49 per ounce. While the white metal hasn’t climbed that high since April 2011, there has been some speculation silver could rise past $20 per ounce in 2019. What exactly determines the price of silver? One factor, like most commodities, is supply and demand.

Most silver mines aren’t profitable when silver prices drop below $20—where they have been for some time. As a result, a number of silver companies have had to put their mines in maintenance mode or halt mine expansion altogether. This has caused a decrease in global silver production.

Meanwhile, the Silver Institute reports global silver demand rose 4 percent to 1 billion ounces in 2018--the first time demand has risen year-over-year since 2015. The demand, coupled with a decrease in supply, has caused prices to rise.

When it comes to silver, what is creating the demand? Silver is used in investments, jewelry, and electrical applications, to name a few. Here are some of the top applications for silver:

Silver in Electronics

Silver is highly reliable and durable. In the electrical field, silver is often used in the form of silver paste. Its electrical conductivity makes it an ideal choice for electronics such as:

  • Printed circuit boards
  • TV screens
  • Phones
  • Microwave ovens
  • Keyboards

Consumer demand for electronics isn’t likely to decrease anytime soon.

Silver in Energy

Because it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals, silver is vital for the manufacturing of solar panels.

In solar cells, silver powder gets turned into a paste that contains silver particles, which is then loaded onto a silicon wafer. When light strikes the silicon, electrons are set into motion, initiating a flow of electricity for either immediate use or to be stored in batteries.

Many experts estimate that solar power could become the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, which could have an impact on the global price of silver.

Silver in Medicine

Silver has been used as an antimicrobial agent by civilizations for thousands of years. And did you know ship captains used to toss silver coins into storage barrels to keep drinking water fresh?

In hospitals today, silver is used in bandages to treat burn victims and destroy pathogenic microbes on catheters. Coating medical equipment with small amounts of silver has also shown to prevent the spread of pathogens.

Its antibiotic property is what has given silver a vital role in medicine. The presence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs has only increased the demand for silver.

Silver in Silverware and Jewelry

Silver cutlery and rings date back to the 14th Century. Although it can tarnish, silver is less costly than gold, making it a standard choice. It also resists oxidation and corrosion.

Because it’s pliable, silver is also easy to hammer and mold into different forms and shapes. The Silver Institute predicts silver jewelry will remain the most popular alternative to gold in the United States, with demand expected to grow in 2019.

Other Silver Uses

Other uses for silver include:

  • Awards and medals
  • Photography
  • Mirrors and glass
  • Chemical production
  • Coins and investments

Thinking of investing in silver? Viewing the silver price history can help you to better understand the market surrounding this precious metal. Our customizable silver price charts provides records of silver price history based on fixings published by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).

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