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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.

Is Refining Gold at Home a Good Idea?

June 12, 2018 07:00
Is Refining Gold at Home a Good Idea?

There’s nothing like a good DIY project. Whether you’re recreating a gourmet meal or installing backsplash tile, it feels good to accomplish something new on your own (even if you did have a little help from YouTube). But there are some feats that really shouldn’t be tried at home, one of which is gold refining. 

For the untrained refiner, it may not yield the desired result and it can even potentially be dangerous.

Read on to find out why you should avoid refining gold at home — and bring it in to a trained professional instead.


Accuracy of Testing

One of the reasons someone might test their precious metals at home is to ensure a fair payout before going to a refinery. However, many of the tests (or “assays”) we perform to assess the value of your precious metals involve top-of-the-line equipment, which can’t be replicated with an at-home kit. There are also some assays that involve hazardous materials, such as acid testing.

Additionally, not all assays are practical for your lot, depending upon its size and your desired turnaround time. That’s why we look at the whole picture to choose the best method.

Some of the assays we perform include:


  • Hand testing gold (acid test) First, the items are carefully inspected. Then a piece of the metal is scratched against a basalt stone, which leaves a mark on the stone. Finally, certain strengths of nitric acid are applied to the mark, which causes a reaction. By measuring the reaction, we can accurately measure the purity of the precious metal and give you a fair payout right away.

  • Fire The most accurate method, fire assays involve taking a sample, melting it, and mixing it with lead oxide and a few control chemicals to determine its purity. You’ll typically receive your purity results a day or so later. 


  • X-ray Fluorescence (X-RF) Like most X-rays, this test can be completed in a matter of minutes. We also operate two X-RF machines so we’re able to determine your results quickly, even if we’re assisting multiple clients.
  • Ultrasound In this assay, a special machine sends an ultrasonic pulse through a sample and measures the frequency for changes. This allows us to determine if an item is precious metal-plated without damaging it.

After we’ve tested your items, we’ll provide you with a quote before proceeding with the precious metal recycling process.

High Melting Temperatures


Safety is another reason why we don’t advise refining gold at home — or any other precious metal for that matter. To melt platinum, for example, we use a 35-kilowatt induction furnace that can reach upward of 3,200°F. 

Our team members have to wear welding glasses just to safely look at the molten metal when it’s in the crucible (a container in which metals are melted). That level of heat would be difficult — and dangerous — to recreate at home.

The Pay Off of Going to an Expert

MGS pays up to 99 percent of the melt value of your precious metals, according to the daily London Fixing. You can also choose how you’d like to receive your payment: cash, check, wired funds, or even gold bullion. Payouts are often made the same day your lot is processed.

To get a free quote, use our online payout estimator or stop by in-person to watch the whole process take place.

Real or Fake: How to Buy Certified Gold Bullion Bars

March 27, 2018 07:00
Real or Fake: How to Buy Certified Gold Bullion Bars

Gold tends to do well during times of economic uncertainty. In early 2016, for example, the S&P 500 was down more than 9 percent. Meanwhile, gold saw a 10 percent increase year-to-date and hit a four-month high of nearly $1,200 per ounce. Historically, any time people worried about inflation or a fragmented financial system, they turned to gold as a fallback plan.

However, gold isn’t just a “Doomsday” investment. In fact, gold bars are the original unit of investment. They started to appear in their standardized form in the 18th Century. During the early Victorian period, the Bank of England began to set size and purity requirements.

Today, gold bars are still produced and sold across the globe. They’re easy to store, transport or liquidate. But just as the reasons to buy or sell them are plentiful, so are the forgeries.

These three considerations can help you find the real deal.

Good Delivery Gold Bars

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) sets the benchmark for acceptable gold and silver bars. These rules and regulations help to establish quality control in production worldwide. Gold bars that meet these standards are called “Good Delivery” gold bars. Some of the specifications include weight, dimensions, fineness, and marks. Unlike bullion coins, “Good Delivery” bars don’t command any premium pricing for the owner, but they are highly regarded in the investment world. However, their large size often makes them too costly for the average consumer to purchase. Many producers also don’t sell to the public.

Spotting a Fake

Gold bars come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are typically sold by private companies or their vendors. In areas with high international traffic, you can even find gold bars being sold from vending machines. But not everything that glitters is gold. Fake bars are often made from copper and then plated with precious metal, nickel or alloy. A few years ago, PAMP® — a bullion brand in Switzerland — discovered that counterfeit PAMP Fortuna® 2.5 g minted bars were being sold globally through auction websites. How can you spot a fake? It’s not always easy to tell. For that reason, you might want to consider having it assayed for authenticity.

MGS Gold Bars

Manhattan Gold & Silver (MGS) sells its own branded 1 ozt. gold bullion bars. Our 999.9 fine bars are certified with the Swiss assayer’s mark. For authentication purposes, they’re also labeled with a serial number and QR code. Clients can either buy our gold bars outright at wholesale prices or receive them as payment for their recycled precious metals. It’s the only place in the Diamond District where you can walk in with precious metal scrap and walk out with investable gold bullion.

How to Find a Reputable Gold Refinery

March 20, 2018 07:00
How to Find a Reputable Gold Refinery

Many of our clients run businesses themselves. They’re jewelers, pawnbrokers, and dentists, to name a few. As business owners, they, naturally, want to work with a gold refinery that will pay top dollar for their lots.

At Manhattan Gold & Silver (MGS), we pay up to 99 percent of the melt value of your precious metals, according to the daily London Fixing. But we also know that there’s something even more valuable than high payouts — integrity. What good is the promise of a high payout if it’s never actually received?

To find a gold refinery that really delivers, look for these key attributes.

Longevity

You don’t want to be a gold refiner’s first client. A quick search online can tell you how long a company has been in business — and what others have to say about it. You can also check Better Business Bureau to find out if anyone has filed a complaint or if the company has filed for bankruptcy.

Turnaround Time

Most refineries don’t just process gold. They work with other metals, too, such as silver, platinum, and palladium. Depending on the material, the refining process can take days or weeks to complete. Platinum, for example, can often take longer than other metals, due to its complexity. When you get an estimate for your lot, always ask when the payment will be received.

At MGS, we often process payments the same day the lot is received.

Transparency

A reputable refinery doesn’t do business behind a magic red curtain. It’s transparent about its policies, payments and process.

Our process is simple:

  1. We estimate the value of your lot.
  2. You receive the payout estimate, deliver your lot to us (in person or by mail), and we handle the rest.
  3. We assay, or test, your lot to determine its value.
  4. We pay you (typically the same day the lot is received).

We also specialize in several types of assays to ensure that you’re getting paid accurately. If you have time, you’re also welcome to watch the entire process.

Watch the video above to see us in action or request a free quote.

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