PO Box 1432
Ann Arbor, MI, 48106



Refining Tips for Jewelers Part 1.

Getting More from your Refining

Refining is an important part of the jewelry industry; recycling precious metals is a great way to cut costs. It just doesn’t make sense for businesses to leave precious metals lying around. The question is: does your business make the most out of its precious metal scraps or is it leaving money on the bench and workshop floor? G&S Metals and Refiners would like to share some tips with our customers to help you increase your refining efficiency.

The Scrap Breakdown

An efficient program for managing your precious metal scraps starts with separating your scrap, this helps you and your refiner have a better idea of what yield to expect from your refining. G&S recommends that you separate your scrap into the following four general categories. Next month we’ll give tips on more ways to separate your scrap, so you and your refiner know what to expect with your refining batches.

Karat ScrapRefining_Container_Full

Large pieces of metal that are easy to collect and store. Most of which can be either reused or easily sent to your G&S Metals for refining. Karat scrap ranges from the oddly shaped silver sheet just too small to do anything with, to the quarter inch of gold wire left over from your last project, all the way to completed jewelry pieces.

Bench Sweeps

Cuttings, grindings, filings- bench sweeps are higher grade than floor sweeps; containing more precious metals that are more easily refined. We suggest keeping your bench sweeps in a separate container from lower grade material, it can really help improve your scrap metal management. It may seem like a hassle, but with the high returns we typically see from bench sweeps, regularly sweeping your lap tray as well as your bench is a great habit to get into.

Floor Sweeps

This branch of scrap metal is low yield material; collected in filters, floor mats, rags, compounds, and other debris that may have some gold or other precious metals mixed in. Floor sweeps require refiners to undergo a more involved process to extract the precious metals hidden amidst non-precious debris; which results in longer refining times than even bench sweeps. At G&S we’ve even seen precious metal returns from the old carpeting in a jeweler’s workshop.


The fourth general category of scrap is the sludge; gunk that collects in sink traps, wastewater treatment systems, ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, and other locations. If you don’t have a sink trap, you should consider getting one- as you may be literally washing money down the drain without one.

Being more conscious of scrap metal, and keeping track of it like you do your other inventoried items can go a long way to increasing your efficiency- through lowering costs by preventing scrap from being tossed away or flushed down a sink. We’re not saying you need to stock up on disposable booties for the area around your bench- but if you do you should throw the booties in with your floor sweeps.

Next month we’ll provide even more tips for scrap metal management.