Warning: Much of this article contains explanations for how silver is melted down in an industrial setting. If you are looking to melt down your silver at home, you’ll want to first seek guidance from a professional that is qualified to help you with your scrap silver needs. Be sure that you don’t use this article as a guide that will qualify you to melt down your own silver simply by reading it.
Silver is one of our most precious commodities, but it certainly isn’t our rarest. Silver ranks as one of the most common of the precious metals – much more common than gold and platinum – and subsequently we use it more in our daily lives; on cuff links, on jewelry, and even in our mouths when we use silverware.
As a precious commodity, silver has an innate value that can be sold at almost any time for an excellent price. Silver is also a commodity that helps to stabilize markets and help people make solid long-term investments. So it makes sense that you would want to know how to handle your own silver supply, including how to sell it.
If you’re looking at how to melt down your own silver, this article will explain what’s needed. But once again it is strongly recommended that you don’t begin melting your own silver until you are sure that everything you are doing is legal, safe, and well-studied.
Elements to Melting Down Silver
First, people who melt down silver have to be sure that they have all of the ingredients necessary to ensure a safe melting down of the metal.
A Strong Enough Heat Source
One of the most elemental things you will need to melt down silver is, of course, a source of heat. But how much heat do you need?
Pure silver has a melting point of approximately 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a little higher than cooking your average pizza, to say the least. Do you have a safe way to produce this kind of heat, and a safe place to put that heat?
Also, if you are not melting down pure silver, keep in mind that the melting point for your metal might differ in range.
A crucible is simply a container that won’t melt under the high heat conditions, allowing the silver to melt without spilling anywhere when it’s in its liquid form.
If you are unsure where to find an adequate crucible for silver, be sure to ask those who know about the intricacies of melting down silver before doing any research on your own.
Tools for Handling the Crucible
You’ll want a set of tongs or similarly-appropriate tool for moving the crucible if you need to pour your silver. You’ll also want some sort of heat-resistant material that you can wipe the crucible with – safely.
Safety Equipment and Common Sense
Do this in a non-flammable area, where no one will be put in any danger. You’ll also want all of the safety equipment: goggles, gloves, a heavy apron, a face shield, etc. Remember that you’re not talking about burning your finger on a stove – you’re working with super-hot silver.
Dangers of Melting Down Silver at Home
If you keep up-to-date on the safety and ask the right people about melting down silver (and making sure you don’t violate any local ordinances or laws), then you should still be aware of the dangers of melting down silver. The first danger is obvious: working with heat. You’ll want to keep your body distant from the silver at all times, even when using the tongs to move the crucible. Don’t think that just because you have clothes on keeps you protected. Protect your eyes, face, and hands especially, but keep your entire body protected.
Next, don’t work in any flammable areas, since you’ll be working with fire and heat. This seems like an obvious point, but it is worth repeating because of many people who forget that flammable objects might be nearby.
Also, know what you’re doing ahead of time in order to avoid any mishaps. You’ll have to make sure you have every step planned out, and if possible, work with professionals to ensure that you’re doing it right. Have them show and guide you exactly about how the process works and you’ll learn much more about silver, precious metals, and metal safety than you could by reading any books.
Precious metal brokers will also be able to take silver off of your hands for melting down, so be sure to sell any scrap silver you have to them before undertaking anything dangerous.