Man has used silver and gold to make coins and bullion for generations. You can find examples of gold and silver coinage in museums around the world. The U.S. used silver to make dimes, quarters and half-dollars that were 90 per cent silver and 10 per cent copper until 1965. From 1965 until 1969, the U.S. minted half-dollars that contained 40 per cent silver. The U.S. no longer mints coins made with silver for circulation. Instead, since 1986, the U.S. has minted one-dollar silver coins called "Silver Eagles" that are sold as an affordable investment. Silver Eagles contain one troy ounce of 99.9 per cent silver. Silver bullion in the form of coins, bars or ingots continues to be popular for investment.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sterling silver dishes
- Jewellery saw & blades or bench shear
- Borax flux
- Bullion mould
Gather the sterling silver dishes you want to melt. Sterling silver is at least 92.5 per cent silver; the remainder is an alloy (usually copper). United States law mandates that items sold as sterling silver be stamped "925," "sterling," or "925/1000."
Wash the sterling silver with acetone and rinse with distilled water.
Cut the sterling silver dishes into very small pieces using your jewellery saw or bench shear. Separate and remove all stainless steel and weighted fillers (such as wax, cement, plaster, support rods or glass) from the sterling silver dishes.
Refine the sterling silver until it is at least 99.5 per cent pure silver. Most silver bullion sold or held for investment purposes is almost pure silver. Send the scrap sterling out to a refinery if you do not have the tools to refine the sterling silver. Skip this step if you want to create sterling silver coin, bar or ingot.
Prepare a large crucible with flux. Allow the flux to dry. Fill the crucible with sterling silver pieces until the crucible is about two-thirds full.
Melt the sterling silver or refined silver pieces with one or two torches until you have a molten liquid.
Pour the liquid metal into the bullion mould to create the silver bullion. Molds vary depending on whether the bullion is monetised or non-monetised. Monetised bullion is shaped like a coin. Non-monetised bullion is shaped as a bar or ingot.
Allow the silver to cool in the bullion mould. Remove the bullion from the mould once the silver is room temperature.
Tips and warnings
- Use gloves and protective eyeglasses when cutting the sterling silver dishes and removing filler.
- Take fire safety precautions when working with a torch.
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