How to separate precious metals from ceramics & pottery

Written by mike marcoe
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How to separate precious metals from ceramics & pottery
Pottery and ceramics may contain gold and other precious metals. (pottery image by bayu harsa from

Separating precious metals from ceramic computer chips, gold-plated antique dishes and lamps, and other ceramic and glass items is becoming a new way to make money from recycling. Ceramic computer chips and antique dish and glassware can contain gold, silver, and other precious metals. Methods of gold recovery from ceramics and pottery that involve the use of potentially toxic chemicals is not recommended. There are safe, non-toxic ways to recover gold and precious metals and make money doing so.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • $550 to invest (as of January 2011)
  • Gold recovery equipment and supplies
  • Computer chips or gold-plated ceramics
  • Digital scale
  • Separate work area

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  1. 1

    Visit some of the reference and resource websites listed below. Most methods of gold recovery from gold-plated glass and ceramics involve the use of potentially dangerous chemicals. Some methods and equipment have been developed that are non-toxic, and recommended for hobbyists.

  2. 2

    Go shopping at local thrift stores for old gold-plated dishes, glasses, and lamps that are cheap, but that you could possibly recover gold from. Purchase a few items.

  3. 3

    Start looking for free computer CPUs that could be taken apart for their ceramic chips. Scrap computer chips contain gold. Search online for lots of computer scrap chips and parts for sale. Don't spend more than £32 to start with for scrap items to use for gold recovery.

  4. 4

    Purchase a beginning gold recovery unit that uses safe, non-toxic chemicals and has an instructional video. This will cost about £325 as of January 2011. (See Reference 2.)

  5. 5

    Arrange a work area for yourself that won't be disturbed by others, and which is out of reach of children and pets. Start by setting up a work table to disassemble old lamps and scrap computer CPUs.

  1. 1

    Unpack your gold recovery unit to make sure all items are enclosed. Set the machine up in your work area on a separate table. Set the supplies next to the machine.

  2. 2

    Watch the video that came with the gold recovery unit. Follow the step-by-step instructions for machine set-up and use.

  3. 3

    Add gold-plated ceramic items and computer chips to the gold recovery unit to be stripped of their precious metals. Let the items sit in the solution as long as needed, per the video instructions.

  4. 4

    Remove the gold recovered in the bottom of the gold recovery unit. After rinsing off with cool water and drying with a shop towel, turn on the digital scale. Weigh the gold that you have recovered, and try to make a record of it. Contact a refiner or scrap gold buyer to see how much they will pay you for the gold you have recovered.

Tips and warnings

  • Spend time hunting in antique stores and you may be able to strip gold off of old ceramic plates and glassware without damaging the plate or glass itself, and sell those items again.
  • Always adhere to safety precautions when attempting to recover gold. Although there are numerous potentially toxic, more complicated methods of recovering gold from ceramics, spending some money on equipment and non-toxic chemical processes will pay off for you in the long run.

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