Merry Metals: Prepare Now for the January Repair Rush

Are we really just 37 days from Christmas? There’s no doubt about it. And as each passing day unwinds ever faster, Stuller will get you what you need just in time.  

So far in our Facebook Live series, we’ve talked about jewelry, bridal, and findings. In this week’s episode, we’re talking about fabricated metals with Kurt Jagneaux. He’s one of our metals gurus who happens to be Executive Director of Production Operations for Metals. Watch and listen while he discusses the merry metal products you’ll need now and come January when repairs begin in earnest. 

Experience Matters 

Thirty-five years ago, Kurt was a welder by trade when a friend who worked at Stuller told him he might enjoy working there with precious metals. That’s how his Stuller adventure began. “When I started at Stuller, we were smaller, and I like to think I’ve grown along with the company. I’ve certainly learned a whole lot about precious metals, and perhaps most importantly, I’ve had to come up with solutions to the inevitable challenges that come when working with precious metals.” In short, working with these metals involves as much art as science.

Down to the Wire 

Shop | Wire

And on the subject of time, Kurt says, “We fabricate more than 95% of our product here in our Lafayette, Louisiana manufacturing facility. So, during the holidays, we can get what you need fast, offering next day delivery on anything in stock. Our 40 different metal alloys produce about 5,000 SKUs, and at any given time, we have a lot of those available for shipping.”

January Repairs 

Shop | Sizing Stock

Kurt mentions that this metals information will be just as relevant come January when repairs take center stage. “That’s one of our two busiest months,” he adds. “We’ll be ready with the sizing stock, solder, laser wire, wire, sheet, and much more, so you can take care of business with ease.” 

SCS Certified 100% Recycled Metals (SCS: Scientific Certification System) 

Shop | Grain

Kurt talks about the growing importance of sustainable metals, “Our customers want this information because even if their customers don’t ask, sustainability is a strong selling point. Over the years I’ve been here, I’ve seen the sustainability issue evolve, and it’s here to stay.” 

Environmental and Social Responsibility 

Stuller’s commitment to environmental and social responsibility includes using 100% SCS-certified recycled metals. Our Clean Scrap program offers another path to sustainability. “With Clean Scrap, customers can recycle their precious metals and diamonds choosing from three payout possibilities. As a matter of fact, right now through November 30th, we have a fantastic promotion going on,” Kurt says. “You’ll receive 100% payout on your Stuller account. That’s credit you can put towards new product for your cases.”  

Determining Precious Metal Content 

How do we make this determination for Clean Scrap? “Historically, fire assay is the most important method,” Kurt says. “But sometimes we use x-ray certification. This method bounces beams off the various elements in the metal to provide a breakdown. If customers request this method, we use it, and the same goes when we’re backed up in fire assay.”  

COMEX Gold Bar Supplier 

Shop | Gold Bar

For those of you interested in investing in gold, we sell COMEX gold bars. COMEX stands for the Commodity Exchange, and the bars have to be 99.9% pure gold.

Custom Stampings 

Shop | Stampings

“We’re very excited to offer custom stampings thanks to new design technology,” Kurt says. “In the past, this wasn’t possible because you had to order dozens to make it affordable. Today, you can send us any type of file, and we can convert it to create one or more custom stampings. It’s an excellent way for you to offer pendants, earrings, and charms exclusive to your business.” 

Speaking of Time 

We want to remind you that during the holiday season, we’ll have extended hours on Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM along with our regular Monday to Friday 8 AM to 7 PM. Don’t forget you can place orders on 24/7 — it’s always open for business. We’ll be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. 

Join us next week when we’ll talk about Holiday Social Media Tips that will help you turn pictures into big sales.

Want to learn more? Check out these other blogs that give you a deeper look into Stuller Metals.

Trusted & Tested: Stuller is Your Certified Recycled Metals Source

Introducing the 2020-2021 Stuller Findings and Metals Catalog


Which Jewelry Cleaner Should I Use?

Think of when you went above and beyond for someone— or when someone went above and beyond for you. It’s always special to leave an interaction feeling like the other party was invested in your happiness and overall experience. And when our expectations are surpassed, the sentiment sticks long after.

Now apply this idea to your business. When closing the sale, it’s easy to take that extra step and offer your customers jewelry care products that will keep those pieces clean once they leave the store.  Think about it:  consumers purchase stainless steel cleaner for their appliances and hardwood cleaner for their floors. It only makes sense they want to purchase specific jewelry cleaner for their precious jewelry.

Take a look at the different jewelry care products to offer your customers to help keep all of their jewelry clean.

Packaging Holiday From the Bench Klean Karats

Pre-clean with foam

Not only is the Klean Karats Foaming Jewelry cleaner an option for customers, but it’s also handy for jewelers as well.   We suggest pre-cleaning your customer’s jewelry with the foam cleaner before putting it in your ultrasonic or using your steam cleaner.  Why would we suggest this?   Simple-the concentrated cleaner in the form of foam is incredibly efficient. The surface area of the cleaner increases as it forms a bubble so that it can disperse over a greater area without slipping off the piece of jewelry.

The Foaming Jewelry Cleaner is safe for diamonds, all metals and gems including pearls, and delicate stone such as opal, turquoise, and lapis.  Sold in a pack of 10, the 1.7-ounce bottle is also a perfect size for travel.

*Always test a small area before doing a full cleaning.

Gifting Clean

If your customers travel often, or for those always wanting to go the extra mile, Klean Karats® Cleaner Pens are the perfect option. They are easy to travel with and help customers keep their jewelry clean at all times.

Sold in a pack of 10, the pens are safe and effective on all metals and gems including soft, porous stones like pearls and opal. The only exceptions are Amber and Ethiopian Opals. It can even be used on costume and antique jewelry pieces.  It’s also incredibly easy to use and stays clean since the formula stays on the brush.

Soak It Up

If a customer is looking for a more immersive cleaning option at home, the Klean Karats® Jewelry Bath will do the trick.  This non-toxic biodegradable jewelry cleaner is safe for gold, silver, and platinum jewelry.  It’s also safe on most gemstones including pearls and delicate stones like opal and turquoise. The only exceptions are Amber and Ethiopian Opals

Sold in a pack of 12, easily prepare the bath by adding water to the concentrate packet into the jar.  Be sure to test first on jewelry that has dyed pearls or stones, since some of these treatments aren’t permanent.

Shop all of our jewelry cleaners and cloths on

This blog has been updated from a previous post.


Earth Day 2020 and Stuller’s Commitment to Sustainability

As Stuller celebrates 50 years in the industry, another huge milestone is being celebrated: Earth Day, created 50 years ago today. Since that day in 1970, nearly 200 countries have joined the continuing effort to protect the environment through education and grassroots activism.   

Take a look at the first ever Earth Day celebrations:

Today marks the perfect time to look back on our history and the numerous milestones we’ve achieved. Among them, we’re proud to have earned the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Certification in 2019. 

Responsible Jewelry Council Member Logo

RJC certifies fine jewelry manufacturers for responsible ethical, social, and environmental practices throughout all operations. And just like other RJC members, Stuller commits to implementing continuous improvement processes to increase performance and achieve higher standards.

Read more about our RJC certification.


We are also proud to use 100% recycled materials in our manufacturing processes and are certified by SCS Global Services. According to the SCS website, “SCS is accredited to conduct RJC Code of Practices and Chain-of-Custody verification assessments.”   

SCS Recycled ContentSCS certification ensures recycled metals are used while conflict metals and other questionable materials are avoided. Stuller is honored to be a user and supplier of certified 100% recycled fine gold, fine silver, palladium, and platinum. Learn more about RJC, SCS, and Stuller’s commitment to ethical sourcing and fair trade practices.

Read more about Stuller’s efforts to be a certified recycled metals source.


At Stuller, we are committed to ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability in all aspects of our operations. Aside from using and offering recycled metals, we adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to sourcing diamonds and gemstones.  Gemstone Experience on Social Share

Stuller uses several practices to ensure the integrity of the gemstones we purchase, and we believe in creating an open dialogue about gemstone sourcing to be as transparent and trustworthy as possible. We work with trusted partners, visit our suppliers and cutters overseas to ensure proper procedures are being followed, and transparently disclose any treatment our stones have undergone.

When it comes to Stuller Diamonds™, we commit to upholding the highest ethical standards in the diamond industry through our membership with the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers Association of America (DMIA). SWAS Diamond History Social Share

We are committed to selling conflict-free, ethically sourced diamonds, and all rough and polished natural mined diamonds sold by Stuller comply with the Kimberly Process.

Learn more about our diamond and gemstone sourcing here.


Our efforts go beyond the jewelry industry. We are also environmentally conscious throughout all of our facilities. Check out the video below to learn more about how we do our part within Stuller’s headquarters.

Since 1970, Stuller has worked hard to advance the jewelry industry by keeping sight of our main focus: jewelers. As we look to the next 50 years, and another 50 years of celebrating Earth Day, we will continue to look for ways to offer an even deeper impact to sustainability and environmental consciousness. 

How do you plan on celebrating Earth Day this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Trusted & Tested: Stuller is Your Certified Recycled Metals Source

As Stuller celebrates 50 years in the industry, it’s a perfect time to look back on our history and the numerous milestones we’ve achieved. Among them, we’re proud to have earned both the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Certification and the SCS Global Services Certification for 100% recycled metals.


RJC certifies fine jewelry manufacturers for responsible ethical, social, and environmental practices throughout all operations. And, according to the SCS website, “SCS is accredited to conduct RJC Code of Practices and Chain-of-Custody verification assessments.”

Read more about our RJC certification.


SCS partners with companies to “drive practices, policies and processes that advance the goals of sustainable development and give innovators a competitive advantage.” Their services enable companies and consumers to make informed decisions based on “the highest level of environmental, ethical and quality accountability.”

SCS Recycled Content

SCS certification ensures recycled metals are used while conflict metals and other questionable materials are avoided. Stuller is honored to be a user and supplier of certified 100% recycled fine gold, fine silver, palladium, and platinum. Learn more about RJC, SCS, and Stuller’s commitment to ethical sourcing and Fair Trade practices.

Why do we take the extra steps to ensure our metals are certified 100% recycled? Because in addition to providing them to jewelers, we use them ourselves. “Stuller’s Metals department is quite unique,” says Tammy Lail, Vice President of Tools and Equipment, Metals, and Packaging and Displays. “We produce metals and work with them internally. We use what we sell. This gives us a unique advantage to really test and work with our offerings. In addition, we have inventory, so we can provide minimum quantities and immediate delivery.”

Supply Chain Awareness

Over the past few decades, it has become increasingly important to make sure we fully understand our supply chain. “Ethical sourcing of metals has been the biggest change in the industry,” Tammy says. “It’s important to understand where your metal is sourced. Our position is that there is enough metal already in the marketplace and that mining metal is an unnecessary process or damage to the earth.”

But responsible sourcing isn’t enough. “Our main objective is to provide socially responsible metals that perform consistently,” Tammy shares. “We continuously test our metals to make sure they perform the same way every time they are used.”

Metal Innovations

Essential to Stuller’s continued success, Tammy says, “We are always seeking new alloys to help our customers.” This is happening with the expert help of Randy Welch, Senior Process Engineer in Metals Technology, who has been part of the Stuller family since 1981.

Randy has worked in casting, assaying, making mill products, and metal development, including creating and improving alloys.

“Sometimes an alloy isn’t performing as it should. Off I go to investigate and correct,” Randy says. “I also spend about 40% of my week on the phone with customers, helping them with issues. That’s an essential part of my job.”

Through the years, Randy says, newer equipment and technology in the industry have necessitated adjusting alloys for better performance. He has even been involved in creating new alloys to meet new needs in technology.

The Next 50 Years:
What’s Next for Stuller Metals?

Many Stuller team members are currently in Vicenza, including members of the metals department. “We are always interested in the metals that are being used in the industry — how they are being paired together, like rose gold with white gold, etc.,” Tammy says. “In addition, we aim to understand non-precious metals as well as their impact and ease of manufacturing.”

We look forward to sharing what they learn and how it can help with your metal needs. In the meantime, you can learn about our recycled metals, new products, technology, and much more during Stuller’s Bench Jeweler Workshop, March 27-28, 2020. Register by February 17 to take advantage of early-bird pricing.

Ready to see what we have to offer? Shop Stuller metals today.

Palladium Prices Blog Header

What’s the Deal with Palladium Prices?

Do you know how much palladium costs per ounce? If you answered “no,” you’re like most of us. It’s not a big a part of your business, but you appreciate it as a less costly alternative to platinum. End of story.

Whoa! Let’s back up.


As I write this post, palladium is $1318/oz while platinum is looking great at $815/oz.

You read that correctly. Palladium is $500/oz more than platinum. I found out about rising palladium prices the other day when I asked our Metals Product Manager, Katelyn Garrett, a question about palladium. Her answer referenced palladium prices and its significant rise over the past few years and that it was more expensive than platinum and gold. That got my attention, and I went back to my computer to see for myself.

As noted above, the evidence was striking.

Palladium prices metal wire grain

Investigating Palladium Prices

Curious to understand what was happening to palladium prices, I reached out to Harold Dupuy, VP Strategic Analysis, and Belit Myers, VP Compliance Inventory & Info. Both emphasized that the major contributor to the increase was the auto industry’s growing demand for palladium to use in catalytic converters. That’s probably not news to many of you, but here are a few details that account for palladium’s strong demand with no clear end in sight.Palladium Prices Rings on Tree

  • China’s growing demand for vehicles fueled by 1.4 billion people
  • The change from diesel engines, using primarily platinum in their converters, to gasoline engines, which mostly use palladium
  • The switch from cars to trucks/SUVs whose bigger engines need more palladium

On the supply side of this equation:

  • Palladium is a by-product of nickel and platinum mining. Prices of these metals drive investment in new mines.
  • Palladium can be recycled from the autocatalysts.
  • Some electronics (TVs and computer monitors) contain palladium that is subsequently unrefinable.


Where does palladium’s supply/demand bottleneck leave the jewelry industry? That’s simple. For now, choose platinum. At $815/oz, it’s a higher quality jewelry metal at an attractive price.

Platinum Questions Answered Blog Header

Stuller’s Top 5 Platinum Questions Answered

What’s not to love about platinum? It’s the densest of the precious metals, can stand up to a lifetime of everyday wear, and is even hypoallergenic, making it a perfect pick for any bride. Take the time to become a platinum expert. As you master working with platinum, you can also teach the merits of why it may be the better choice for your customer’s lifestyle, earning trust and ensuring a return to your store.


Here are a few popular platinum questions answered–


platinum questions answered smelting grain

1. What is the melting temperature of platinum and popular platinum alloys?

Here is one of our top platinum questions answered:

Pure Platinum: 3215°F (1768°C)

Pt950/Ruthenium: 3236°F – 3263°F (1780°C – 1795°C)

Pt950/Cobalt: 3015°F – 3050°F (1657°C – 1677°C)

Pt900/Iridium: 3236°F – 3272°F (1780°C – 1800°C)

2. Which solder should I use?

Platinum melts at a high temperature, which may cause diamonds to frost over when exposed to such extreme heat. Because of this, we recommend that all stones be removed when welding or soldering with platinum solder on a platinum ring.

When Joining Two Platinum Metals:

  • Platinum iridium to platinum iridium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum ruthenium – weld
  • Platinum ruthenium to platinum iridium  – weld
  • Platinum cobalt has a lower melt point than platinum ruthenium or platinum iridium, it cannot be welded to either PtRu or PtIr
  • If gold is melted into a platinum surface, remove the gold with a ball bur and fill it with platinum wire

Tip: When in doubt, solder

3. What type of fuel do I use when working with Platinum?

Propane or natural gas is the best option for working with Platinum. These fuels burn cleaner and will not contaminate your platinum. Acetylene fuel is not recommended.

platinum questions answered torch

4. Should I use flux?

Avoid the use of flux when joining platinum alloys. However, flux may be used when joining platinum alloys to gold alloys.

5. Which sandpaper grit is best for removing dents and scratches from a platinum ring?

360-400-500 abrasive paper


A few tips and tricks:

Try using Redi-Prongs® Platinum Round Retipping Kit to retip prongs around certain colored stones and diamonds. Simply flatten the surface of the prong that you want to retip using a small file. Then, heat the area and attach a prong cap (Redi-prong comes with pre-applied solder). Polish the prong and you are done.

What people don’t always know is—

Platinum cobalt sticks to magnets due to its cobalt content. It should be kept segregated from other bench sweeps. Also, a magnet can be used to determine if a platinum jewelry item is made from platinum cobalt.

Polishing tip

When polishing jewelry that has both platinum and gold components, be sure the platinum is polished completely before polishing the gold. Gold polishes faster than platinum, so it is easy to over-polish the gold portion and ruin the piece.

platinum questions answered polishing

Did you know: We use three different types of platinum here at Stuller—

Pt Alloy



Die Striking


90Pt/10Ir Satisfactory Excellent Excellent Poor
95Pt/5Co Excellent Good Good Good
95Pt/5Ru Good Excellent Excellent Excellent


Laser Welders like the Rofin Basic XE-Power 100 Joule (14-0110) are the best for working with platinum, saving time for your shop and increasing productivity, capabilities, and profits. This investment will pay for itself in no time.

Find more tips on working with platinum here.

Anything we missed? If you have a question, let us know in the comments below. We’ll work to help you get the answers you need.

Jewelry Care Products Blog Header Image

Jewelry Care Products: Which Jewelry Cleaner Does What?

Over the last few months, I’ve talked a lot about how to customize your packaging to enhance your brand. What you say (and how you say it) is quite important. But today, I want to talk about actions. As summer comes to an end, take a moment to think of when you went above and beyond for someone— or when someone went above and beyond for you. It always feels special to leave an interaction feeling like the other party was invested in your happiness and overall experience. And when our expectations are surpassed, the sentiment sticks long after.

Now, just in time for the holiday season, apply this idea to your business. Take the extra step to offer your customers jewelry care products to keep their pieces clean after the sale. Consider this: consumers purchase stainless steel cleaner for their appliances. They purchase hardwood cleaner for their floors. So naturally, they want to purchase specific jewelry cleaner for their precious jewelry.

Here is a quick outline of the different jewelry care products to offer your customers. These add-ons will help keep all the jewelry in their wardrobe clean—

What It Cleans

Why You Should Carry It

This fine jewelry cleaner is specially formulated to clean fine gold and platinum jewelry, as well as harder gemstones like diamonds and rubies. If you carry fine gold, diamond, and bridal jewelry, this cleaner is one of the most important and versatile jewelry care products for your line.

This gentle jewelry cleaning formula is safe for a wide range of jewelry, from diamonds to delicate pearls, beads, and fashion jewelry. This gentle jewelry cleaning formula offers your customers a safe way to clean most pieces of jewelry in their wardrobe. If you sell pearls, fashion jewelry, or even mixed media pieces (such as something made with gold and emeralds or pearls), this jewelry care product is the perfect cleaning option.

Like a fine jewelry cleaning formula, this jewelry care product softly cleans fine gold and platinum jewelry, as well as harder gemstones such as diamonds. Many consumers, particularly millennials, are concerned about environmental sustainability and green products. This all-botanical, hypo-allergenic, and naturally derived product allows you to respond to this concern while offering a superior cleaning product.

This mild tarnish remover uses an organic, acidic base to quickly and efficiently remove tarnish without risk of pitting or excessive silver loss. Safe for pieces that are made only of sterling silver. When your customers’ silver jewelry becomes tarnished, they won’t wear it. Offering a mild tarnish remover is safer than other harsher jewelry care products or old wives’ tales like toothpaste.

Professional polishing cloths can be used to clean and polish fine gold, silver, and platinum jewelry restoring luster without scratching or removing the finish. Polishing cloths are excellent jewelry care products that can be used on their own or in conjunction with liquid cleaning formulations. The cloths can be used on fine jewelry, fashion jewelry, and watches, and are appropriate for most any purchase.

Try our NEW Gentle Foam Cleaner • 17-0885

Our new foam cleaner adds a bit more convenience to your customers’ lives. Easily carried in a purse, backpack, their car, or stowed neatly in a jewelry box, this gentle foam cleaner is quite handy. Urge customers to use this compact cleaner on a wide array of jewelry and use it often— especially to rid daily build-up. They’re available in packs of 15 and pair well with cleaning cloths as a thoughtful add-on to your latest sale.

Shop more jewelry care products at


Offering jewelry care products builds relationships and opens the opportunity to educate your customers on safe, routine home cleaning. And in doing so, you, the trusted jeweler, becomes a hero.

6 Simple Steps to Becoming a Lost Wax Casting Pro

Lost wax casting blends old and new in truly remarkable fashion. Our industry is constantly changing, adapting ancient techniques to modern technology. So, we’ve asked our experts to walk us through lost wax casting:


Wax patterns are made by one of the following ways: carving, build-up, hand forming, or mold reproduction.

 casting wax-treeSTEP 2 – SPRUING OR SETTING UP

Spruing is the leading cause of shrinkage porosity, or the pits you see during polishing. Fix this by ensuring the following:

• The sprue should be thicker than the heaviest part of the pattern.

• It should also be attached to the heaviest part of the pattern as well.

• The sprue should be no longer than is absolutely necessary.

These are much more effective than looking for that optimum (magical) cast temp.



Investing is more chemistry than craft. Measure your powder and water and follow your supplier’s instructions for mixing, curing, and burnout. Keep this in mind: your casting surface is only as good as your wax and investing procedures.

• Weigh investment material and measure water according to manufacturer’s recommendation.

• Fill flask containing wax pattern and either vacuum or vibrate to remove air from the slurry.

• Allow invested mold to air-dry for two hours or more before starting the burnout.

Lost wax casting investment



• Place invested flask in furnace preheated to 300ºF. Hold at this temperature for one hour or until the wax has drained.

• Raise temperature at the rate of 300º/400ºF per hour until temperature of 1350ºF is reached.

• Hold temperature at 1350ºF for two hours or more.

• Drop temperature to the desired temperature for casting.

Lost wax casting burnout

Check the burnout oven to be sure there is adequate air supply and exhaust.



If possible, use an alloy that is formulated for investment casting. This will give you cleaner, brighter castings and recycle longer. Always add fresh metal to keep it rejuvenated. Unfortunately, you can’t roll or fabricate a deoxidized material.

• Mold temperature at the time of casting is determined by the size of the casting. For example, delicate rings are usually cast into molds of approximately 1000ºF while molds for heavy rings are usually cast at about 700ºF.

• When vacuum-assist casting, the sprue should be about 25% larger than that used when casting with a centrifugal casting machine.

• The weight of gold is 14 times that of wax.

• The weight of silver and bronze is nine times that of wax.

lost wax casting



Often, we discount the importance of proper quenching techniques. Quenching at the right time with the correct method for that alloy will ensure good mechanical properties at the bench. Get advice from your metal supplier. All precious metal alloys, especially nickel-white gold, respond well to quenching.

• Flasks containing gold or silver castings can be quenched in water four or five minutes after casting.

• Fire scale and discoloration can be removed with an acid pickle solution.

Lost wax casting clean up



Here are some of our top recommendations for lost wax casting equipment:

Lost wax casting arbe master cast oil-less vacuum pump

For Vacuum Casting: 22-1305

Lost wax casting Neycraft Centrifugal Casting Machine

For Spin Casting: 22-3600

And for investment:

Lost wax casting prestige unicast
For Gold/Silver: 22-4746
Lost wax casting prestige optima
For Resin: 22-4748
Lost wax casting prestige ferro vest investment
For platinum: 22-4745

Have any lost wax casting questions? Ask away in our comments section below and we’ll get our Tools Tech experts to help you out!


We’ve always been conscious of the environment and our impact on it. Throughout our 46-year tenure, we’ve made strides to be conservative in all areas – energy, water and waste management, recyclables, etc. And we’re proud to add one more to our belt.

scs1We’ve recently undergone an audit by the Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and are pretty excited to announce that in addition to gold and silver, our platinum and palladium have been certified for 100% recycled content. This recognition makes our full offering of fabricated metals (and all items made with those metals) certified.
The certification process is specific and detailed with potential applicants having to comply with several requirements regarding environmental, social
and supply chain management. Very few have earned this certification. At the scs2time of our application, we were one of only two to have this certification for the four precious metals.

Consumers are becoming more and more concerned with the sustainability of the environment. By gaining these certifications it allows our customers to confidently say all of the products manufactured by their supplier are meeting high environmental standards.

Stay tuned for more great things to come!

Here’s a bit about the Scientific Certification Systems:
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) is a global leader in independent certification and verification of environmental, sustainability, stewardship, food quality, food safety and food purity claims. For 30 years, SCS has developed internationally recognized standards and certification programs in pursuit of the highest level of environmental performance and social accountability. Many assessments undertaken by SCS are based on innovative life cycle assessment methodologies. SCS assessments lead to the recognition of accomplishments in greenhouse gas inventories and offsets, agricultural production, food processing and handling, forestry, fisheries, flowers and plants, energy, green building, product manufacturing and corporate social responsibility.

Mad About Metals

First Impressions

My earliest memories of gold stem from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons. I loved when Bugs asked to use the “tell-E-O-phone” and received the massive pile of gold coins. I knew that pirates searched for buried treasure, which was, again, chests filled to the brim with gold coins. Scrooge McDuck swam in his massive sea of gold coins. Gold was just something that inspired awe and was worth the effort to find. To a 5-year old, it’s shiny, pretty, and makes you rich! Evil criminal masterminds kept trying to steal it from banks, people, and anywhere they could get their hands on it. Little did I know how gold, along with other metals, would impact my daily life.

I began my close relationship with gold in 2005, when I started working part time in Stuller’s Assay Lab while in college. I would run fire assay analysis of our karat gold materials, verifying that our products were meeting the legal requirements for gold content. This led to my current place as an Associate Process Engineer with the Metals Technology Department when I graduated in 2008. Since then, metals have been my life.

What is gold?

Seriously, what is gold? Well, gold is element #79 on the periodic table. It has 79 protons, 79 electrons, and 118 neutrons. It is a transition metal, a precious metal, and has a Vickers hardness of 216 MPa (22HV). Its melting point is 1064.18°C. Its electron configuration is [Xe]4f145d106s1. There is 0.00001% gold in humans and 3.1×10-7% gold in the Earth’s crust. Even 1×10-7% in the sun! Not to mention countless other physical properties measured by scientists over time.

What first comes to mind when a person thinks of gold is its physical appearance: shiny and yellow. This is true. But gold is so much more. It’s a noble metal. It’s a soft metal. It’s soft enough to be shaped into practically any form, and rigid enough to retain that general shape. It can be polished to a high shine. This sparkly quality is the initial draw of gold itself. It captures your attention and draws you in. It’s this appeal that has had us, myself included, hooked on gold since its first discovery.

Myths, Legends, & Symbolism

Humans have always been fascinated by gold. From the start, we associated this stuff with richness, high quality, god-like attributes, and royalty. With the yellow color and sparkly luster, the Egyptians saw gold as a symbol of the sun god, Ra. It was thought of as the sweat of the sun to the Incas. Stories from leprechaun gold to King Midas made their way into our history. Some are completely fictional stories, while others, like Jason and the Argonauts, have some ties to actual historical events. An ancient method of separating gold from gold-rich sea sand was to allow the water to flow over sheep skins. The gold would get caught in the fibers. The skins would be hung to dry and later beaten to remove and capture the gold. So, there’s some credibility to Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece.

Gold has become a symbol for immortality and eternal life due to the fact that it never tarnishes, oxidizes, corrodes, or fades over time. Gold objects were buried with deceased loved ones to bring them riches and happiness in the afterlife. Love is seen as eternal and ever-lasting, so it is only fitting we associate gold objects commemorating exceptional life events, the most well-known being wedding and engagement rings.

Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry has evolved over centuries, but many of the basics are still the same today. Gold was mixed with silver and copper to make it more durable and cast into different colored alloys. Today, we use those same metals mixed with gold in addition to many other elements, depending on the desired end product. The concept of lost wax casting started out primitive, though now large machines and ovens cast both large and small trees with dozens of parts using those same practices. Make a wax of your desired item, invest a mold around it, burn out the wax, and finally melt and pour the gold into that mold.

The most popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, including yours truly, is gold. It’s such a versatile metal. It comes in so many different “flavors,” as I like to say. What was my pick? (And, yes, I was given the choice by my boyfriend, who became my fiancé and is now my husband.) I chose 14 karat palladium white. There were many reasons for me to choose that type of alloy, but that’s a story for another day.

Kings and queens may come and go, but gold will still be around. Gold has stood the test of time for this long, and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

Gold is here to stay.

Have a favorite gold “flavor”? Share it in the comments section.