Category Archives: Gold/Silver/Rare Coins

4 Coins 2004 Ultimate Silver Eagle Dollar Collection Plus one 24K Gold Plated

Beginner’s Mistake: 7 Errors Coin Collectors Should Avoid

Coin collecting is a fun, challenging, and profitable hobby full of information, tips, and tricks. However, whether you are a budding collector or a long-time numismatics enthusiast, several mistakes could degrade the value of your collection.

As expert appraisers and coin fanatics ourselves, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry will share some of the biggest threats to your coins, along with what you can do to protect your collection. 

1. Impulsive Coin Collecting and Buying

It requires a lot of effort to learn the specifics of any hobby, and coin collecting is no exception. For example, if you want to collect Queen Victoria Coins, how can you be sure of the each one’s authenticity? How much should you pay for its rarity? Do the engravings mean anything significant? — These are questions you need to answer before investing. 

When you know very little about coins, it can be easy to make impulsive, regretful buying decisions. Therefore, it is of high importance to avoid making mistake number two:

2. Conducting Minimal Research

It is vital to conduct out-and-out research before investing. As you grow your collection, you must also expand your understanding of numismatics (the study of coins). Only knowing common information about coins, such as average buying prices or popular kinds to buy, will not get you very far. As such, ensure to do some legitimate research using the internet. Go through industry-specific blogs such as those maintained by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC), Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), and sovereign or private mints around the world.

3. Following Baseless Tips

Would you immediately invest your life’s savings on stocks and bonds just because your friend said it would make you millions of dollars? We hope not. The same rule goes for buying and collecting coins. Unless whoever gave you advice is an experienced numismatist or an employee of a certification service, avoid following any baseless information that can cause you to lose money than gain. Fact is, there are no accurate predictions on which coins will be in-demand tomorrow, much less in a year or a decade.

4. Ordering Coins from TV Dealers

There is at least one show on the infomercial section “guaranteeing” to give the best deals on the rarest coins in the world. The truth is, just because an advertiser keeps saying “the best deal you will ever find,” does not mean it is true. More often than not, infomercials come with advertising and marketing costs that are topped over the price of a product.

Further, even if TV dealers claim that they are selling NGC or PCGS certified coins, there is no assurance that they are authentically graded. Also, you can never be sure if the coins are in the same condition as when they left the NGC or PCGS.

Lastly, keep in mind that though the coins may, in fact, have collectible value, they may not be as rare as TV dealers want you to believe. 

5. Making Dead-End Investments

Un-circulated 40% Silver Eisenhower Silver Dollars

Because of the growing interest in precious metals, a typical detail you will find in many collectible coins is the bullet point saying “low mintage” or “extremely low mintage.” According to the Spruce Crafts, “Mintage is the total quantity of a particular coin that the mint produced.” However, a specific coin with low mintage does not indicate rarity.

As an example, let’s say you come across an 18-karat gold coin with a picture of a glorious dove on it. The question you need to answer before buying is not “how many coins were made,” but rather, “will anyone else want this?” At some point, you are likely to sell your collection or pass it on to a family member. If neither of those parties is interested in that particular “low mintage” coin, or there is no demand when selling it, you are only wasting the investment you made in that coin.

6. Buying “Certified” Coins from Self-Slabbers

Coins found in slabs do not automatically symbolize authenticity, rarity, or pristine condition. Therefore, as tempting as it may be to buy coins off of eBay or advertising platforms, avoid wasting your money on coins that are not from professional certification services. The NGC and PCGS are the two preeminent authentication and certification services, followed by the second-tier companies of America’s Oldest Coin Authentication and Grading Service (ANACS) and Independent Coin Graders (ICG).

7. Negligence and Naivety 

There are many stories of people cleaning an old coin and ruining it in the process. Using harsh or abrasive solutions in an attempt to bring back a coin’s original luster can cause the exact opposite effect. Silver coins, in particular, can lose its sheen every time you polish them. Sadly, in the eyes of the NGC, PCGS, and others relevant organizations, this error dramatically diminishes the value of a collectible coin. For instance, while a 19th-century coin may look damaged or old, that patina is still part of its allure.

Akin to the point above, you should never use your hands when handling coins. Human skin contains natural oils that, when comes in contact with the precious metals of a coin, can cause slight damage at first, and then inflict more damage over time. Wearing gloves is a great way to avoid transferring the skin’s oils to a coin’s surface.

Read this article to understand the best possible ways to care for your coin collection.

Take Home Message

Those mentioned are only seven of the many mistakes coin collectors, regardless of whether new or seasoned, can be guilty of. Although there is no perfect guideline to follow when collecting coins, we hope that knowing these seven common mistakes will guide your future investment choices. As you continue to expand your collection, common sense will also prevent you from making crucial errors. And of course, if any doubt arises, always conduct more research and seek the opinion of professional numismatists.

Are You Interested in Selling Your Coin Collection?

Selling too quickly can often lead you straight to the local pawn shop. However, you can get your coin collection’s worth by selling to the right establishment. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is Arizona’s number one choice for collateral loans on valuable assets and purchases of high-end collectibles, including precious metals and coins. If you are looking to cash in your collection, complete our online form for a free market appraisal. You may also visit or contact our Scottsdale (480-991-5626) and Chandler (480-705-5626) locations. Rest assured that we offer the highest rates in the market.

Two Sides of a Coin: How and How Not to Care for Your Coin Collection

Coins are ever popular collectibles that represent the culture, political economy, and general history of a country. Whether you are a new or seasoned coin collector, you must know the tips and tricks to ensuring the beauty and longevity of your collection:

How to Take Care of Your Coin CollectionUn-circulated 40% Silver Eisenhower Silver Dollars

1. Never polish an old coin

The majority of numismatists (people who study currency), advice against polishing or intensively cleaning any rare or old coins. Although certain impurities such as light tarnishing (toning) may seem off-putting, they are still considered part of a coin’s value, and removing them can diminish its overall worth.

2. Gently wash a dirty coin

Removing surface dirt from a coin is relatively easy, and it is the only time that a coin ever requires cleaning. To remove all traces of adhered dirt, use your fingers or a soft sponge to wash the currency using mild liquid soap. Once dirt-free, rinse the solution off with lukewarm distilled water. It is essential to steer clear of using tap water since it contains chlorine, which can cause corrosion. To remove any grease stuck between the ridges or design of a coin, you may use a cotton ball dipped in acetone to remove them. Acetone, like all solvents, should only be used in a well-ventilated area. As a final step, allow your coin to air-dry on a paper towel.

However, if you come across a rare or old coin, it may be best to let the professionals at the Numismatic Conservation Service (NCS) handle the cleaning.

3. Store coins in appropriate containers

If you constantly expose your coins to the air, they are more susceptible to tarnishing. To prevent serious damages, here is the correct way to store your coins:

  • Coin Tubes: Many collectors prefer to organize more common and same-sized coins in clear styrene coin tubes. Although these containers are excellent for storage, their only downside is that the coins are stacked on top of each other, which can cause scratch marks.
  • Coin Flips: Flexible transparent holders (similar to card holders) are also an available option. Opt for flips made of polyester or Mylar and avoid vinyl or PVC. Most flips consist of two pockets — one for the coin and another to hold a piece of paper indicating all information about the coin. They are available in many different sizes.
  • Cardboard Holders: Aside from coin tubes and flips, you can also place your coins in individual cardboard holders lined with Mylar. Using cardboard holders is generally less expensive, and it is a great way to minimize any exposure to wear and tear. Your coins will be positioned in the middle of the holder where the Mylar window is, which holds it in place when the cardboard is folded over. The holders may be stapled on three sides to keep the coin from sliding out.
  • Hard Plastic Holders: Last but not the least, you may store your oldest and most valuable coins in hard plastic holders, which are more costly than any other coin holder. However, despite their pricier tag, they do offer significant protection against scratch marks and other unwanted damage.

If you need to take a coin out of its respective holder, always place it on a clean, soft surface. A velvet pad is an ideal surface for laying down coins and can be an invaluable asset when you regularly need to handle rare coins. However, a clean, soft cloth should be sufficient for less valuable coins. Make sure to avoid dragging your metal pieces across any hard surface since you are likely to scratch or damage the raised areas.

4 Coins 2004 Ultimate Silver Eagle Dollar Collection Plus one 24K Gold Plated

How Not to Take Care of Your Coin Collection

On the flip side, several devastating mistakes could damage the value of your collection. Allow us to discuss two of the biggest threats to your coin collection:

1. Mishandling

Touching your coins is necessary for inspection and general viewing purposes, but did you know that there is a right and wrong way to do so? Frequent touching can tarnish all coins over time, which explains why the change we get at subways and grocery stores appear dull and discolored.

The next time you reorganize or go through your collection, wear a pair of cotton gloves to prevent any oil or sweat from your hands to transfer onto the coins. Gloves also help in preventing scratches and various signs of wear.

2. Improper storage conditions

United states Proof Sets 1973-79 Dollar Half Dollar Quarter Dime Nickel Cent

Moisture or severely high or low temperatures can impact the appearance of your coins and permanently damage them. Basements and attics tend to be poor places to store your collection. Often, the ideal location should be dry and has a consistent, moderate temperature. In addition, sunlight can also affect the condition of a coin, so make sure to keep that in consideration.

Two of the best places to store coins are either in a personal safe inside one of the primary rooms in your house; or in a safety deposit box at the bank. To ensure that moisture is kept at bay, you can try placing some silica gel packets in your safe or safety deposit box.


Using the right cleaning techniques and storing each coin in the right container plays a significant role in protecting your investment or collection. The proper methods will not only maintain the beauty, luster, and value of your coins, but also lengthen their shelf time.

Are you interested in selling your coin collection? Come to Biltmore Loan!

Having a coin collection is something to be immensely proud of. It shows dedication, patience, and presents an extra layer of financial security. Gold, silver, and platinum have substantial value that you can utilize when in need of extra cash. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry offers two options for unveiling the monetary value of precious metals, including selling or applying for a collateral loan. If you are interested in selling your metal collection, call us today at 480-470-7285 for Scottsdale or 480-508-9145 for Chandler. You may also complete our online form for a free market appraisal.

1915 $5 Indian Head Half Eagle Gold Coin

Why You Should Start a Coin Collection

Coin collecting is a fantastic hobby because it involves your intellect, says Gilles Bransbourg, assistant curator of Roman coins at The American Numismatic Society in New York City. “Being intellectually active is a good thing, whether you are 30 or 70,” he claims.

Un-circulated 40% Silver Eisenhower Silver DollarsCoins represent a different era and are a passport back to an earlier time. Whether a person collects the type of coins he or she had in their pockets as a child, or has recently begun appreciating their appearance and design, admiring someone’s coin collection gives the collector great pride. In fact, the harder the collection was to gather, the more sense of accomplishment and pride the owner has for the prized collection.

If you need convincing that you should start a coin collection, here are five excellent reasons:

1. Find thrill in challenging yourself

Many collectors appreciate the challenge of finding a rare coin. Sometimes, it’s finding that one special coin for a bargain that is the real challenge for most collectors. Nearly all collectors are modern-day treasure hunters. Just imagine going on an antique shop adventure, or walking at the beach with your metal detector and stumbling upon a horde of coins worth thousands or even more. Although this doesn’t happen too often, it is still worth dreaming about.

In addition, if you embark on a quest to look for the rarest coins on the market and are lucky enough to find a hidden treasure, its rarity could be enough to set you for life. Aside from the rarity attribute, beauty and design are also two incredibly sought-after attributes in coin collecting. Some collectors classify beauty as luster and flawlessness of a coin, while others seek out their layout or artwork. For example, the 1936 Commemorative Bay Bridge half dollar is an intricately designed coin favored by many. Many people enjoy the look of the bay bridge at the back and the bear on the front.

2. Make money collecting coins

Whether you believe it or not, collecting coins can be quite a fruitful hobby. In fact, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry buys coins and other precious metals because of their growing value. And if you are a beginner who decides that coin collecting is not for you, or that you are ready to forfeit your collection, you can get your investment back by selling your coins to us or other collectors. The prices of some coins will fluctuate with metal prices, and fortunately, those metal prices tend to rise regularly.

3. Learn about different cultures and history

Coin collecting can provide you with a lot of interesting information, especially if you expand your collection to foreign metals. Examining coins and their backgrounds can lead to significant discoveries and facts about politics, society, culture, and overall history. For instance, take the recent issuance of the State quarters and Presidential dollar coin programs. If you do your research well enough, you will realize that there is plenty to be learned just from these two coin series.

4 Coins 2004 Ultimate Silver Eagle Dollar Collection Plus one 24K Gold Plated

4. Own more gold and silver

Gold and silver are always fluctuating in value due to limited worldwide supply and steady demand. Thus, many U.S. coin collectors search for coins with this consideration in mind.

You may be surprised to know how frequent valuable coins pass through your fingers. Did you know that several American coins minted before 1965 had a tremendous 90% silver content? Not everyone realizes this fact and even fewer are wise enough to hold on to these coins when the opportunity presents itself. Bear in mind that heavier coins are worth more than their lightweight counterparts, so be on the lookout for these when you start and later expand your collection.

5. Find peace of mind

There is something incredibly fulfilling, relaxing, and serene about browsing through your collection, taking inventory, and looking for one specific coin. Hobbies help relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy. They give you a way to take your mind off the stresses of everyday life. Coin collecting can also help build your social life by creating a close bond with other collectors and coin enthusiasts.

When to Start a Coin Collection

There are dozens of different ways to collect coins, and when you should start collecting is a personal decision. Many novice collectors impulsively buy a coin or two that they simply happen to like. In other circumstances, some budding collectors invest in currencies related to the place where they grew up, or an era that they are fascinated with. There are also collectors who just happened to come across a rare coin, and in that instance, decided that they would begin collecting currencies. The point is, how you choose to start your collection must be something that drives you to make that first, second, and third purchase.


Coin collectors have been around before the Roman Empire, and the practice itself is not dying down any time soon. Whether you think that the hobby is an absolute bore, or that it is a potential endeavor to embark upon, you can not deny that these five reasons are appealing. You may have a completely different reason for beginning a collection, but whatever the case — why not give it a shot? It’s not like you have much to lose. Several people probably think that coin collecting is an utter waste of money or that it will take way too long. As for the latter, that’s kind of the point of collecting. It should take a long time, which makes it much more challenging and fun.

Sell Your Coins to Biltmore Loan

One of the many advantages of owning coins and precious metals is the extra financial security they provide. Gold, silver, and platinum have substantial value that you can use in case you need extra money. Biltmore Loan offers two options for tapping the value of precious metals, including selling or applying for a collateral loan. If you are interested, call us today at 480-991-5626 for Scottsdale or 480-705-5626 for Chandler. You may also fill up our online form for a free market appraisal.


The 411 on Arizona Gold: Discovery and Uses

Arizona is one of the largest gold-producing states in the United States with numerous gold-bearing rivers. Gravity tends to make gold collect in rivers, and Arizona is abundant in both which makes it a favorite among gold prospectors. Gold deposits are plentiful in the state’s Santa Cruz, Hassayampa, Colorado, Gila, San Francisco, and Santa Maria rivers, most of which are easily accessible to the public for prospecting.

This article discusses gold, its value and uses, as well as the top counties for gold prospecting in Arizona and gold prospecting tips.

Uses and Value of Gold

Gold is undoubtedly one of the most valuable metals on earth. Its versatility makes it ideal for use in architecture, electronics, and jewelry design. Gold is one of the easiest metals to work with because of its extreme malleability. It can be stretched out extensively — an ounce of gold can be stretched out to up to 300 square feet. It is resistant to oxidation, does not tarnish, and is an excellent conductor of both electricity and heat. It can be melted and cast into different shapes, even intricate ones, and is a suitable alloy for other metals, which is why it is often used in elaborate interior design and architecture, as well as in creating jewelry.

The primary use of gold is in jewelry making, with 78% of the gold mined every year used in manufacturing it. This is because gold possesses characteristics that make it ideal for the creation of intricate jewelry, such its beautiful luster, malleability, and highly coveted yellow color. As mentioned earlier, it does not tarnish, so jewelry made of gold is expected to last for many generations. Gold also symbolizes luck and prosperity, which is why highly valuable and treasured objects are expected to be made from gold.

Apart from jewelry, gold is also used in interior design and furniture making. It is not uncommon to hear of palaces and mansions decked out in gold door knobs, door frames, golden window grills and gates, candelabras, cups, and even tableware. It is a symbol of opulence, which is why royalty and the wealthy prefer it.

Gold is also used as a financial backing for currency, often in the form of bullion or small gold bars. Although gold is no longer heavily used in modern transactions, there are still governments, institutions, and wealthy individuals who invest in gold bullion because of its convenience. Gold is also used to produce highly coveted coins, which, today, are often used as commemorative items. Gold coins are issued in specific weights so that people can purchase and own small amounts of gold for investing purposes.

Gold is also widely used in dental work, particularly in fillings. It is also used in medical procedures, mostly as a drug to treat medical conditions. It is also used in the manufacturing of surgical instruments, electronic equipment, and life support devices, as it is nonreactive and will not cause any harm to the patient’s body.

Finally, gold is used in the creation of electronics such as cellular phones, personal digital assistants, GPS units, and appliances such as televisions. Electronics and appliances made with gold are often sturdier and considered far more valuable than those made without it.

Gold Prospecting in Arizona

Arizona has been producing gold for hundreds of years. Here are some of the top gold producing counties in the state:

  • Yavapai County ranks as the top producer of gold in Arizona because it is where Lynx Creek District, one of the areas richest in gold in the state, is found. A considerable majority of the gold that has been recovered in this area are placer deposits. The county is also home to the Weaver or Rich Hill District, where placers, as well as large nuggets, can be found. There are also several districts in the county that produce gold from lode deposits, as well as byproducts from copper mining. This county is also near the gold-rich Hassayampa River. The county has been producing gold for over 150 years and counting
  • The Mohave County is the second wealthiest producer of gold in Arizona, producing more than over two million ounces of gold, mostly from lode deposits. The area is known for having extremely rich gold deposits as early as 1863. Furthermore, much of the gold has been extracted as a byproduct. The area is also where the famed King Tut placers can be found, which most of the gold located on private lands, but have been worked since the 1930s.
  • Cochese County, the third largest gold producer in Arizona, has produced significant amounts of gold, mostly lode deposits and placers. Coarse gold and nuggets have been found in the area. It is also known to be a source of placer gold, some of which are coarse in texture. It is home to the Bisbee District, the largest gold producer in the county, with the gold resulting as a byproduct of base metal lining.

Arizona Gold Prospecting Tips

Arizona is known for its arid environment, and water is a limiting factor in prospecting. Metal detecting and dry washing are highly recommended methods in prospecting. The rising price of gold and the growing number of prospectors have made it difficult to locate areas that are open and available for prospecting, which is why extensive research is needed before any effort is made. It is ideal to research the area you are targeting to ensure that it has not been previously claimed by another gold seeker. Joining a local club of prospectors is an excellent way to get access to private lands where you can freely look for gold. These clubs will also help you with the best and most effective gold prospecting methods.

Arizona has a lot of gold producing areas that are still untapped. After all, the state’s environmental conditions make it the perfect location for gold deposits. One simply has to know where to look.

Trade Your Gold for Cash

With gold’s many uses and its symbolism of wealth, it’s no wonder people in the past and present fought and paid good money to have it in their possession. If you have gold that you would like to sell or loan for cash, visit our Scottsdale (480-991-5626) or Chandler (480-705-5626) locations to get a fair price it.

Fishing for Gold: Arizona Rivers that Actually Spawn Gold

Arizona is a favorite among gold prospectors given its location, weather conditions, and general environment that are all ideal hotspots for gold. One of the reasons Arizona is perfect for gold prospecting is that public lands open to exploration are easily accessible.

Gold tends to concentrate in rivers due to gravity, which is why they are always a good place to start when gold prospecting. Rivers may be dry for some time during the year, but keep in mind that there is still gold in there and with the correct prospecting techniques, they are not hard to find. This article discusses gold, its many uses, its value, and where to find them in Arizona.

Gold and its uses

Gold as a chemical element has the symbol Au and atomic number 79; a bright, slightly reddish-yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is extremely valuable because it is commonly used in jewelry and decoration, and to guarantee the value of currencies. It is known as one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold also is known for its ability to conduct both electricity and heat, and has a rather high density at 19.3 grams per cubic centimeter, making it denser than lead.

That it is highly malleable makes it very popular in architecture and jewelry design. In fact, among metals, it is the most easily pressed out. An ounce of gold can be stretched to over 300 square feet. It is also highly resistant to oxidation, even if it is exposed to extreme temperatures and oxygen. It is a highly resilient metal that is unaffected by most acids and bases.

Gold has been touted as the most useful metal because apart from being malleable and resistant to oxidation, it is very easy to work, does not tarnish, and can be hammered into thin sheets or drawn into wire. It can also be used as an alloy with many other metals, and it can be melted and cast into highly detailed shapes.

Apart from its extensive use in jewelry, gold is also used in financial transactions. Early transactions dating back to more than 6000 years ago were done using pieces of gold. Today, gold is used as bullion, where it is cast into small bars for easy handling, exchange, and storage. It is also made into coins, which are highly valuable, and are often commemorative items. Gold is also used in electronic devices such as smartphones, calculators, GPS units, personal digital assistants, and both small and large electronic appliances.

What is the Value of Gold?

The price of gold changes every few seconds, with numerous factors determining the changes, such as current events, market speculation, currency values, supply and demand, and buying power, among others. It is usually the larger entities and governments that heavily influence the price of gold per ounce due to their substantial buying power. Through these changes, one thing remains constant – gold is extremely valuable and comes with a very high price tag. As of this writing, the spot price of gold is at $1,300 per ounce. Keep in mind though that you cannot simply purchase gold at its spot price because it does not include fabrication and distribution cost, as well as small dealer markup. Gold coin values can vary as well, depending on the date of creation, country of origin, and their rarity.

The richest gold-bearing rivers in Arizona

Here are six of the richest gold-bearing rivers in Arizona that have been popular among miners. These rivers have been mined for gold as early as the 1860s:

  • Colorado River

Placer gold has been found in several sites along this river’s mining area, particularly on the Temple Bar north of the White Hills. Gold can also be found on its riverbed, both on the Arizona and Nevada sides. Coarse gold has been reported to occur near the outer bow of the river in the Black Canyon quadrangle, while finely distributed gold contained the sandbars opposite the El Dorado Canyon on the Arizona side. There are some areas of the river that is off-limits to prospecting due to special designation.

  • Hassayampa River

Placer gold has been found in the headwaters of this river, particularly along the Groom Creek and the side gulches that feed into it. The gravels in the river near Walnut Grove has many boulders, with gold that is fine and flaky. Washes have also been reported as scenes of active placer mining, near the Little San Domingo Wash that drain to areas to the northeast of the river.

  • Gila River

Gold has been found in gravels in other gulches on the southern margin of the mountains far south of this river. Placers also occurred along the river from the junction of the San Francisco River southwest to Bonita and Spring Creeks. These are accessible by dirt roads parallel to the north bank of the river. Gold was also found in the ancient river gravels that mantled terraced bluffs of the Gila Conglomerate along the river downstream, from the mouth of Eagle Creek to Bonita Creek.

  • San Francisco River

The San Francisco River placers were along the course of the San Francisco River. The gold is found in ancient river gravels 50-60 feet above the level of the present riverbed, from the vicinity of Dorsey Gulch south to the vicinity of Clifton. Fine flakes of gold were also recovered from Morenci Gulch, a southeast-flowing tributary of the San Francisco River. Gold was also contained in old river gravels resting on the conglomerate in some of the curves. The Smuggler placer mine was at a bend in this river. The gravels in this area contained a significant amount of fine gold.

  • Santa Cruz River

Placers have been known to occur in Guebabi Canyon, draining to the northwest flanks of the Patagonia Mountains and crossing an alluvial plain to the Santa Cruz River.

Placers also occurred on the eastern side of Mount Benedict near the Santa Cruz River. Most of the gold here is very fine, and since the river is almost always dry due to the hot southern Arizona climate, it can be challenging to recover much gold except in select areas.

Gold prospecting is a very challenging endeavor that needs a lot of resources, so it is always a good idea to research intensively before any effort is done. It is best to start looking for gold in rivers and in rich gold-producing areas like Arizona. Understanding the value of gold and its many uses makes the effort of prospecting worth it.

Cash in Your Gold!

Who would have thought that the waters of Arizona were thriving with gold? If you are in possession of gold that you would like to sell or loan for money, visit our Scottsdale (480-991-5626) or Chandler (480-705-5626) locations to unveil the true value of your gold.


All About Palladium – A Precious Metal

Since 1939, palladium has been used as a precious metal and alternative to platinum in jewelry. It is part of the “white gold” group of alloys where the natural white palladium color does not require plating by rhodium. Compared to platinum, palladium is not as dense. Like gold, palladium can be beaten thin as a leaf. Palladium, unlike platinum, might discolor at temperatures higher than four hundred degrees Celsius and is more brittle. One of the three alloying metals that are most popular in white gold, palladium-gold is more expensive than nickel-gold. It does not cause as many allergies although with nickel, some cross-allergies could occur.

Palladium Discovery

In 1803, the English chemist William Hyde Wollaston discovered palladium. This happened while he analyzed platinum ore samples were taken from South America. Even if this element is rare, palladium has a tendency to happen along with deposits of gold, silver, copper, nickel and platinum. It is recovered as a mining byproduct of other metal substances.

A Chemical Element

Palladium has atomic number forty-six and is a chemical element. It is a lustrous, rare silvery-white metal which Wollaston discovered in 1803. The name comes from the Pallas asteroid, which is named after Athena, the Greek goddess. Palladium is part of the platinum group of elements osmium, iridium, ruthenium, rhodium, platinum and palladium. These all have chemical properties that are similar. However, palladium happens to be the least dense and has a melting point which is the lowest among the group.

More than half of the palladium supply is used to convert as much as ninety percent harmful gases in the exhaust of automobiles into substances which are less noxious, such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and nitrogen. Also, palladium is used in hydrogen purification, medicine, dentistry and electronics. It is also used in jewelry, treating groundwater and chemical applications. One key fuel cell component is palladium. This reacts oxygen with hydrogen to produce water, heat and electricity.

It is rare to find other PGMs and palladium ore deposits. When it comes to the deposits, the most extensive has been found in South Africa. There have also been findings in Russia, Canada and the United States. Another source is recycling, mostly from catalytic scrapped converters.

There is a lot of interest in palladium because there are limited sources of supply and yet numerous applications.

Palladium Uses

The uses of palladium involve making surgical instruments, watch springs and electrical contacts.  Most uses for palladium involve being catalytic converters for cars. It is also used in dental crowns, dental filling and in jewelry. One gold alloy that has been decolorized by alloying with another metal is white gold. Sometimes, the same goes for palladium.

It is used in the industry of electronics in capacitors that are ceramic. It is also used in mobile phones and laptop computers. These consist of palladium layers that are sandwiched between ceramic layers.

Palladium divided finely is a great catalyst and is used for dehydrogenation and hydrogenation reactions. Through heated palladium, hydrogen easily diffuses and provides a method for the separation and purification of gas.

Precious Metals Series

All About Ruthenium – Precious Metals Series

The first of the noble metals on the periodic table, Ruthenium is part of the star members in the group of platinum and gold. These are shiny, expensive metals used often in lab ware and jewelry. Plated jewelry made with Ruthenium is quite common but not as common as gold plated jewelry. Items plated with Ruthenium have a pewter, darkish color compared to platings of rhodium and silver.

The last of the six group-platinum metals to be discovered, it is the last on the list of platinums. Initially, the discovery of ruthenium was assumed to happen in 1828 when Swedish chemists examined crude platinum ore residues after dissolving them in a concentrated solution of nitric acids and hydrochloric acids. It was believed by one of the chemists that there were three new residues of metals called ruthenium, polonium and pluranium. However,  his partner Berzelius was feeling skeptical.

In Kazan, Russa later on in 1844, the results were repeated in order to be clarified by Karl K. Klaus. He wanted to prove that in the residues there was only one metal present. For this new metal, he kept the name ruthenium, which was originally coined by Osann, his partner.

Obtaining The Salt

A lengthy process was used to obtain the salt ammonium chlororuthenate that was necessary to isolate the ruthenium metal and get its properties identified. The name of the element comes from Ruthenia, a Latin word which means Russia in English. The reason for this was because the ores of platinum were originally from Russia’s Ural Mountains.


Ruthenium is a brittle, lustrous, hard and very rare silvery-white metal that at room temperature that  does not tarnish. It can also exist in many states of oxidation, which is typical of transition metals. The most common oxidation state is state 2, 3 and 4. Acids, water and air do not affect this metal. Rather, it reacts with halogens and molten alkali and can explosively oxidize.

You can find Ruthenium in nature freely with other groups of platinum metals. It can be obtained commercially from pentlandite, a sulfide of nickel and iron, which both contain small ruthenium quantities. It can also be extracted from nuclear fuel that has been spent. On the other hand, if this is how you obtain it, it will contain isotopes that are radioactive. It needs to be safely stored for a decade until the isotopes that are radioactive go through decay.

Ruthenium uses

In order to harden palladium and platinum, small amounts of ruthenium are used. This can also be alloyed together with them in order to create electric contacts for severe resistance and wear. When you add 0.1 per cent of ruthenium it improves titanium’s corrosion resistance a hundred times. With the catalytic property of Ruthenium, light is able to split hydrogen sulfide in the presence of a suspension of aqueous suspension of particles of cadmium sulfide loaded with ruthenium dioxide. What’s interesting is that some nibs of Parker pens use ruthenium, such as the Parker 51 which has a nib marked RU, consisting of 3.8% iridium and 96.2% ruthenium.

Precious Metals Series

All About Iridium – Precious Metals Series

Do you have jewelry made out of iridium? This is quite rare and at over $900 per ounce as the current price, you may have a very expensive piece on your hands.

Quite rare, iridium is a brittle, hard member of the family of platinum. It has appeared commonly on fountain pen nibs, x-ray optics, and unmanned space crafts. In 2009, it was announced by American Elements that they would begin production of the first ever pure jewelry made of iridium. Its value typically is about $970 per ounce.

The Discovery of Iridium

In 1803, Iridium was discovered by Smithson Tennant, an English chemist in London. He found it in the remaining residue where aqua regia had dissolved platinum. Aqua regia is a mix of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. At the same time, he also discovered osmium. The Latin word for iris is where the term Iridium comes from, which actually means rainbow. The reason for this is that there are many colors in its salts.

In rocks that date to sixty-five million years ago between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, abnormally high iridium amounts have been found. This led to a belief that a comet containing iridium may have struck the earth at that time, which led to the dinosaurs’ extinction and many other life forms.


Iridium is a brittle, lustrous, hard, rare and very dense metal like platinum. It is not very reactive chemically. It is a metal most resistant to corrosion and it resists any acid attack. Molten salts attack iridium such as sodium cyanide and sodium chloride. Generally, iridium is credited with being the element second-densest after osmium based on the density measured. Calculations that involve the space lattice of the elements show that there is more density in iridium.

Iridium uses

Iridium’s main use is as an agent for hardening allows of platinum. It forms an alloy with osmium that can be used for pen tips and bearing for compasses. Iridium is utilized for making equipment used at high temperatures such as crucibles. It is also used for making electrical contacts that are heavy-duty. Used in making international standard kilogram, this is an alloy of ten percent iridium and ninety percent platinum. Iridium radioactive isotopes are used for the treatment of cancer in radiation therapy.

Modulus of Elasticity

The modulus of elasticity of iridium is, among the metals, the second highest. Only osmium surpasses iridium in this respect. This, along with a low figure on the Poisson’s ratio and the high rigidity modulus, indicates a high tendency for stiffness and deformation-resistance that rendered its fabrications into useful components quite difficult. Even with the high cost of iridium and these limitations, many different applications have occurred in which mechanical strength is a factor essential in some of modern technology’s most severe conditions.

Precious Metals Series

All About Rhodium – Precious Metals Series

An element that is pure silver-white, rhodium is listed on the periodic table as a transition metal. This element is a member of the group of platinum, along with ruthenium, platinum, palladium, osmium and iridium. It is a very rare precious metal. Depending on the current market for the price of rhodium, it is usually the precious metal with the highest price tag. For example, one ounce of rhodium has a price tag of between two thousand dollars to two thousand five hundred dollars per ounce. At times, prices fluctuate and at one point the price even reached up to ten thousand dollars an ounce.

Rhodium has extremely high reflective light characteristics. It is resistant to scratches, tarnish, corrosion and is extremely durable.

Rhodium Plating

Frequently, plating with rhodium is used for increasing the durability, strength and bright look of white gold, platinum and silver jewelry. However, with time, the plate on the jewelry will tend to wear off. It is thus important to purchase jewelry with the right plating thickness in order to avoid constant re-plating and discoloration of the ring.

Couples will also need to make a decision whether or not they want to deal with the added time and expense of having to constantly re-plate their wedding rings and jewelry in general. At times, it can be a better option to use alternative to rhodium plating. With time, annual re-plating will tend to be very expensive.

Rhodium Flashing

The correct term for jewelry plated with rhodium is rhodium flashing. This is a method that coats a fine rhodium layer over silver platinum or white gold in order to increase their shine and durability. This process is temporary since, with time, plated rhodium jewelry wears off. The time it remains intact depends on how much use the piece of jewelry is put through and also how thick the plating was originally. For instance, earrings might retain their plated rhodium year after year. However, rings that are on your hand and exposed to wear daily will require a different plating of between one and two years. If the first plating was quite thin, extra ring plating will be necessary within the year.

It does not take very long to re-plate rhodium rings. Most jewelers in the professional setting are accustomed to doing this. With time, white gold starts to become yellow and if it was not plated with rhodium. Once this starts to happen, another coat of rhodium can restore the white gold color of jewelry.

How Thick Is Enough?

When it comes to your wedding ring, the ideal rhodium thickness is between .75 to about one-and-a-half microns. To give you a clue about how thin this is, the hair of human beings is one hundred microns. When jewelry is not worn every day, it can take years for pieces to retain their plating of between .10 and .50. However, for wedding rings that are exposed on a continuing basis, it is best to get thicker plating.


Precious Metals Series

All About Indium – Precious Metal Series

Indium is a lustrous, malleable, soft and ductile metal. It is silver white in color and has a tetragonal structure that is face-centered. Over a broad range of temperatures, indium is liquid, just like its group mate, gallium. Both gallium and indium are able to wet glass. In the air and in water, indium remains stable. However, in acids, it dissolves. Indium ignites when heated above its melting point and a violent flame is created.

Not Widely Dispersed

In the environment, indium is not exactly dispersed widely. Soils that are cultivated are reported to have a richer indium content compared to sites that are not cultivated. In the industry, indium is the by-product of smelting lead and zinc sulfide ores. In Russia, specimens of indium uncombined metal have been found. In Siberia, indite, an indium mineral has been found as well, but rarely. Production of Indium in the world comes from Canada, mainly with about seventy-five annual tonnes. The metal reserves are estimated to be more than one thousand five hundred tonnes.

Uses of Indium

Indium is utilized in fusible allows that are low-melting. It is used as a protective plate for metal surfaces such as bearings. It can be utilized to form a mirror surface resistant to corrosion. When allowed to deposit on glass and evaporated, it produces a mirror with the same great quality as silver. Foils of indium are used for assessing what is happening inside nuclear reactors. Also, indium is used in sodium vapor lamps as a light filter.

Also, Indium is exclusively produced during the time when other metal ores are processed. The main material sources are ores of sulfidic zinc, which sphalerite mostly hosts. There are also most likely minor amounts extracted from ores of sulfidic copper. During zinc smelting’s electrowinning process, indium accumulates in the residues rich in iron. From that point, there are different ways to extract it. It can also be directly recovered from the processed solutions. Electrolysis further purifies indium. The process varies with every smelter mode of operation.

The status indium has as a by-product indicates that the production is constrained by the amount of comer and sulfidic zinc ores extracted every year. Thus, in terms of supply potential, its availability needs to be discussed. At the moment China is indium’s leading producer with its 2016 production of 290 tonnes. South Korea comes next and then at 70 tonnes, Japan. In fourth place is Canada with 65 tonnes. LCD production is the reason for the main consumption of indium. There was a rapid rise in demand from the late nineties to 2010 with the LCD computer monitor becoming very popular as well as TV sets which account for half of the consumption of indium. Particularly in Japan, the increased efficiency of manufacturing maintains a balance between supply and demand. Keep in mind that there is a less than one per cent recycling rate for the end-of-life of Indium, however.