Sep 022010

One thing that we all deal with is scrap. Whether its botched work, or filings, or those little wire snips and bits; we can accumulate a lot of ‘scrap’ metal.

Some people use their scrap for sand, broomstraw, water, or other casting at home. A bit of the scrap metal can often be used as embellishments on new pieces of jewelry, but at some point, most of us will end up with a bag, box, or even bucket full of metal.

What do you do with it?

One consideration is to send it in to a refiner and have them either give you ‘cash back’ (a check) or a credit on a subsequent purchase of metal, tools.

How do return programs work?

Basically you are going to package your scrap and send it to a refiner and they are going to either give you cash back – or a credit on future purchases.

You will need to separate your scrap. Remove any stones, organize it by metal type, and in some instances, remove any soldered parts. Each refinery has their specific instructions, read carefully or call to find out how best to ‘clean’ and package your scrap.

Then you send it in, usually with a form specific to their company, but sometimes with a note. They will log, weigh, assay, weigh, check current spot/market prices, and then do some math to calculate your return.

Who has the best prices?

That seems to be the million dollar question.

Return prices vary from company to company and then each one usually has different prices within their own system which are determined by the amount you send in, whether you want cash or trade, and how quickly you want it turned around (rush or standard?).

In addition, some companies have refining fees, surcharges, etc that will affect your return. It is in your best interest to ask before hand about any and all charges/fees.

To help get you started, we have researched a few companies and have created a list of their current scrap return/refining rates.

These are listed alphabetically and do not necessarily include the surcharges or refining fees. If you have another company to recommend or someone you want us to check out, please use the contact tab above to let us know!

  • G&S Metals

  • Silver Scrap buy – 90% – credit acct. 90%
  • Silver/Bars/Coins – 95%
  • Gold Bars/Coins – 95%
  • Platinum and Pd – 90%
  • Argentium Silver – 90%

  • Hausser and Miller

< 150 oz 81%

> 150 oz 98%

  • High Tech PMR

gold – 98%

silver – 92%

platinum – 92%

you need their patriot act form to open an account

and they have a shipping form that is downloadable on their website

you can send both at the same time with your first shipment and then just the packing slip for future shipments.

  • Hoover & Strong
will accept mixed material, however, separating scrap is recommended.

NOTE: there are refining fees of anywhere from $1.00 to $1.25 an ounce.


> 90% fine silver  65 – 85% depending on weight and return time requested

<90% pure silver 65-70% depending on return time requested


> 25 % fine gold  94-98% depending on quantity and return time requested

10-24% fine gold 94-95%

<10% 89-90%

Platinum or palladium

> 90% 89-96% depending on weight and return time requested

  • Midwest Refineries

sterling scrap  90% of pure sterling assay

  • Monsterslayer

Sterling/Fine Silver Sheet, Wire & Precious Metals Clay (PMC) Scrap:
75 % of the current Silver Market in Trade or

we will pay 60 % of the current Silver Market in Cash.

Soldered, Brazed, or Melted Silver Scrap, Clean Filings, Chains, and Old Jewelry with quality marking:
55 % of the current Silver Market in Trade or

we will pay 45 % of the current Silver Market in Cash.

12k-14k Gold Filled Findings, Sheet, & Wire Scrap:
1.2 % of the current Gold Market in Trade or

we will pay 1.0 % of the current Gold Market in Cash.

Example: 1.2 % of a $ 1,000.00 Gold Market = $ 12.00 per OzT.

  • Rio


Fine silver and cadmium-free sterling silver*75%

Cadmium-bearing sterling silver (requires special refining) 65%

Silver dust 40%

Minted fine silver coins and bars from Rio Grande 98%

Minted fine silver coins and bars not sold by Rio Grande 92%

Gold-filled ( at least 12/20 ) 1.89% total weight

24K gold ( Jeweler’s karat gold scrap )**  75%

Minted 24KY gold coins from Rio Grande 98%

Minted 24KY gold coins not sold by Rio Grande 92%

Platinum*** 60%

Palladium**** 60%


Fine silver and cadmium-free sterling silver*65%

Cadmium-bearing sterling silver (requires special refining) 65%

Silver dust 40%

Minted fine silver coins and bars from Rio Grande 98%

Minted fine silver coins and bars not sold by Rio Grande 92%

Gold-filled ( at least 12/20 ) 1.89% total weight

24K gold ( Jeweler’s karat gold scrap )**  65%

Minted 24KY gold coins from Rio Grande 98%

Minted 24KY gold coins not sold by Rio Grande 92%

Platinum*** 60%

Palladium****  60%

  • Thunderbird Supply

unsoldered silver

80% of the for trade or

60% for unsoldered silver for cash

scrap jewelry or soldered pieces:

60% for trade

fine silver coins and bars

90% for trade or

85% for cash.

For gold-filled scrap
cash or trade 1.45%
[$900 gold market, ($900 x 0.0145 = $13.05) gold-filled scrap would be worth $13.05 per ounce.]



Handy & Harman Precious Metals Group

800.463.1465to speak with a Scrap Recovery Specialist

[note, I called and could not get through – press 3 for refining dept. then 1 if you are a new customer. The extension went into voice mail which said not to leave a message but to try another number which is – 416-419-3114 – I didn’t call because I’m not local! ]



Cookson Gold

Has a scrap metal chart similar to a live market chart – updated frequently but may not be accurate…


Download list as a PDF document


If you have other refiners we should add to the list, please use the contact tab above to let us know, we’ll verify and then update!




May 262010

Portland OR – Someone has come into some older jewelry equipment that they have no use for.

Per the person:
I don’t have any other knowledge of the equipment- they were not mine originally, and I have no skills- so a buyer would basically have to be an artist who knows his/her stuff.
It all looks practically new, except for the dust collected while sitting in the garage. As far as pricing goes….60% of the original cost seems a reasonable starting point to me. With the exception of the steam cleaner, all of the exact same models are still produced and distributed at the original prices by the manufacturers.There are good pictures and info about the tools on the companies’ websites, though.

1) Pepe Tools Double-Spindle Euro Polisher (for rings) Model 332 + Dust Collector + Pro Discs/Tools Set (orig. approx. $700) — sell for $450.00
(2) Optima Jr. Steam Cleaner Model 1400 (orig. $289)- discontinued model, so not online — sell for $75.00
(3) Quantrex L&R Model Q140H (orig. $420) — sell for $250.00
(4) Blue Star Electro-Plating Machine Model 500 (orig. $335) — $200.00

re: pricing – ‘will entertain all reasonable offers’

CONTACT the seller directly:

acarter_1 [!at]

May 202010

Up close and personal with Lisa Weber of Silver Vine Jewelry

Tell us a bit about yourself – where you grew up, your childhood dreams..was art a part of that?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY, in a family that was not at all artistic. Art was just a fun thing for kids to do, like stringing macaroni necklaces and drawing for fun. I always made things for presents, took art classes at school, and I was also very mechanically oriented. I loved tools, but no one in my family really used them. My aunt did, though, and I think it was in part the example she set as an intelligent educated, independent woman who fixed cars, built walls, put herself through college, and supported herself that let me know I could do whatever I wanted. In addition to the creative aspect of jewelry making, I think the tools are a big part of what drew me in!

Where are you located now?
I live with my husband, 3 kids, and 2 cats in the Poconos in PA. it’s just beautiful here, I have never regretted the move.

Describe your studio/creative space
I work in a studio in my basement. It used to be a wood shop (I used to do that, too!), but a few years into jewelry work, I got tired of my bench on the front porch. It was so beautiful outside, but the weather made it impossible to work out there from November to May! I moved the wood out of the way, built a new workbench, and my studio was born. It’s a very cramped, one-person space, so I dream of an upgrade in the future.

What are your favorite materials?
I work in sterling silver with a variety of gemstones. The silver is really what captures me though, I love working with the metal.

Has the internet affected your work/business? If yes, how so?
Absolutely, I use it for every aspect of my business, from researching how to accomplish certain techniques, to finding laces to teach and to learn. I sell my jewelry through the internet, buy booth displays, and meet jewelry friends to share with. And of course, the best is Janice, and the Jewelry Artists Network!!

What are your thoughts on:

“inspiration, imitation, infringement – when similarities in work go too far”
I think we have to define “too far”. There is really nothing new in jewelry. I use ideas from other people’s work all the time. Sometimes, I have gone so far as to copy something that I want to try out, but I would never mass produce that design and sell it as my own, That is what I would define as “too far”. We all mimic one another to some extent, trying on styles and techniques, and then moving beyond them. I think we need to expect that, but not abuse it.

How did you start teaching jewelry/metalsmithing?
I used to teach high school, so teaching is comfortable for me. I looked everywhere in my area for metals classes to take, but there were none. I saw that as a niche that I could fill, so I approached several bead shops and proposed some classes. I was really lucky that the shop nearly around the corner from me was interested, and I have been teaching there since January 2009.

Where do you teach and what are you presently teaching
Right now, I teach metal work at the Garden of Beadin, in Bartonsville, PA. My classes are project oriented, and range from basic metal work with no heat, through annealing, fusing, and soldering. I hope to be starting soon at a new shop as well.

What is the best part about teaching jewelry/metalsmithing?
So many things! I love interacting with the students. I love introducing beading students to metal work. I love that moment during soldering when understanding strikes, and the “aha!” happens. I love it when students new to metal work tell me they have set up their workbenches and adapted my designs to become their own. Of course in this economy, I love the extra income, but even more, I am pleased to be generating income through jewelry.

What is the most challenging part of teaching jewelry/metalsmithing?
Since my store doesn’t have a stocked metals studio, it’s a challenge to be sure I have everything I need. Trying to teach soldering when
I brought everything except flux was a real challenge! (It didn’t work, of course. I had to call home for flux.) The unexpected is always the most challenging. Recently, I had all beginners at one intermediate soldering class, they didn’t even have tools, while the next week, I had my most advanced students in my beginner’s class! You have to roll with the unexpected. If everyone comes out with a piece, it was a success.

How did you get into jewelry making?
I have always made things. In college, a friend showed me how to do macramé, and I still have some of the macramé jewelry I made back then. About 10 years ago, I bought a beautiful triple-strand amethyst bracelet at a craft festival. I was really fascinated with it; I loved that the beads were real stones (I had a geology degree by then), and I wanted to learn to make jewelry just as wonderful. My friend gave me a catalog from Fire Mountain Gems, I picked up some books from the library and the book store, and that was how I began making. Bead strands were cheaper 20 at a time, and that was how I started selling. I began to hammer out simple links, learned to anneal silver, and I was hooked. That’s how I started metal working.

If you could go back to the beginning and do one thing differently, what would it be?
I wish I could go back and eliminate procrastination. I often hesitate about taking new directions, trying new things. I can’t imagine what more I would be doing now if I had gone with my impulses instead of wondering “what if?”

How would you describe your style?
My work is usually very organic and nature oriented, full of trees, vines, and leaves.

How do you deal with periods of “creative block” or low creativity?
When you don’t know what to do, do something. If I can just make something, anything, I’ll often get ideas as I go, and that helps get the creative juices flowing again. I might just polish some tools, or make jump rings, or make some stock pieces, any work might help break my stalemate. And I look through my sketch books, or browse through websites of many talented jewelry artists to remind myself of what I love.

What’s the best advice you could give someone just starting out?
Learn as much as you can about what you like to do. There are so
many great craftsmen happy to share what they know. Find some and enjoy the ride!

Who are some of your favorite artists and crafters?
I love Betty Helen Longhi’s elegantly curved forms, John Cogswell’s beautiful forged (and other) work, Michael Boyd’s amazing stone work and use of color, Michael David Sturlin’s clean perfection.

What would we be surprised to find out about you?
I’m a vegetarian for 25 years, like to live in the woods, and sometimes pick wild plants for my own herbal tinctures. I’m sort of the family doctor.

Define ‘success’ for us……..what does it mean to you?
When strangers compliment my jewelry, not knowing that I made it, that is one kind of success. The first time a customer entered my booth at a show, saying “I have been looking for you everywhere! I bought your bracelet last year…” (fishing for it in her bag… uh oh – it broke… offer to fix it for free…) “Do you have some earrings to match?” Whew! Success! When I get great feedback and repeat purchases from my customers, I know they like my work and consider it good quality, and they measure my success for me.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to be earning a living from my jewelry in 10 years. I don’t know if I’m brave enough or skilled enough to make it happen, but it’s a goal.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Can I have some of Christy’s tootsie rolls? She’s good at sharing.

A sampling of Lisa’s work:

You can contact Lisa or view more of her work on her website or Etsy store.

Leave Lisa a comment below!

May 112010
  • Are they ever finished?
  • Should I have more than one set up depending on the type of show I am doing?
  • Do I really need a tent? If so, what kind and where should I buy it?
  • My display is b-o-r-i-n-g. How can I spruce it up? (especially on a tight budget?)
  • Just where am I going to STORE all of this?

Setting up a booth for a show can be an overwhelming task and truly, for some people, it is a never ending task as different elements are added or taken away or as the artists’ needs change.

Join us for a series on “Show Booths and Displays” where we will try to answer some questions, wade through the information, talk about resources, vendors, pricing, what works and doesn’t,  and we will track the evolution of the booths of several artists.

If you have specific questions or tips regarding booths and displays, please use the contact tab above or the comments below. The more input we receive, the more beneficial this series will be for all of us. 🙂

 Posted by at 2:00 pm
Apr 192010

A quick update:

Don’t forget about the first giveaway! Go here for details.

And we havea challenge underway – entry details may be found here.

Also, we have several new tutorials in the works – at least one will be a  free tutorial.  Look for releases to begin this week on these projects:

Some of these will be listed for sale and some will be FREE!

Some techniques you see above are cold connections, resin inlay, forging, chasing,  stone setting.

Use the contact tab up top to suggest a technique for us to write up!

Apr 122010

Today we feature a wonderful wire worker or wire weaver or ummm maybe a wire wizard?

Jill, of Twisted Sister Arts, transforms wire into fantastical designs that are elegant, inspiring, and sometimes, well, a little creepy. No matter which direction her muse takes her, the designs are ALWAYS interesting with so much movement that my eye never gets tired of looking.


Where are you located?

In my office. Actually in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, Naperville, Illinois

Describe your studio space.

It’s the larger of two extra bedrooms in the condo I live in. I’m blessed with the space, and I use the room entirely for me. Selfish, yes, mine, yes. I love it there. I’ve got all the mess I want, with a large two level glass and wood desk/workbench. I’ve got a paper file cabinet with a antique typesetters chest on top with a thousand little compartments to put all my little beads, stones and supplies in. There are 12 drawers with compartments, it’s a fabulous find. I have my photography area set up on one wall, and my favorite chair and ottoman to snuggle in. Sometimes my husband, to see me, will come sit there.

How did I get into jewelry?

Long story made short… I was selling hand dyed scarves and I needed scarf rings. I used aluminum wire, and copper core wire to start with, then switched to finer and finer wire, until I settled for 2 years with parawire. A year ago, a customer came into my store and bought 24 pieces, which gave me a foundation to believe in myself and the finances to buy sterling silver and the tools that I needed. She came back this week and bought another 12 pieces.

If I could go back to the beginning and do one thing differently, what it would be.

Disobey my parents. I love working with my hands, I love creating. I was told that I couldn’t make a living at it, that my art was not worthy of my attention. (Ha Ha, so there!)

How would I describe my style?

One word…organic. Furthermore, steampunk, art neuveau, twisted, rosettian, roccoco. The busier, the better. It’s very hard for me to keep it simple.

How do you deal with periods of creative “block”?

What’s that? I don’t have period of creative block. I have an over abundance of ideas, so I write them in an “idea book” that I keep in my purse so that I can jot them down.

What’s the best piece of advice I’ve received relating to my business.

Set goals. The reason I say that, there was a time in my life I wanted to (do) great things, but had no idea how to get there. If you set goals, no matter how small, you’ll get there a whole lot faster than if you don’t.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone just starting out?

Set goals, see above. Break it down into a daily routine that you can manage. Baby Steps.

Who are your favorite artists and crafters?

Not restricted to wire…or jewelry…Pink Martini. I listen to them while I work.

Jewelry…Mary Lee Hu. Linda Chandler.

How do I deal with the business side of my art?

I have a dear husband that has taken that responsibility from my shoulders. He also takes care of the house, and fixes dinner nightly. There was a time in my youth, when I had a top 500 floral shop chain, that my late husband and I worked together and I did my share of numbers and taxes. It’s much nicer on this side of the fence.

What do I do when I’m not working on jewelry?

My day job is a green and blooming plant buyer for a top 10 floral shop chain. I import plants from Canada, local growers and Florida for 8 retail locations. I love doing it, but the hours are long and the holidays are murder.

What would you be surprised to find out about me?

I like ABBA. Whoohooo!

Define “success” for us….what does that mean to you?

Success to me is the freedom to create what I want, when I want, to please myself creatively, without worry of selling it for money, or to sell my soul.

Where would I like to see myself in 10 years?

See above…I really wish to quit my day job, and be able to support myself and my household with health insurance and an IRA

Anything else I’d like to share?
I’d like to be able to help women if they are in abusive situations, to get out, to grow, to support themselves with truth and beauty. I’ve seen too much hurt and anger in the world to let it continue.
Just a sampling of Jill’s wonderful wirework!
See more of Jill’s work in her Etsy shop:


Want to suggest an artist for us to SPOTLIGHT! Or if you want to be a SPOTLIGHT! artist yourself…..

Use the contact us tab at the top of the page!


See previous SPOTLIGHT! interviews: SPOTLIGHT! archive