Precious Metals Recycling Service

Trust our expert team of Precious Metal Assessors to process your valuable precious scrap thoroughly and accurately. You'll recover up to 85% of the value of your properly sorted silver (including PMC®), gold, silver-filled, gold-filled, palladium and platinum scrap.

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Payout and Credit Options

We can credit directly to your Rio Grande account, send you a check or make a direct transfer to your bank account. Unfortunately, we cannot apply credit to your credit card.

If you want to split your precious metal scrap payment, you must send the precious metal scrap in separate lots, each with a separate packing list (see below) marked with the desired option for that particular lot. Due to provisions in the Patriot Act, we cannot issue checks to parties unknown to us; all payees must have a Rio Grande account.

If you purchase fabrication materials on the same day that your scrap refund is credited to your Rio Grande account, both transactions will be processed at the same market price.

Please Note: We are experiencing increased demand for our Precious Metals Recycling Service due to high gold and silver metal market prices. Our Precious Metal Assessors are working diligently to process your scrap as quickly and efficiently as possible. The current processing time is five days.

Once the assessors have made their evaluation, our Returns Team closes the scrap process. The rate you will receive for your scrap is locked in at the time the scrap process is closed, not when we receive your scrap package.


What Precious Metals Can You Recycle?

An example of scrap that we can accept

We can accept:

  • Silver and silver-filled
  • Gold and gold-filled
  • PMC®
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Vermeil (gold-plated silver) scrap. However, we only pay for the silver content of vermeil scrap. The amount of gold present is not economical to recover.
An example of scrap that we can accept

We can't accept:

  • Dental scrap
  • Gold-filled watch bands (due to the underlying substrate on these items)
  • Plated non-precious metal jewelry (we can't recover the precious metal from these items
  • Base metal (including copper, brass, bronze and nickel)
  • Electroplating solutions
  • Photographic film or developing liquid

We will need to physically alter precious metal scrap to determine its purity. Please be aware that your scrap may be permanently altered during testing.

Mokume Gane sweeps on an anvil

Sweeps vs. Filings

Filings (aka swarf) result from work processes such as drilling, sawing, filing, grinding, etc., that are captured in trays, tools or on benchtops. Filings will be the same color as the metal they came from and are acceptable as precious metal scrap.

Sweeps tend to be darker in color than the metal they came from as they are mixed with polishing compounds, abrasive cast-off, dirt and other non-metal debris.

Rio Grande does not recycle sweeps. If you have precious metal sweeps that don't meet refiners' minimums, please consider donating them to our Sweeps for CERF program.

Before You Send Your Scrap

You can significantly speed up your scrap processing time by cleaning and removing gemstones, separating your metals, and clearly labeling your precious metal scrap before you send it to us.

1. Clean your scrap.

Your precious metal scrap cannot contain any of the following:

  • Ferrous (magnetic) items. Use a magnet to draw out non-precious metals that may look similar to silver or gold. Note that some gold-filled materials can be somewhat magnetic.
  • Watch movements and the working parts of pens or mechanical pencils.
  • Organic waste (such as pet hair, dental refuse or fingernail clippings).
  • Debris (such as tape, paper or stencils).
  • Hazardous materials (such as plating solution, cyanide, acid or metals containing lead).
Cleaned silver scrap

2. Remove all set or inlaid gemstones.

We do not buy gemstones or offer a gemstone removal service, and we cannot return gemstones to you. Stones left in their settings will also slow the processing of your precious metal scrap and delay your payment.

Jeweler removing a set turquiose from a silver bezel

3. Sort your scrap by metal type.

If you are unsure of your materials, consider testing them. This may require the use of a test kit and a file to get below the uppermost metal layer to find the true makeup of the item. If we can provide any help choosing testing tools or supplies, or answer any questions about testing your metals, please contact us.

Metal scrap sorted between 12k gold and gold-filled

4. Weigh and label your sorted precious metals.

The weight of your precious metal scrap on your postal or grocery scale (which is normally set to avoirdupois ounces) may vary from what we report.

We weigh in troy ounces for silver, gold-filled and palladium, and in pennyweights (dwt) for karat gold and platinum. 1.0 troy oz. = 1.097 avoirdupois oz.; 1.0 dwt = 0.055 avoirdupois oz.

Variations in weight between two scales
A 1,000-gram weight shown as 32.12 troy ounces (left scale display) and 35.29 avoirdupois ounces (right scale display).

What Is Your Precious Metal Scrap Worth?

Payment amounts* are based on the percentage of precious metal in your scrap at the current market value on the day we process your precious metal scrap return, regardless of when it was shipped or received. Some metals require a melting process, which could result in weight loss due to alloys or debris mixed with the metals. Container or bag weight may also cause a slight weight difference. We calibrate our scales monthly.

Try out the Scrap Calculator >

Please Note: This is an "estimate" as refunds are based on marketing pricing and day Precious Metal Scrap is processed.

Scrap recycling is free for RioPro members and the $50 fee will be waived during processing. If you're a Wholesale customer, the $50 fee will be waived for lots with a value of $500 or greater.

Complete and Sign Our Packing List

Download, print, completely fill out and sign our Precious Metal Scrap Packing List. Please note that we cannot process precious metal scrap without an accurate Scrap Packing List form and your signature.

For the fastest processing possible, please be sure to give us up-front "melt permission" by checking the top box. If you are a RioPro or a Rio for Schools educator, please check the box indicating your membership in these programs, which will waive your $50 fee. If you have a Wholesale Account, please check the box indicating that you accept the $50 fee.

Download the Packing List >
Scrap packing form

Package, Insure and Send

Package each metal type separately in zipper-style plastic bags. (Please do not use tape or any other adhesive to seal the bag—scrap can get caught or stuck and may be overlooked.) Package all bags and your completed Precious Metal Scrap Packing List in a box, securely sealed, and ship it to us at:

Attention: Returns
Rio Grande

7500 Bluewater Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87121
Scrap packing form

Domestic customers: To the best of our knowledge, USPS is the only carrier that will insure these packages, and only when they are sent Registered Mail.

To protect your property, we suggest that you ship your package by USPS Registered Mail and insure it fully, regardless of its size. Keep the receipt until your transaction is complete. Whichever carrier you choose, please contact them for details about properly insuring your package.

International customers: Declare your parcel as "scrap." Should your carrier ask for additional information, this U.S. import tariff chart may help. (In our experience, the U.S. Postal service does not charge fees for clearing parcels through customs.) Please be aware that Rio Grande does not pay for or reimburse freight charges, duties, taxes or carrier processing fees; please pre-pay all charges.

Processing and Payouts

After processing, we'll email you a copy of your transaction listing the type and weight of the scrap we received from you, the rate(s) at which it was paid and your total Rio Grande credit or payment.

Please review your invoice immediately. Any disputes regarding metal purity, weight or payment amount must be reported within five business days from the date on the invoice.

For International payouts: To comply with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act of 2010, Rio Grande must have a properly completed W8-BEN or W8-BENE on file for international payees before a check or bank transfer disbursement can be issued.

Packed gold and silver scrap