Precious Metals Recycling Service

Turn your precious metal scrap into the jewelry-making supplies you need! Rio Grande's Precious Metals Recycling Service can help you recover up to 85% of the precious metal value of your properly sorted silver (including PMC®), silver-filled, gold, gold-filled, palladium and platinum scrap. You'll also get the added benefits of:

  • A Trusted Partner: Our expert team of Precious Metal Assessors maintains the highest standards for thoroughness and accuracy. Professional jewelers trust Rio Grande with their valuable precious metal scrap.
  • Convenience: We'll add credit directly to your Rio Grande account, send you a check or make a direct transfer to your bank account.
  • Speedy Processing: Properly sorted precious metal scrap can usually be processed in five business days.
  • Value: When you purchase fresh fabrication materials on the same day that precious metal scrap is credited to your account, you'll replenish your stock at the same market price at which you sold your scrap—an even exchange, whether the market is up or down.

What Precious Metals Can I Recycle?

Gold Scrap
Silver Scrap
Gold Scrap

  • We accept silver, silver-filled, gold, gold-filled, palladium, platinum and PMC® items.
  • We can't accept gold-filled watch bands (due to the underlying substrate on these items), base metal (including copper, brass, bronze and nickel), electroplating solutions, photographic film or developing liquid, or sweeps. Please do not send plated non-precious metal jewelry; we cannot recover the precious metal from this type of jewelry.
  • If you have precious metal sweeps that don't meet refiners' minimums, please consider donating them to our Sweeps for CERF program.

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


How to Start Recycling Your Precious Metal Scrap

Put your precious metal scrap to work for your business ... our Precious Metals Recycling Service makes it easy as 1, 2, 3!


1
Precious Metals Preparation Guidelines

Cleaning your precious metal scrap, removing gemstones, separating your metals and clearly labeling your precious metal scrap before shipping significantly speeds processing time.

Magnet through precious metal scrap

Clean your precious metal scrap to ensure it does not include the following materials:

  • 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).
Scrap metal with stones removed

Remove all gemstones.

Please remove all set or inlaid stones or other non-metal materials. We cannot process set gemstones and cannot return them to you. Stones left in their settings will also slow the processing of your precious metal scrap and delay your payment.

Precious metals seperated

Separate your precious metal scrap by metal type.

Silver, gold-filled and palladium are weighed by the troy ounce (ozt); karat gold and platinum are weighed by the pennyweight (dwt). To help you sort your metals:

  • Look for quality stamps on your materials. Some examples are: ".925," "Sterling," "GF," "14/10, " "14/20," "10K," "14K," "18K" and "PLAT." You may need a loupe or other magnifying tool to see these markings as they can be small and stamped in inconspicuous places.
  • 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.
Two scales showing the same weight but the difference between troy ounces and avoirdupois ounces
A 1,000-gram weight shown as 32.12 troy ounces (left scale display) and 35.29 avoirdupois ounces (right scale display).

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.


2
Precious Metal Scrap Packing List

Magnet through precious metal scrap

Download, print, completely fill out and sign our Precious Metal Scrap Packing List. An accurate, signed packing list must accompany your precious metal scrap return in order for us to process your precious metal scrap in a timely fashion.

For the fastest processing possible, please be sure to give us up-front "melt permission" by checking the top box. Please note that we cannot process precious metal scrap without your signature.


3
Insure and Send

Insure and send icon

Sort and prepare scrap according to the Precious Metals Preparation Guidelines. 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

After processing, you will be emailed 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 the total Rio 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.

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. In order 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, however, 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 does not pay for or reimburse freight charges, duties, taxes or carrier processing fees; please pre-pay all charges.

Scrap Content Tariff Number
Gold (including metal clad with gold) 7112.91.00
Platinum 7112.92.00
Other (sterling, Argentium®, fine silver, silver-filled) 7112.99.00

What Is My 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. While we make every effort to process your shipment within five business days, high volumes, additional testing and circumstances beyond our control could affect processing time.

*Please Note: Due to provisions in the Patriot Act, we cannot issue checks to parties unknown to us; all payees must have a Rio Grande account.

Estimating Your Precious Metal Scrap Payout

Once your precious metal scrap is properly sorted and weighed, you can use our precious metal scrap calculator to estimate your approximate scrap return value. It's a quick and easy way to get a general estimate based on the current metal market.

Pricing shown in this calculator should be considered to be a guide only; final pricing will be based on the most current metal markets at the time your precious metal scrap is processed.


Precious Metals Recycling Service FAQ

Precious metal scrap returns are generally processed and completed in five business days after we receive your scrap.

Please Note: "Completed" means that the check has been cut and mailed, the credit has been applied to your account, or we have initiated the ACH. We have no control over transit time in the mail or the time it takes for your bank to apply the credit to your account.

Yes. Please put each precious metal type (silver/gold-filled/10K/14K/18K/platinum etc.) in a separate zipper-style bag.

Please Note: Do not use tape or any other adhesive to seal the bag—precious metal scrap can get caught or stuck and may be overlooked.

We can transfer your refund into your checking account, post it as a credit to your Rio Account or send you a refund check. Unfortunately, we cannot apply credit to your credit card.

Yes, provided that the check is made out to someone who has a Rio Grande customer number.

We do accept silver filings and swarf. We do not accept sweeps for payment, but we are happy to forward any sweeps to CERF as a donation, if you wish. Learn more about our CERF program.

Please Note: There is a distinct difference between sweeps and filings/swarf. 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. Sweeps may be sent to Rio Grande as a contribution to our Sweeps for CERF efforts but are not acceptable as precious metal scrap.

Please package each metal type in a separate, sealable plastic bag so none of the precious metal scrap can fall out. Do not seal the bag with tape or adhesive—this may capture some of your precious metal scrap and cause it to be overlooked. When placing your precious metal scrap in a shipping box, make sure all the ends of the box are taped so that if some scrap does happen to spill out of the bags, it will not fall out of the box.

Send your shipment to:
Attn: Returns
7500 Bluewater Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87121

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.

Please note that the standard postal or grocery scales used at home usually weigh in avoirdupois ounces. Rio weighs in troy ounces for silver, gold-filled and palladium, and in pennyweights for karat gold and platinum. We calibrate our scales monthly.

No, we cannot split the payout for individual lots of precious metal scrap. Each lot of precious metal scrap we receive must reflect a selection of just one of the options shown on your Precious Metal Scrap Packing List. It 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 marked with the desired option for that particular lot.

Please remove any gemstones from your precious metal scrap, even if this may result in damaging the stone or item. Rio Grande does not buy gemstones and we are unable to return any gemstones to you. We do not offer gemstone removal services. Removing these items from your precious metal scrap beforehand will significantly speed processing time.

Yes, Rio Grande accepts 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.

No, precious scrap metal must be free from any organic debris.

United States payouts: For U.S customers who are not incorporated, any checks or bank transfers totaling more than $600 in a fiscal year will require a W-9 for Individuals on file, so that we can issue a 1099-MISC at the end of the year.

International payouts: For international customers, a W8-BEN or W8-BENE on file is required before a check or bank transfer disbursement can be issued.