Testing and Assaying Techniques

At Cascade Refining, we have developed laboratory techniques to quickly and accurately analyze your gold scrap. By being so accurate with our testing, we are able to continue paying high prices. With our precise testing techniques, we rarely make mistakes, however, we will still double check our work and will always correct any errors that may occur.

The primary way that we test gold is with a nitric acid bath. Gold does not react with nitric acid but some gold alloys do react. By knowing what chemical reactions to look for when testing the gold we are able to visually determine the karat alloy of most items.

The way we test silver is also with nitric acid. Silver slowly reacts with nitric acid and creates what is called silver nitrate. When silver nitrate comes in contact with a sodium chloride solution a chemical reaction takes place creating silver chloride. Silver chloride is clearly visible with the naked eye and provides proof that an item is made of silver.

Beakers Lined Up With Blue Solution Inside

Another form of testing that we do primarily on coins and bars is a specific gravity or density measurement. Different elements have specific densities that can be measured to determine if an item is made of a certain metal. Specific gravity is a simple way we can test many materials without damaging the specimen that is being tested.

Another non-destructive testing technique is the use of a Sigma Metalytics machine. This machine uses resistivity to test metallic continuity. By exploiting the different resistivities of different precious metal alloys, we now have a means for precise testing of bullion products.

We also have an X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) device to test some materials. Here is how an XRF works: X-rays refract off of different elements at different frequencies. The XRF shoots X-rays at the specimen and has a sensor that collects the different refracted EM frequencies and interprets that data in percentages. The XRF is a very accurate surface testing method for some materials. We do offer XRF scans to the public for $20.00 (cash only) per scan (This is not a certified assay and is for personal use only). This is the most expensive way that we test materials and the data obtained by the XRF can usually be obtained by our other testing methods for most items.

As you can see we have many different ways of testing your materials when you bring them to Cascade Refining. So if you feel like you might have some metal that is gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, bring it in and we can test your items to see what they are worth.