It has been an interesting year. While the precious metal markets have been fluctuating all year
long, the stronger world economy has brought renewed product demand from jewelry manufactures. We have also seen a steady influx of material across all sectors of our refining
business. While the price of gold is forecasted to trickle down this coming year, the economy is continuing to gain strength, which is good for everyone in our industry.
Please review our latest edition of United News. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to
serve your precious metals needs.
President and CEO
In this issue of United News …
All That Glitters is not Gold
When buying bullion or gold jewelry for that matter, nothing is more important than accurate and precise testing. In bullion, it's important to know the facts (weight,
dimensions, etc.) but testing is sometimes equally as important. Most times, bullion dealers are wary of drilling or filing into a gold bar, but recent history has proven it
is a necessary evil.
In March 2012, a number of fake PAMP 10 t/oz. gold bars began showing up in England. These bars were perfect with the exception that they had been hollowed out and filled
with tungsten which has a similar weight to gold. The real bars were opened carefully, filled and then resealed as to be sold with their original paperwork as if nothing had
ever happened. Investigators got nowhere in their efforts and a culprit was never caught.
In September 2012, the same bars began showing up in New York City. The United States Secret Service, which investigates matters surrounding counterfeit currency and
bullion, took the case but no arrests have been made.
In the last half of 2013, another wave of fake bars continued to show up in the larger markets across the U.S. In addition to the fake ten ounce gold bars, smaller bars
and even silver coins have are now being reproduced.
Here are a few tips to help you properly test your gold and
- Use a magnet. Rare earth magnets are a reliable tool to test gold jewelry. Gold has no magnetic properties, which means when running a magnet over your jewelry
you should feel no pull. Many times, the springs in clasps will be picked up or moved since those are typically made of iron. The slightest pull felt should make
you recheck the piece.
- Stone and acid. One of the oldest and most trusted methods is the stone and acid test. Scrape a piece of jewelry across the stone and apply the correct
acid to detect the karat. We always recommend filing into the piece of jewelry and scraping that spot into the stone. This will help in getting a more accurate read
on plated pieces. The last thing you want is to buy a piece of gold plated chain at 14K prices.
Testing silver on the stone is also a good thing.
While you can buy the silver acid at your local jewelry supply house, we also recommend using the 18K gold acid. When scraping the piece of silver jewelry over the stone
and applying 18K gold acid, the silver on the stone should turn a milky-blue color. This is an indicator that the piece (or at least the area you tested) is sterling
- Drilling. While most bullion dealers and buyers alike prefer to keep bars in mint or new condition, with the recent rise of fake and filled bars and coins, this
may no longer be an option. Jewelers and buyers alike are learning it's better to drill into a bar or cut a coin in half and get melt value than run the risk of buying a
fake or tungsten filled bar.
There are many other ways of testing gold and silver but the most accurate way is to melt the piece(s) and conduct a fire assay. At United, all precious metals are tested
in this way. We take your precious metals and melt them in our induction melters until we have a homogenous mix then carefully extract a pin sample while the metal is still
in a hot molten form. This sample is taken into our state-of-the-art assay laboratory and three fire assays are conducted to ensure absolute accuracy.
This process is also utilized in the production aspect of our company to ensure every piece of solder, grain, sheet, tube, etc. contains the precise amount of fine gold, silver,
alloys it needs to deliver the superior results our customers have come to expect from United products.
50 Shades of Gold
Ever take two pieces of gold jewelry and notice that the color quite doesn't match? Gold is gold, right? Not really. The color of gold varies immensely
depending on a number of factors such as alloys used, where it is manufactured, and so much more. Let's look at one such factor, alloys used.
At United, we offer a large number of alloys to meet the specific needs of our global clientele. You see, the tone or shade of gold and its importance will vary depending
on what part of the world you are in.
The best example of this importance in color is probably found in Russia. The majority of the gold jewelry manufactured for and sold in Russia must have a dark reddish
tone. United's 520 Russian Red for 9-18K casting, 525 Premium Russian Red for 9-14K casting and NA525 Premium Russian Red for 9-14K all-purpose are among the hottest selling
products in this region. United's newest 554 Bright Russian Red has also proven itself in this market.
On this side of the world, Mexico shows a preference for a slightly reddish shade of gold. United's most successful products in this region are our T1 for 9-18K casting
and T3 for 10-14K fabrication. While other products are also sold, our distributors mainly focus on these products which produce outstanding results for the specific area.
These trends can be seen in almost every country or region. In Italy, a greenish tone is preferred and mainly 18K gold is produced and sold. The Middle East and
parts of Asia have for many years showed a preference towards 22K gold with the rich gold tone. In the past, gold jewelry not only represented a fashion accessory but also
was used for investment. In recent years the appeal of 22K gold has diminished and the younger generations are turning to 18K gold. However, color remains a factor so
United's 315 offers manufacturers a nice result that is not exact to higher karat gold but is very appealing.
In recent months, 18K Palladium White Gold has begun trending among the newer generation in China. Recognizing the importance of this growing market and its fast moving
trends, United International Sales Representative Zong Gu moved from our corporate headquarters in Alden, New York to Hong Kong earlier this month to spearhead our efforts in the
region. For more information about United alloys, please contact us at 1-800-999-FINE (3463).
Why Solder Pits...
Prior to the Christmas Holidays and for the month or so after we receive more complaints about solder pitting during sizing and repair work. This often occurs during the
busiest times for repair shops. To go over the usual causes of pitting of solder joints may be helpful and the technique used is very important.
- Cleaning and Fitting: All parts being soldered should be
thoroughly clean and free of oxidation. Make sure surfaces to be joined are smooth, even, free of burrs and fit tightly.
- Fluxing: Use plenty of flux, if you are using a liquid flux, be aware that the flux may burn away quickly and expose the joint area to oxidation. This will inhibit
the flow of the solder into the joint.
- Heating, Torch flame: Use a slightly reducing flame (softer flame). Let the heat of the objects being joined flow the solder. Keep the torch moving to provide a steady,
even heat. Don't try to force the solder to flow with the torch flame, as this is the main cause of pitting, oxidation and poor quality joints. Note: The small micro torches
are more troublesome for ring sizing due to the very hot concentrated flame making it easy to overheat the joint and cause pitting. The larger torches are better for ring
sizing providing a steady, even heat.
All United Gold and Silver Solders are Cadmium Free!
Kamal has been a core part of UNITED's overseas success in the last 10 years and has established business in several new international markets during this time. He has reinforced UNITED's "Simply the Best" statement by offering excellent product advice, support and services to his customers.
Kamal works on strong personal relationships with his customers, an effort which helps him achieve new heights in his work.
While Kamal enjoys his work, in his spare time he enjoys music, sports, world affairs and helps in doing good for others.
Kamal is usually available at many major global trade shows, so if you do happen to see him, please do not hesitate to stop by and say hello.