Welcome to our October edition of United news. As we enter the 4th quarter of the year our product and refining numbers have increased modestly compared to the same time period last year. We hope this growth is a good sign for the jewelry industry moving forward especially with the holiday season quickly approaching. Our belief is that the consumer is becoming more confident in the economy and that our industry has done an excellent job in creating some unique product lines. The jewelry retailers are also doing a better job of expanding their merchandise in both precious and contemporary metals giving the consumer better price points and the opportunity to stay within their budgets.
President and CEO
In this issue of United News …
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
It is irrefutable that jewelry manufacturing requires a great number of tools. That's why our website has become just as important as a jewelers bench. We're obviously not talking about pliers or other tools for handcrafting, we're referring to the most important tool in jewelry manufacturing… PRECISION.
On United's website (www.UnitedPMR.com), customers can benefit from our online Calculators which are readily available on the homepage under the Tools & Info subheading on our homepage. Since its launch early in 2015, this page rapidly became the most visited page on our website. We take great pride in knowing that tens of thousands of bench jewelers, casters, manufacturers and jewelry professionals are benefiting from these applications.
Click the link to go directly to our Calculators page: http://www.unitedpmr.com/calculators.php
On this page, you'll be able to use our "Gold Scrap Calculator" to determine an approximate value for your hard scrap lot(s). Assays used in this calculator are based on the average assays for each karat over the previous 6-month period and should give you a good idea as to your lot's value.
Are you casting gold jewelry? Use our "Karat Gold" feature to determine the exact fine gold to alloy ratio. This tool also features the ability to raise or lower the karat of existing karated jewelry.
Manufacturing Sterling Silver, use the easy "Sterling Silver" calculator to find out how much fine silver to mix with United's industry leading sterling silver alloys.
The "Casting Weight" calculator allows manufacturers and casters to know the exact weight of wax to cast specific materials.
Need help with temperature conversions? Use our "Fahrenheit/Celsius" converter.
Weight conversion is a snap with our "Units of Weight" converter. Use this tool to switch between grams, pennyweights, ounces (troy), ounces (avoir), carats, kilograms and pounds.
United is proud to offer technical support to all our customers via our toll free number. Have questions about your casting? Having trouble with porosity or cracking? Need help determining the right process for casting with your specific machinery? Get the answers you need when you need them by calling our technical advisors at 1-800-999-FINE (3463).
CRACKING IN JEWELRY CASTINGS – USUAL CAUSES
Quench Times – Check the quenching time after casting, for large 4"X 8" flasks a 20 minute cool down for yellow gold and sterling silver is good. Shorter times may be used on smaller flasks. For white gold alloys an 8 to 10 minute quench is good. For 18K pink gold a 2 to 3 minute quench is advised to avoid cracking.
Flask Temperatures – Lower flask temperatures may cause cracking on very light weight castings, increasing the flask temperature on lighter weight castings may be helpful.
Design Related Cracking – Designs with thick too thin to thick sections may crack in the thin sections due to uneven solidification. Thin sections will solidify first. Higher flask temperatures may be helpful.
Sprue Design and Placement – Check the sprue size and placement, undersize or oversize sprues may be troublesome. Sprues should be placed on the heaviest part of the casting.
"Y" shaped sprues may be needed on pieces with heavy shoulders. Multiple sprues are often needed on long or very thin designs. Check sprues for pinched attachment areas to the casting as this will restrict the flow of the metal. Check the length of the sprues, short sprues located too close to the button or sprue rod may cause cracking, very long sprues may inhibit the flow of metal to the casting.
Overused, Oxidized or Contaminated Metal – Check how many times the metal has been reused, oxide build up in the metal may cause cracking. A 50/50 mix of scrap to fresh is advisable on yellow gold and sterling silver. A 70 fresh / 30 scrap is advisable for nickel based white gold. Overuse of a replenisher alloy can cause silicon build up in the alloy that will cause cracking.
These are the more common causes of cracking, there are other problems such as casting temperatures, vacuum leaks, equipment issues and investment problems.
PRECIOUS METALS RECAP IN THE ELECTION YEAR
It has been a good year for the bulls in the first nine months of 2016, with gold up over 20% for the year in trading which has been fairly orderly – meaning that your investments are not getting "chopped up" due in the sharp knives of volatility. That being said, what does the FOMC activity and the Presidential Elections in November mean for gold price for the rest of the year? While one can safely assume that we have seen the bottom for the range for 2016, does the final quarter bring a year-end rally to top off what has already been an outstanding year?
The move higher in gold this year has been driven by several major factors:
- The financial crisis in Asia which caused the initial rise in the price of gold
- The Federal Reserve's reluctance to raise U.S. Interest rates
- The withdrawal of the England from the European Union (Brexit)
- The tremendous volatility in the value of the U.S. Dollar vis-a- vis global currencies.
It is instructive to note that the precious metals market has moved up in spurts followed by plateaus this year with the corrections never going below its consolidation points at the $1200 and $1300 level. It will be interesting (and important) to see if that trend continues.
The fourth quarter brings the U.S. Presidential Election and with the polls showing the race not the foregone conclusion as previously believed, gold will stay reasonably well bid. Regardless of the outcome, either victor brings a new administration and new ideas. A Clinton presidency implies more social programs, higher taxes, government expansion and thus, a higher deficit. Meanwhile, a Trump presidency brings a lower corporate tax rate, infrastructure improvements, renegotiated agreements, increased military spending and thus, a higher deficit.
The Federal Reserve did not raise rates in September but is almost certainly gearing for a hike in December. Although it is generally bearish for gold, the rise in the U.S. dollar and the psychological effect of this move is currently built into the gold price by this juncture. Although the buildup by the analysts will have a dampening effect on the price, the downside movement caused by this activity should be somewhat muted.
Given all this, volatility will remain high and gold should remain fairly steady and reasonably well supported. The current view of the market is to buy at signs of weakness – not sell into rallies. With the elections and the lethargic U.S. economic recovery precluding more than one rate hike (or none should the economy falter), expect gold to continue to show resilience and close the year on a constructive note, although one more selloff below the $1300 level prior to year-end would not be surprising.