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topic 54096

Can gold be reclaimed from old ceramic dishes with gold trim on the edges

A discussion started in 2010 but continuing through 2018

January 13, 2010

Q. Would it be profitable to reclaim gold from broken antique china dishes and if so what process should be used?

Mike Job
treasure hunter - Lockport, New York, USA

January 19, 2010

A. It's normally very thin and is a waste of time and effort to try and recover the gold. From my experience, the gold value usually runs about $0.05 per square inch, or less, of the area covered by gold.

Chris Owen
- Nevada, Missouri, USA

May 9, 2011

A. I find that a general response that it is not worth the time or effort to reclaim gold from pottery pieces or fine china assumes that the gold is only a small percentage of the piece that can be processed -- you have mirrors, picture frames, china jugs, all kinds of possibilities. And also a more meaningful response would not be put into a scale that relates to sq inches; it has to be converted to gold value and oz. -- that way a true recovery value can be calculated.

Earl Olmstead
- Hermitage, Pennsylvania

September 21, 2012

thumbs up signThanks Earl, but the question seemed to be about broken antique china dishes rather than about mirrors, picture frames, jewelry & coins, etc. I think Chris' answer that they are worth about $0.05 per square inch of gold-covered area is extremely helpful and takes into account the "common" thickness, purity, density, and value of gold.

Without actually doing the recovery, how could an individual practically estimate the ounces of gold to determine if it was worthwhile? Surely, investing $50 to determine whether the dish is worth $.05 vs. $.45 isn't the answer.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 12, 2014

Q. I have a broken French Limoges bowl with VERY thick gold leaf grapes on the exterior. Is there a way to remove the gold?

Sheila Cook
- portland, oregon, US

August 2014

A. Hi Sheila. If it's that thick, scrape it off with a razor sharp tool. Wear goggles; you don't want a chip from a razor blade in your eye. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, amadeya42.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 16, 2014

A. The problem with recovering gold from glass or ceramics is that what you see is not surface gold. It is very finely divided gold suspended in a glaze. That is, the gold metal is dispersed in a low melting glass.

There is no practical method for an amateur to extract it and professional refiners do not find it economic, even at today's gold prices.

Sorry but old glazed pots are zero value scrap.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith

February 1, 2018

Q. I came across the "holding tray" part of a vintage WA Italy 24K gold plated warming set. It was mixed in with the silver, brass, etc., but I KNEW that color was GOLD. After some research, BINGO. I was right. Do I have more than $2.99 worth of gold on this? It's a pretty good size and I see no wearing on it. It's probably not worth selling on its own because I don't have the rest of it lol.

54096-1b 54096-1a

Amaliya L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
Collector - Peoria, Arizona USA

February 2018

A. Hi Amaliya. My guess is that you are correct that it is gold plated. But I doubt that anyone will know how thick the gold plating is, and therefore its value. Recovering the gold is usually more costly than any gold value, so I'd say find a wicker bread basket or ceramic serving dish of the right size and try to make use of it :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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