Sandblasting: A Vital Part of Gold Manufacturing
Did you know that it can take millions of years to create fine gold jewelry? The process of collecting precious metals and stones starts with the compression of dirt and minerals over a period of thousands or millions of years. One of the reasons that jewelry can be so expensive is due to the long process it takes to create, mine, and manufacturer the jewels.
Even after mining, it can still take several months before jewelry is ready to appear in a store.
Many mines use explosives to excavate gold and other precious metals from the ground. Miners look for promising veins of metal and then use explosives to expose the metal and break larger pieces into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Gold typically is hard to mine, because in a ton of rock and dirt, usually there is no more than one ounce of gold. Many mining companies mine over 1 million ounces of gold per year, which requires moving huge amounts of dirt and rock.
After the initial mining process, the gold is sent to a refining center. The refining center removes the rock and dirt surrounding the precious materials and refines the precious metals until all impurities are removed.
After the purification process, the gold is melted and poured into ingot blocks. Usually, at some point in this process, the refinery takes a “DNA” reading of the metal to prevent theft and identify the source of the metal. After the metal blocks cool, the company uses a sandblaster to gently clean the surface of the metal and shine the surface to a glossy sheen. The sandblaster is typically loaded with a gentle spray media to prevent the gold from wearing away.
After refining and cleaning, the gold is then sent to factories and jewelers that fashion the gold into jewelry, or transform it into other uses. It can take several months for gold in-ground to become ready for final production.