Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Caveat Emptor - Or, If it looks too good to be true ...

If it looks too good to be true - then you missed the fine print, or ... the vendor is lying.

To be fair, the seller might be just an idiot. ;-)

Case in point. A student brought me this little vial of "gold flakes." We'd been discussing using gold and silver on beads - and she saw this on ebay for 99 cents. "Nothing to lose," she thought, and bought some.

Except, it's not gold. It is the stuff you get for imitation gilding on furniture and picture frames, stuffed into a tiny bottle. It goes black in the flame.

So, 99 cents is a relatively cheap lesson, except she didn't say how many she bought, or what the shipping was.

Real, 24 kt gold is expensive, and not available on every street corner.

And you do want pure gold or pure silver.

There are outside-the-box sources for gold and silver. The collectible 5-gram ingots of pure gold or pure silver can be used for fuming - scrape off a sliver of the metal or file some off and melt the filings and use from there. I suppose you could hammer it into foil too - but I think that immediately you are going to spot how much work that would be.

One of those bars will last you a very long time. I have a commemorative 1-ounce ingot of fine silver that I picked up at a garage sale for $5. I seriously expect it to last the rest of my life. Now that was a bargain.

Or, you can buy direct from the refiners. Eliminate the middle man.

And if you are thinking that it's a cute little bottle for 99 cents - I'm pretty sure you can do better.


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