KEEPING OUR SILVER CRYSTAL FRESH

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Hey guys just wanted to get your thoughts on the best way to keep silver crystal once it has been washed and dried. I'm quite new to operating a silver cell and have lots of wrinkles to iron out including concentrations amps volts anode and cathode areas etc plus the small matter of using DEIONISED water and somewhat cloudy electrolyte!

I am currently looking for a good source of distilled water in the UK that doesn't cost a fortune delivered.

My silver crystal is generally fair in quality and structure but I can sift through and find some good pieces to keep and of course rerun the finer crystals as I improve my setup.

I've noticed my crystal will tarnish in days if left out in the open and even in a plastic bag will fade from its original shine. Is this normal or might an issue of purity explain this? How do others store their crystal, anyone tried storing under water to keep it bright and shiny

Any other tips would also be thankfully received.

Thanks in advance, Frank.
 

justinhcase

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If you intend to do any real quantity of metals, you best invest in a still.
I made mine from an empty stainless steel beer barrel left behind in the street by some students.
You can buy off the shelf flange connectors and easily have the tubing welded in stainless steel by any one good with a mig or tig. To direct the steam into a condenser.
Insulate and put on top of an industrial catering gas ring, and you will have all the water you need for under £100.
Silver is not a true noble metal and will oxidise, I have looked at plating crystals with rhodium for jewellery and epoxy resin for paper weights.
But the effort never seems to be financially rewarding.
Have to ask your self if it is necessary for the intended use.
The oxide is only a thin layer and will most likely reduce when melted.
 
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There is no sulphur anywhere near my silver to my knowledge. I believe that silver quickly loses its oxide on heating but sulphur I am not sure.

Thanks Justin for the thoughts. I have seen water distillers on eBay for the price of about 40L of distilled water delivered so could be worth a look plus I've long wanted to stop ingesting synthetic female hormones and insecticides!

As for intended use I've not really thought that far ahead. 9999 silver bars would be nice plus some large crystals might sell for more than scrap sterling...

Regards Frank
 

FrugalRefiner

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Deceitful_Frank said:
There is no sulphur anywhere near my silver to my knowledge. I believe that silver quickly loses its oxide on heating but sulphur I am not sure.

It's in the air we all breathe in the form of hydrogen sulfide and other sulfur compounds. It comes primarily from the extraction and processing of fossil fuels. There are, of course, other sources of sulfur compounds, like egg yolks (rotten egg smell), onions, and our own gaseous emissions. Silver tarnish, as we know it, was almost non-existent before people started burning coal and oil.

Dave
 

nickvc

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To make water that is suitable for silver refining a simple trick is to dissolve some silver in dilute nitric and add in small amounts to the water you have available stir well and allow to settle, any chlorides in the water will convert your silver nitrate solution to silver chloride and so that water is now suitable to use for your silver refining in general.
This was a tip from one of the masters 4metals so you know it works 8)
 

g_axelsson

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Nick beat me to it, silver nitrate removes chloride ions from water just as chloride salts removes silver ions from water.

After treating water with silver nitrate, make sure that you only use it for silver processing as there will be silver ions in solution and that is considered toxic. Preferably, only treat the water you just need for the moment.

Göran
 

justinhcase

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Being that both Sulphide and oxidation reactions are possible, particularly when ozone is present, and both reactions produce a black solid.
I am going to go out on a limb and suggest, as mono molecular oxygen is normally in a higher concentration than hydrogen sulphide, Oxidation may be a more prevalent reaction in most cases.
But if you are unlucky enough to live next to an old school high sulphur coal power station or motorway, that most likely will not apply to you.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111099/
 

kurtak

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Deceitful_Frank said:
I've noticed my crystal will tarnish in days if left out in the open and even in a plastic bag will fade from its original shine. Is this normal or might an issue of purity explain this?

As others have explained silver (even pure silver) is going to tarnish in open air - how much/fast it tarnishes will depend on the quality of the air the silver is exposed to

How do others store their crystal

I have something like 8 - 10 ozt larger silver crystals (2.5 - 6 grams per crystal) which I harvested from my silver cell like 5 - 6 years ago & have had them stored in an air tight plastic container & they are as bright & shiny as the day I first harvested them

As long as you make sure ALL the acid is washed off/out of them & dry them right away on a hot plate & them put them in an air tight container they should not tarnish

anyone tried storing under water to keep it bright and shiny

No need to do that - just be sure ALL the acid is washed off/out - dried completely & ASAP & stored in a air tight container

Kurt
 

Alabama938

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The first time I got a batch out of my silver cell I did multiple rinses, but didn’t test the rinse water. Dried it out with a fan and the crystals felt oily or greasy and obviously stained my hands. They also looked tarnished super fast.

That may help. Test your rinse water with HCl for the presence of silver. Or just use hot tap water* until it doesn’t come off cloudy, then do a few more rinses for good measure.

That’s my biggest thing I learned from my mistakes, keep things clean and over rinse. Test your rinses on refined product.

*im assuming UK water has Cl- ions present
 

justinhcase

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The first time I got a batch out of my silver cell I did multiple rinses, but didn’t test the rinse water. Dried it out with a fan and the crystals felt oily or greasy and obviously stained my hands. They also looked tarnished super fast.

That may help. Test your rinse water with HCl for the presence of silver. Or just use hot tap water* until it doesn’t come off cloudy, then do a few more rinses for good measure.

That’s my biggest thing I learned from my mistakes, keep things clean and over rinse. Test your rinses on refined product.

*im assuming UK water has Cl- ions present
Yes UK tap water has chlorine added in small quantities.
I have just installed a 1100L underground rain water tank, so I can clean and process my own water, and run reflux and condensers on my water still.
The extra pipes are utility conducts, so I can run what ever I need where I need it without having to dig up the site again.
 

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4metals

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The main 2 causes of your silver crystals from the cell tarnishing are the sulfides already mentioned, and the second is incomplete or inadequate rinsing. When the crystals are not rinsed properly the silver nitrate remaining on the crystals (often barely noticeable is it only needs to be a thin film) will discolor quickly, and even more so when exposed to light. Another thing that will help you is drying the crystals completely. Start by spinning the crystals in a salad spinner like these.

https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Good-Grips-Salad-Spinner/dp/B00004OCKR?th=1

Then place them for a short time under a heat lamp or place them on a warm hot plate. Some cover the crystals with a layer of clean fabric which allows evaporation but blocks the light if using the heat lamp.

I prefer to rinse well and keep the silver in a stainless steel tray with a tight fitting cover. The stainless tray keeps all of the light out and the lid keeps any sulfur fumes from gaining free access to uncovered pure silver.
 

4metals

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Two follow up thoughts about using the spinner. 1. Silver is a bit heavier than lettuce so don't over-load the spinner. 2. The silver will pass right through the basket so I have added a silk of other tight weaved cloth as a liner to the basket to keep the silver in the basket and easily remove the crystals. They dump easily off the silk into a tray. When I did not have a decent enough rinsing capability, I actually poured water over the crystals in the spinner and allowed it to drain out of the bowl and then spin it and repeat.

It's amazing how many things from a cooking gadget store can accommodate a small scale refiner.
 

Topher_osAUrus

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Two follow up thoughts about using the spinner. 1. Silver is a bit heavier than lettuce so don't over-load the spinner. 2. The silver will pass right through the basket so I have added a silk of other tight weaved cloth as a liner to the basket to keep the silver in the basket and easily remove the crystals. They dump easily off the silk into a tray. When I did not have a decent enough rinsing capability, I actually poured water over the crystals in the spinner and allowed it to drain out of the bowl and then spin it and repeat.

It's amazing how many things from a cooking gadget store can accommodate a small scale refiner.

I had purchased everything i used to refine with except 1 beaker to ppt in, and a crucible to melt in. Everything else was picked up for 50 cents, $1. ...maybe a lil more if it was a real fancy piece of corningware. ...but have you seen how ridiculous some of their prices on ebay are??

Some people have alot more money than brains
 

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grainsofgold

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Two follow up thoughts about using the spinner. 1. Silver is a bit heavier than lettuce so don't over-load the spinner. 2. The silver will pass right through the basket so I have added a silk of other tight weaved cloth as a liner to the basket to keep the silver in the basket and easily remove the crystals. They dump easily off the silk into a tray. When I did not have a decent enough rinsing capability, I actually poured water over the crystals in the spinner and allowed it to drain out of the bowl and then spin it and repeat.

It's amazing how many things from a cooking gadget store can accommodate a small scale refiner.
after cleaned and rinsed use a vacuum food sealer bag, vacuum and seal and store in a dark place.
 

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