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Cleaning Gold Specimens - Step By Step Methods

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Glen this is fantastic!  I was going to contact you in regards to this but just have been busy lately.  Thank you for doing this!

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  • Steve Herschbach changed the title to Cleaning Gold Specimens - Step By Step Methods


Some of the chemicals I used for cleaning and prepping gold and mineral specimens are as follow:

  • Whink
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Muriatic Acid
  • Iron Out
  • Baking Soda

The above chemicals are readily available at hardware stores, lumber stores, Amazon, Walmart, etc. I have access to stronger acids such as hydrofluoric acid in high concentration form but I advise anyone who would like to use this type of acid that it is extremely dangerous and only someone with experience and safety equipment can proceed with caution when using it. Whink has a small concentration of hydrofluoric acid and is safe when used as directed.

Gloves, neoprene apron are needed when handling the above chemicals and face protection, rubber boots if you are not the careful type. Safety should be your number one priority as reaction from the chemicals during the cleaning process can affect your health both short and long term. I always prepare and clean outside, a closed environment is not recommended. Know what type chemical you are using and how it reacts to water, heat and to other chemicals.

Consider creating a work area outside. I have a fish cleaning table mounted on a wooden fence and have water available at the work station. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional.

The equipment I use for prepping and cleaning gold:

  • Assortment of plastic containers ( do not use glass with Whink as it will etch the glass)
  • Assortment of gold pans
  • Textile Gun
  • Steam Cleaner
  • Ultrasonic Cleaner
  • Dental pics, tweezers, screens, gold sniffer bottle and funnel.

Other equipment that I use when working with certain types of gold or minerals is a crock pot and a bubbler from a aquarium air pump. Crock pot to keep acids warm (remember what acids can have a adverse affect when heated) and a bubbler to keep acids aerated.

Part Three I will discuss what acid I will use and the reaction it has on the gold specimens.








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I'll dive right in on anything electrical , but those chemmies are just as scary to me as electricity is to others...... 

So I guess they're safe for you as electricity is for me.

Good job on cleaning off the specimens....! 

Maybe I'll give it a try . Now I just need to find something to clean up !


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I agree with the quote " I have access to stronger acids such as hydrofluoric acid in high concentration form but I advise anyone who would like to use this type of acid that it is extremely dangerous and only someone with experience and safety equipment can proceed with caution when using it." 

Back in the early 1980s I was involved with the operation of removal of milling scale on a large boiler. We had several truck loads of hydrofluoric acid  the size of fuel trucks. It was shipped in steel tanks at a strength of 35% how ever it will attack oxides and silica ( glass ) but most important it will get into your skin will little feeling that it has happened and it will then destroy your bones. So correct usage is really needed or its deadly. Products like WHINK in Aust. are used for mag wheel cleaning and it is about 1% and has other chemical included.     

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Thanks for sharing some of your knowledge with us.  Looking forward to trying some this summer.

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Whink will be the acid I use to treat all the gold specimens.

  • Specimen A - This specimen will probably the most difficult to treat because of the sphalerite or manganese that appears to be present.
  • Specimen B - This specimen I hope to have the host rock remain attached to the gold specimen. The host rock has some fractures so it might possibly fall apart. I placed the specimen upside down in the acid to minimize the exposure to the host rock. You can see the host rock is already reacting to the acid, turning from a clear to light grey color.
  • Specimen C - This specimen should clean easily because of the limonite present.
  • Specimen D - This specimen should also clean easily because of the calcite or quartz that is present.

As you can see from the picture there is very little reaction to the acid on specimens A,C, and D. Specimen B the acid is working very well.

Part Four you will see the results after a few days and the next steps that are considered on how each specimen will be treated.



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Glad you know what you are doing.  I was already quite impressed with specimen B before the cleaning, but am excited to see how much better it looks afterwards.

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