Sometimes we catch it ..... A client calls. Their shipment is prepared and ready to ship to our company. Weights are discussed. Hedge and advances are discussed... All good, right?
Tomorrow comes. We receive your package. We weigh and receive in materials. UH-OH! In looking through the material by eyesight and with a magnet, or in some cases, shooting a quick X-ray of a piece(s) we detect in question, we find what could be gold filled, gold plated, palladium... We detect pieces or a piece in question. We find what could be gold filled, gold plated, palladium... We sometimes detect a few pieces of 18k or a chunky 14k piece that looks "suspicious" either in color, weight, marking, or it just doesn't "make sense". Sometimes we catch it, sometimes we can't, sometimes we don't.
My point being, a little something off or not right can change the assay percentage and thus the value of the shipment like that especially on smaller volume lots. We will, in some cases, have over advanced the materials, over hedged the guesstimated amount of gold or silver and in the end will have to make an unpleasant phone call to a client trying to explain this scenario.
We report anything that isn't "right" before melt IF we've captured it beforehand but sometimes you just don't know until the melt. I get 30/150/250/550 toz lots in of mixed-karat gold. It would be impossible to check every piece separately. It's why we melt and assay materials. It's like with a gold plated stainless class ring marked 10kt or a 14k necklace that didn't attract a magnet because it wasn't plated over iron. Sometimes gold is plated over copper or silver and we never know until the gold assay comes back lower than anticipated or melt loss is a touch higher than previous melts. There are a lot of factors and unfortunately you can't always catch it -- from both sides. That is incoming from you, or once it's received on our end before the material becomes part of the melted bar (now an alloy) or liquid, in case of stone digestion materials. One piece can literally bring an entire assay down - it happens. Superman can't be everywhere with his X-ray vision.
We all, pawnbrokers & jewelers & refiners alike, do our jobs the best we can. We ALL want to have a great day with little to no problem always; I know you agree with me. We all want the best outcome on every detail and on every transaction. I know I do. Who wants anything less than perfect for the people they care about !? I am positive that my clientele isn't trying to pull a fast one on me as they know I'd never ever do that to them. Metal speaks. Just because it's marked 14kt or 10kt and you've tested it, doesn't mean it is what it is and doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it if it’s not karated correctly - heck, almost everything is karated incorrectly!
Test the best you can. Rely on your knowledge and instruments and on those of your Refiner but know that Metal speaks. Mistakes aren't always the refiners fault; sometimes we catch it for everyone's benefit... We try.
*SEE EXAMPLES BELOW. Trusted companies like GEIB want the best for our clients every time at the plate!
^^^ 14kt way underkarat marked 14kt and 18kt white gold ring HGE *HIGH GOLD ELECTROPLATE would have come back light on $$$$ and %.
Just a few days ago literally: 18kt white gold chain - X rayed, melted and assayed separately... chain was fine. The medallion was not what it was marked.
^^^ same type chain as above marked 18kt but this one is marked 750 Italy and is STAINLESS STEEL see marking below ....