Why shouldn’t jewellers do their own refining?

Refining is not as simple as it sounds, despite what that dodgy YouTube tutorial tells you. DIY projects may put your safety, reputation and profits at risk, and can have unpredictable and disastrous results for your finished jewellery pieces.

The costs of a DIY solution:

In South Africa any unauthorised refining activity is strictly illegal. All entities participating in these practices are required to be in possession of a valid refining licence, which is an involved, costly and lengthy admin task. Apart from the risks you take in contravening the law, refining is a complicated business that requires precise methods, expertise and facilities. An in-house attempt is simply not going to produce the purity achieved by registered and licenced refineries, which operate under strict quality control guidelines and with the necessary equipment. CPM invests heavily in the on-going training and development of our staff, and now boasts 67 JCSA certified technicians across our four branches throughout the country, ensuring the best possible outcomes for our clients.

Read: Refining tips for best returns

Over the decades CPM has been in business we’ve observed the results of DIY attempts time and again. Not only are they remarkably poor, they cause issues for authorised refineries when in-house jobs are sent in to be processed with purer metals by contaminating the batch and producing less of a yield than the customer expects. It’s never a comfortable conversation to have when it’s evident to us that a client’s own illegal activities are the cause of the upset. We do understand the pressures that our industry is under to cut costs – and we sympathise – but we must stress that there are many reasons why it simply isn’t worth the hassle, and will more likely end up costing you more.

The acids chemicals required in refining processes are highly reactive and expensive and must be perfectly dispensed in order to achieve even a remotely accurate end result. There are numerous health and safety issues involved in the handling and storage of these chemicals, and proper neutralisation and disposal is crucial as they can do significant environmental and infrastructural harm if untreated waste finds its way into ground water or sewerage systems.

Related: How to treat and dispose of exhausted Rhodium plating solution

Besides the cost in terms of materials and your own time to trawl through the wealth of sketchy information online, a poor end result could seriously damage your brand’s reputation with your customers. Manufacturing jewellery from your DIY-refined metals could run you into big trouble should a customer have their purchase assayed, since it will likely be under carated. Traces of unwanted elements can make the metals brittle or affect the colour and integrity of the final piece, and may also cause the metal to cast badly, which creates even more work and hassle for you.

Ask us about our free refining containers for your waste and scrap

When choosing a refinery, trust is everything

CPM has strict procedures in place to ensure that all precious metals are returned to the client once the refining process has been completed. We photograph everything, provide assay reports as part of our process and we are completely transparent about our fees upfront. By utilising modern techniques we ensure maximum recovery and returns, and all gold, platinum and palladium produced at our facilities has a purity of 99.99%. CPM is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council whose mission is to advance responsible ethical, social and environmental practices. The RJC Code of Practices includes a range of requirements for business ethics, human rights and social and environmental impact. As members, CPM commits to implement continuous improvement processes for higher standards of responsible practices and supply chain transparency.

“Refining is a precious responsibility that has been entrusted to us. Our clients are welcome to arrange with us to be present while we prepare, melt and scan their material” ~ Sharon Eades, Managing Director

Cape Precious Metals refining job turnaround times:

Carpet:                                                                 15 -20 working days*
Sweeps:                                                               15 working days*
Polishing:                                                             10 working days*
Sludge:                                                                 15 working days*
Bench Sweeps:                                                 3 -5 working days*
Clean Filings (Gold & silver):                        2- 3 working days*
Clean Filings (Platinum & palladium):       5 working days*

*Please note that these do not include time spent in transit to our Cape Town refinery

CPM is one of South Africa’s largest secondary refiners, specialising in the recycling of all precious metals. You can read more about the details of our refining processes here. If there is anything we can do to assist you, don’t hesitate to contact us.




(servicing Western Cape & Namibia)
TEL: +27 (0)21 551 2066
FAX: +27 (0)21 552 7792

CPM Building
Link Close
Montague Gardens


(servicing Gauteng, Northern
Provinces & Botswana)
TEL: +27 (0)11 334 6263
FAX: +27 (0)11 334 6947

Unit 32
3 Sunrock Close
Sunnyrock Park


(servicing KwaZulu-Natal,
Free State & Northern Cape)
TEL:+ 27 (0)31 303 5402
FAX: +27 (0)31 303 5403

Unit 9, Cypress Park
19 Cypress Drive
Glen Anil


(servicing Eastern Cape)
TEL: +27 (0)41 365 1890
FAX: +27 (0)41 365 1901

88 Hurd Street
Newton Park

Stay up to date with the latest news and online resources on COVID-19 Learn More