How To Remove Mercury From Gold Chains

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
How To Remove Mercury From Gold Chains

In this article we will teach you everything that you need to know about mercury and how to remove it from gold chains.

What Is Mercury?

Mercury is a metallic liquid with a gleaming appearance. Its chemical symbol, Hg, is derived from the Greek term hydrargyrum, meaning “liquid silver,” or “rapid silver.” Mercury is extremely heavy, weighing 13.6 times the water in the same volume. On its surface, stone, iron, and even lead can float. Mercury exists in only minimal levels in igneous rocks; sedimentary rocks are slightly richer.

How Is Mercury Used In Gold Mining?

In the beginning, mercury is mixed with gold-containing compounds. Mercury dissolves in gold, but other contaminants do not. As a result, a mercury-gold amalgam is formed. When gold and mercury are heated to a certain temperature, the mercury evaporates, leaving behind the gold. Although this technique does not produce pure gold, the majority of contaminants are removed.

What Are The Dangers Of Using Mercury?

Mercury is used in mines to recover minute particles of gold that have become embedded in the soil and sediments. Mercury and gold are attracted to one another and combine to form an amalgam. Mercury is then vaporized to extract the gold.

While mercury is a naturally occurring metal, it is extremely harmful to humans, animals, and the environment when not handled appropriately. Prolonged and high-level inhalation exposure to mercury is toxic to the neurological, digestive, and immunological systems. Additionally, it can contaminate bodies of water and, as a result, fish and shellfish. When mercury is consumed, it can accumulate in living creatures and cause catastrophic damage to the neurological system at high concentrations. This has been dubbed Minamata sickness in humans, after the city in Japan where it was first identified in humans and animals that consumed mercury-laden seafood and shellfish gathered in the Minamata Bay. Convulsions, loss of muscle coordination, and damage to vision, speech, and hearing are the most noticeable signs of the condition. Pregnant women exposed to mercury are also at risk of having children with congenital disorders.

What To Do When Your Gold Chain Gets In Contact With Mercury?

Your gold chain can be ruined if it comes into contact with mercury. Unfortunately, you cannot fix this on your own. We recommend visiting a jeweler once you experience this problem. The mercury can damage your gold chain. When you know that your gold chain has been in contact with mercury, the first thing to do is not wear it. Observe careful handling when you are trying to secure your mercury-contaminated gold chain.

The Process Of Removing Mercury From A Gold Chain

If your gold chain has accidentally come in contact with mercury, gold experts use a chemical process to remove the mercury in your gold chain. The gold chain is immersed in a chemical solution that will separate the mercury from the chain. 

This process may take some time, depending on the amount of mercury that your gold chain acquired. While chemical processes work, there are instances where experts can no longer recover the quality of the gold chain because the mercury has severely damaged it. In this unfortunate situation, you have no choice but to give up your gold chain. Chemical processes can only work in minimal amounts of mercury.


While gold chains are a great investment that lasts for a long time, it is important to apply extensive care to precious jewelry pieces. Do not allow your gold chain to be in contact with any strong chemical, such as mercury. While mercury is used in gold mines, it can severely damage your gold chain and other gold jewelry. That is why it is very important to wear and keep in with care.

You may also like

Leave a Comment