The ability to determine the melt value of silverware (tableware) in terms of its silver content plays a vital role in any successful silver investing strategy. The reason being is because it’s easy to overpay or to miss out on an opportunity to buy silver at below melt value if one isn’t in the know. It should therefore be important to silver investors, especially those who have developed a liking for silverware (tableware), to know how to determine the melt value or intrinsic value of the silver contained in silverware (tableware).

For all practical purposes, we’re going to focus only on how to determine the melt value of silver contained in silverware or tableware that contains silver. It’s after all no secret that silverware in the sense of the Silver Bullion website is normally made up of a silver alloy that consists of silver and other precious metals such as copper. We are however only interested in the value of the silver. In fact, sterling silver (standard silver), a silver alloy consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, is traditionally used in the manufacturing of silver jewelry and silverware (tableware). This is not to say that a metal such as copper is not valuable, it’s rather to say that the successful silver investor prefers to focus on silver and silver alone. The value of copper and other precious metals used in a silver alloy, besides silver, although not determined now will be an added bonus at the end of the day.

In addition to the above, it must be noted that non-precious metal fillers such as stainless steel, concrete, wax and plaster are used in some instances to add strength to silverware (tableware). Silverware (tableware) containing non-precious metal fillers are normally stamped “weight reinforced” or “weighted.” It is important to take this into consideration when determining or calculating the melt value of silverware (tableware), especially when making use of online calculators such as the Sterling Silver Melt Value Calculator offered by SilverRecyclers.com.

What is the melt or intrinsic value of silverware (tableware)?

The melt or intrinsic value of silverware (tableware) refers to the value of the metal (copper, silver, etc.) contained in the silverware (tableware). E.g. the silver melt value of silverware (tableware) refers to the value of the silver contained in silverware (tableware).

What info do I need to accurately determine the melt value of the silver in silverware (tableware)?

Metal composition, total weight (excl. non-precious metal fillers), silver price and conversion factor(s).

You need the metal composition, total silverware (tableware) weight (excl. non-precious metal fillers), silver price and conversion factor(s) in order to accurately determine the melt value of the silver in silverware (tableware). Metal composition refers to the ratio or proportion of a metal in relation to another contained in silverware (tableware) and is normally expressed as a percentage (%). E.g. the metal composition of silverware (tableware) is traditionally 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The total weight of silverware (tableware) refers to the weight of silverware (tableware) in its totality and is normally expressed in grams. The silver price refers to the spot price of silver and is normally expressed in troy ounces or troy ounce (t oz / ozt). This makes it necessary to convert to grams when determining the exact melt value of the silver content. This is done by multiplying the silver price by a conversion factor of 0.0321507466 in order to make the conversion to grams. Depending on the info or data which are available, more than one conversion factor might have to be used.

In other words, metal composition, total silverware (tableware) weight, the silver price (spot price of silver) and a conversion factor(s) are the info that’s needed to accurately determine the melt value of the silver contained in silverware (tableware).

Now it’s important to note that the total silverware (tableware) weight mentioned on the previous page must exclude the weight of any non-precious metal fillers such as stainless steel, concrete, wax and plaster. To simplify matters, we will assume that no non-precious metal fillers have been used in the silverware (tableware) as far as the calculations go in this section of the Silver Bullion website.

In other words, for the purpose stated in this section of the Silver Bullion website, we assume that the silverware (tableware) mentioned here consist only of silver alloys and no non-precious metal fillers such as stainless steel, concrete, wax, plaster or what have you.

Troy weighting system…

The troy weighting system was originally used in Troyes in France to measure the weight of precious metals such as gold and silver. The troy ounce (t oz / ozt) is however the only measure of the troy weighting system that is still in use today.

1 troy ounce (t oz / ozt) = 31.1034768 grams

1 troy ounce (t oz / ozt) = 0.0311034768 kilograms

1 troy ounce (t oz / ozt) = 480 grains

1 grain = 0.06479891 grams

It’s important for the silver investor who wishes to accurately determine the melt value of silverware (tableware) to know that 1 troy ounce of silver is equal to 31.1034768 grams of silver (or that 1 gram of silver is equal to 0.0321507466 troy ounces of silver). On the other hand, for rough estimates, it’s sufficient to know that 1 troy ounce of silver is equal to more or less 31 grams of silver.

More than one way to skin a cat…

An old saying has it that there is more than one way to skin a cat. The same notion applies to determining the melt value of the silver in silverware (tableware).

Accurate estimate

The silver investor, who wishes to accurately determine the melt value of the silver in silverware (tableware), can do it by using the following formula:

Silver Price (t oz) x Ounce/Gram Conversion Factor x Total Silverware Weight (grams) x Metal Composition Factor (92.5% expressed as 0.925, etc.)

E.g. metal composition = 92.5% silver (0.925), 7.5% copper (0.075), total silverware (tableware) weight in grams (excl. non-precious metal fillers) = 200 grams, silver price (spot price of silver) per troy ounce = $35 per troy ounce and ounce/gram conversion factor = 0.0321507466
 
Thus, $35 x 0.0321507466 x 200 grams x 0.925 = $208.18

In other words, the accurate melt value of the silver contained in the relevant silverware (tableware) is $208.18. This is the value silverware dealers normally use when selling silverware (tableware) at melt value.

Rough estimate

The silver investor can also choose to make a rough estimate of the melt value of the silver contained in silverware (tableware) by assuming that 1 troy ounce of silver is equal to more or less 31 grams of silver:

Total Silverware Weight (grams) x Metal Composition Factor (92.5% expressed as 0.925, etc.) x Silver Price (t oz) ÷ 31

E.g. metal composition = 92.5% silver (0.925), 7.5% copper (0.075), total silverware (tableware) weight in grams (excl. non-precious metal fillers) = 200 grams, silver price (spot price of silver) per troy ounce = $35 per troy ounce and ounce/gram conversion factor: = 0.0321507466

Thus, 200 x 0.925 x $35 ÷ 31 = $208.87

In other words, a rough estimate of the melt value of the silver contained in the relevant silverware (tableware) is $208.87.

Small difference…

It should be clear from the answers obtained by using the formulas recommended by Silver Bullion that there’s a difference of less than 0.5% between an accurate and rough estimate of the melt value of the silver contained in the relevant silverware (tableware). This difference is small enough to allow the silver investor to make an informed decision in spite of the formula used.

Be sure to make use of the online calculator located here to determine the melt value of the silver contained in silverware (tableware) that contains sterling silver (92.5% silver).

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