How to Refine Gold with Urea

Written by Amir Tajer


Posted on May 23 2015

Interested in learning how to refine your gold using Urea powder? Continue reading to find out how.

How to remind gold with urea gold jewelry gold ring


1. Weigh your gold smelt.

For every ounce of gold, you will need a container with a 300-milliliter capacity.

So, if you're refining 5 ounces of gold, you will need a 1500-milliliter container or about 1 ½ quarts.

2. Add 30 milliliters of nitric acid for every ounce of gold.

So, if you're refining 5 ounces of gold, you would need to add 150 milliliters to the container. Allow the gold to sit in the nitric acid for 30 to 45 minutes.

3. Add 120 milliliters of hydrochloric acid for every ounce of gold in the container.

For 5 ounces of gold, that would be 600 milliliters of HCL. The addition of hydrochloric acid turns the mixture brown and can result in fumes.

As the chemicals react and heat up, the gold will dissolve. Let the mixture sit for 1 to 8 hours to cool off.

4. Line the funnel with filter paper and pour the acid through the filter and into another, larger container, stopping before any particles are poured off.

The filtered acid should be green and clear. If the acid is cloudy, filter it again.

5. Boil 1 quart of water. Remove from heat and add 1 pound of urea.

Slowly add the urea mixture to the acid.

This will cause an acid/base reaction, much like the old school volcano using baking soda and vinegar.

The acid will foam up, so don't pour too quickly or you'll have a huge mess on your hands.

When the mixture stops foaming, stop pouring urea in. All the nitric acid has been neutralized.

6. Boil the second quart of water.

Remove it from the heat and stir in Storm. For every ounce of gold, add 1 ounce of Storm precipitant.

So, for 5 ounces of gold, add 5 ounces of Storm. (If using a different gold precipitant, follow the package directions).

Slowly stir this solution into the acid. The solution will turn a muddy brown color and emit a strong odor.

7. Wait for 30 to 45 minutes. Check the acid for dissolved gold.

To do this, take the end of the stirring rod and insert it into the acid.

Remove the rod and touch it to a paper towel, creating a wet spot. Add one drop of gold detection liquid to the spot on the paper towel.

If the spot turns dark, there is still gold in the acid. If you see this, give the Storm more time to work or add more precipitant to the acid.

8. When the acid has separated into layers, with a clear amber top and a muddy brown bottom, pour off the top layer into another container.

Be careful not to pour off any of the mud at the bottom as the mud is your gold.

9. Add water to the mud when the acid has bee poured off.

Stir vigorously and allow the mud to settle. Repeat, rinsing the mud with water 4 times.

10. Rinse the mud with aqua ammonia.

When the aqua ammonia is added, white vapors will form as the remaining acids are neutralized.

11. Rinse the gold mud a final time using distilled water.

When it settles, pour off the water and scrape the mud into a heatproof bowl.

Place the bowl on a hot plate and allow it to dry.

When the dry mud is melted and allowed to reform it will take on the appearance of metal and will be 99.95 percent pure.


Tips & Warnings

  • If there was platinum in your gold, it will not be dissolved by the acids and will be left behind in step 4. Always save your precipitants- you never know what you may get.
  • This method uses strong acids which can be harmful if spilled on the skin or if ingested. They also generate fumes which can irritate the respiratory system. Work in a well-ventilated area and use protective clothing. Neutralize any acid spills with a liberal application of baking soda. 

 You can shop our Urea below to get started!


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  • Comment author

    What brand of Storm precipitant would you recommend?

    Posted by Koray | September 15, 2021
  • Comment author

    I am interested in recovery of gold, silver, platinum, paladium, Rhodium etc…. From electronic scrap and other also.. M

    Posted by Janak | September 15, 2021
  • Comment author

    Well written…

    Posted by thomas | April 22, 2021
  • Comment author

    Well written…

    Posted by thomas | April 22, 2021
  • Comment author

    Hie. I used aqua regia to dissolve gold in cell phone circuit boards. I used urea to drive off the excess nitric acid. I have put sodium metabisulphite overnight but still I have no precipitate . Where am I getting it wrong

    Posted by Advance | October 14, 2020
  • Comment author

    I love to work with future

    Posted by marc churchill | January 07, 2020
  • Comment author

    George Alfred Grant: Urea in powder form such as the one we carry would work just fine for this process. Thanks for reaching out!

    Posted by Anonymous | December 12, 2018
  • Comment author

    Please what type of Urea do I need for the this recovery experiment?

    Posted by George Alfred Grant | December 12, 2018
  • Comment author

    I think I used too much urea in my aqua regia becuase when I dropped the gold it settled on top of the dissolved urea. I dried it out and it’s not your normal golf dust color. Is it safe to torch the entire thing?

    Posted by Richard | May 30, 2018
  • Comment author

    Hi I was just wondering I seen some videos where they are refining 14 k jewlery and they added silver to there gold to turn it from 14k to 6k gold before they put it in the acid why and do you have to do that way please help a little confused

    Posted by robert | May 02, 2017
  • Comment author

    I ment to say i should note that it had gold silver copper platium an tin ext in the scrap

    Posted by Gary good | February 05, 2017
  • Comment author

    Hello. I used hcl an peperoxid and bleach and a lil nitric from a gold test kit to disovle goldplated earings and 2lbs of gold bearing fingers n scrap. Now my solution is light to dark green . i set in sun to kill the acidity for few days. .whats next? I should not all scrap had gold silver copper platinum tin exct.

    Posted by Gary good | February 05, 2017
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