Gold Refining – Everything You Need to Know about Aqua Regia

If you’ve spent any time studying the history precious metals, you’ve heard of a chemical called aqua regia. That name means “royal water” in Latin, but that’s misleading. Aqua regia isn’t royal, and it isn’t water either. It’s actually nitro-hydrochloric acid – a brutally corrosive mixture of hydrochloric and nitric acids. The stuff is so reactive that it can dissolve gold, as this video shows.


So, how did aqua regia get its pleasant-sounding name? It happened back in the 14th century when an alchemist named Pseudo-Geber concocted a chemical powerful enough to dissolve the “noble metals” gold and platinum. Why did he brew the stuff? Apparently he thought that if he dissolved gold, he could analyze the resulting chemical and figure out some way to use it to create even more gold. The alchemists, you recall, were interested in producing gold from base metals and other substances.

Don’t Mess around with Aqua Regia

Many amateur gold refiners today are playing around with ways to refine gold on their own, sometimes in their basements or garages. You can easily find videos of them on YouTube.

Granted, it is not that hard to get your hands on nitric or hydrochloric acid and start experimenting with it. You can mix it up, toss in some printed circuit boards, stand back, and watch them bubble and dissolve.

But our advice to you is, don’t do it. Lots of bad things can happen to you, including severe burns, lung damage, even explosions and fires.

Refining gold, platinum and other precious metals requires expertise and great care. Here at Gold Refiners, part of Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, we extract and refine gold and precious metals with modern equipment in state-of-the-art laboratories - all under safe and strict protocols.

So don’t tinker, call us at 800-426-2344. Your health and safety are more important than the promise of extracting gold or gold alloys, or other precious metals, in haphazard ways.

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