What is REFINE?

About the project

‘REFINE METAL’ is a name given to a precious metal material collected from domestic urban mines and purified through refinement. In REFINE METAL PROJECT, we will raise awareness of the value of REFINE METAL and use it to create jewelries in our own atelier.

What is urban mine

It is a concept that proposes to make effective use of useful resources (such as rare metals) in home appliances that are mass-disposed as garbage in cities. Surprisingly, Japan is said to possess 6,800 tons of gold (16% of world reserves) and 60,000 tons of silver (22% of world reserves), which are top-class in the world.

Refining process of metal

Taking refinement process of gold as an example, shattered garbage is dissolved in solution called ‘aqua regia’, which is then reduced and dried. At this stage, the substance is like brown powder. Once purity is increased upon repetition of the same procedure, it is melted at high temperature and rapidly cooled down in water, then appears gold grains called ‘sasabuki’. It now has the familiar look of gold. It is then weighed to fit in a mold to produce 99.99% ingot.