How are gold and silver bars made?
Gold and Silver bars are made in a very similar process to coins. The process is usually easier than creating a coin, but it is still very complex. Other methods of creating bars exist, but the following tends to be the most common.
The first step is sourcing the metal that will be made into bars. Most metal comes from mining operations or is recycled from jewelry, electronics, or other bullion products.
After the metal is mined or recycled, it is taken to a refinery. The refinery will remove any impurities in the metal that may have remained from the previous step. The process used today is very advanced, and they are able to get gold and silver to over 99.9% pure. After being cleaned, the purified metal is cut into pieces to be ready for minting.
There are two main methods to create bars, poured or pressed. Poured bars are bars where the metal is poured directly into a cast or mold. Silver has a melting point of 1,761, while gold has a melting point of 1945 degrees, making silver an easier metal to be poured into a bar. The pouring process leads each bar to have unique characteristics and does not have the same polished finish as a pressed bar.
A pressed bar is minted in a very similar process to creating coins. Pressed bars allow for a consistent design across each press. Before being struck, they are pressed multiple times to achieve the correct dimensions. Blanks are punched from the long strips and are reheated to soften the metal. The bar is polished and placed between two dies, which strike the metal at high pressure to create the design. The metal is cleaned once more, tested for quality control, and sent off for shipment.