The Swiss-made Valcambi 1g gold bar.
Switzerland's reputation for producing high-quality, luxurious products is not limited to the watch industry but applies equally to investment gold. Switzerland is to gold what France is to wine, a statement supported by hard facts which show that most of the world's gold is refined in this prosperous alpine country. Information from the London Good Delivery List shows that six refineries hold 90% of the gold market, and four of those, including Valcambi, are based in Switzerland. On average, Switzerland refines between 65-75% of the world's annual supply of gold, making it the number one country globally when it comes to refining gold and manufacturing bullion bars. Switzerland commands this position because of the country's high level of security, efficient logistics, and strong financial system that accommodates some of the world's leading international banks. Lastly and most importantly, stringent laws set high standards regarding the quality and purity of finished bullion products. For example, every Valcambi gold bar contains an assayer's stamp, seen on the obverse as "ESSAYEUR FONDEUR", which guarantees the bar's purity. To put this marking on its bars, Valcambi needs to comply with strict Swiss federal laws (Precious Metals Control Act) and employ an affirmed assayer who has acquired the needed federal assayer's licences. Affirmed assayers must keep proper account of the determination of fineness that they perform and at any given time must make their books available to the authorities for inspection. In other words, every Valcambi gold bar has its purity accredited by government and industry bodies; its quality complies with the highest industry standards. It is perfected by the best Swiss engineers, resulting in a product with golden integrity that surpasses all standards of excellence. After all, it is Swiss made.
Minted bars refer to the manufacturing process that is applied to create them. The process begins by heating gold material in a furnace until it turns to a molten slurry. During the heating process, all unwanted impurities in the slurry are removed until only molten gold of high purity is left, most often at around 99.99%. The molten gold is then poured into moulds, usually in the shape of large bars, where it cools and solidifies. The solid gold is then inserted into a mill that rolls the gold into panels with a uniform dimension. Afterwards, the gold panels are inserted into a blanking press that punches blanks out of the gold panels. The next step involves the weighing of each gold blank to ensure that it is neither underweight nor overweight and those that pass this test are then polished for them to obtain a shiny surface. The last stage involves the minting process where the gold blank is inserted into a minting press that presses its die with huge force to transfer the design from the die onto the gold blank. The result is a minted bar. The newly minted gold bar is then inspected before being sealed in a transparent tamper-proof protective package.
Valcambi is a Swiss-based precious metals refiner that was established in 1961 and is world renowned as one of the largest producers and suppliers of cast and minted bullion bars. Valcambi’s bullion bars are hailed throughout the world for their outstanding quality and are a hallmark of Swiss craftsmanship, making them sought after by precious metal connoisseurs. The company manufactures its products in Balerna, Switzerland, where it operates one of the world’s largest precious metal facilities capable of refining an impressive 2,000 metric tonnes of precious metals per year. To put this number into perspective, the annual gold mine supply in 2013 reached 3,000 tonnes. The total value annually processed in this plant is impressive to say the least, and the fact that Newmont Mining, one of the world’s biggest gold mining companies, holds a majority stake in the company is an indication of Valcambi’s importance as one of the world’s topmost precious metal foundries. Accredited by all major precious metal exchanges, Switzerland’s central bank and the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association), Valcambi’s gold and silver bullion bars are recognised worldwide, with clients ranging from retail investors to some of the largest international financial institutions, governments and central banks.
Valcambi a member of the London Bullion Market Association
The LBMA, or London Bullion Market Association, was established as an independent oversight body by Britain’s Central Bank in 1987. The roots of the LBMA can be traced back several centuries to the 1700s when London started to emerge as the world’s leading trading hub for precious metals. Referred to as the “London Gold Market”, it was self-regulated by the London’s foremost bullion traders and fabricators who oversaw the market by accrediting precious metal refiners to the London Good Delivery List. Only those refiners that met the quality and purity criteria set down by the “LGD” list were allowed to enter the London bullion market. Today, more than 135 companies, which include some of the largest precious metal refiners, storage providers, manufacturers and bullion traders, are members of the London Bullion Market Association. They all form part of the LBMA, the world’s most respected and trusted international authority that monitors the production and refining process of gold and silver bullion. LBMA’s primary role is to manage the Good Delivery List which is today the international standard for the quality and assaying of gold and silver bars.