Definition of cupel in English:



  • A shallow, porous container in which gold or silver can be refined or assayed by melting with a blast of hot air which oxidizes lead or other base metals.

    • ‘The cupel with the lead is placed back into the furnace and heated at 1000 degrees or so.’
    • ‘Here, the area of the rock engravings is delimited, at its ends, by two big cupels engraved in the platforms of the rocky bank; both have been carefully engraved and are deep and well finished.’
    • ‘Once cooled, the bead is removed from the cupel and weighed.’
    • ‘In a well-ventilated furnace, the lead melted, oxidized and passed into the pores of the cupel, leaving only a bead of precious metals.’
    • ‘The metal in the cupel melts and will be observed to become smaller as the process proceeds.’
    • ‘According to our shopper, the assayer would make up a tray of aged bone-ash, magnesium or cement cupels into which crushed ore along with a button of lead was added.’
    • ‘Ordinary bone ash, air dried cupels must be placed in the muffle close together in transverse rows, sufficiently far back for uniform temperature.’
    • ‘Think of the cupel as a small smelt to produce ore.’
    • ‘As the samples become molten, the base metals, including the lead, vaporize or absorb into the cupels, leaving only the precious metal on top.’
    • ‘On the other hand, the use of cupel keys is extremely economical, which is why fabricants use them in products where they are only used occasionally.’
    • ‘On cooling, the prill is carefully extracted from the cupel.’
    • ‘We found his crucibles and cupels, ceramics that these people used to test rocks to see if they contained any precious metals.’
    • ‘Cupel tongs are adequate for moving bigger range of cupels used in ore analysis.’
    • ‘For a week or so, we had the theory, the cupels, the lead, and the traces of silver, but no gold.’
    • ‘Absorption is facilitated by manufacture of the cupel from a porous material such as bone ash.’
    • ‘Very ornamental, this cupel is an interesting mixture between wood and wicker.’
    • ‘We produce several capacity crucibles and cupels and only use selected virgin materials for production.’
    • ‘Extensive knowledge and experience are required in such matters as making the bone-ash cupels, fine proof gold and silver, testing acids, and other special examinations and operations.’


[with object]
  • Assay or refine (a metal) in a cupel.

    ‘to extract the silver, the Greeks roasted the ore and then cupelled the molten metal’
    • ‘The prill is cupeled as described above to determine the precious metal content.’
    • ‘Then the drill filings from drilling in several parts of the brick are then cupelled and assay results determines the purity and thus the sale price to our hypothetical customer.’
    • ‘This quantity will be well worth working, provided the lead is abundant: Probably one pound of silver in a ton of lead would more than repay the cost of extraction, as lead yielding only four ounces to the ton is said to be profitably cupelled in Great Britain.’
    • ‘Lead cube contains any precious values and is ready for cupelling.’
    • ‘To extract the silver, the Greeks roasted the ore and then cupelled the molten metal.’
    • ‘There are six steps in the fire assay procedure: splitting - weighing - mixing firing - cupelling - parting.’
    • ‘I burned and crushed bones to make my bone-dust for cupelling, and thus provided made nearly forty assays, some of which were afterwards checked in Adelaide, in each instance coming as close as check assays generally do.’
    • ‘Some assay beads disappear, collapse, hide under the surface, or spread out flat while being cupelled, just as the last tiny bit of liquid litharge is driven off.’
    • ‘After cooling the lead button is separated from the slag and cupelled at 1000°C to recover the silver (doré bead) plus gold, platinum and palladium.’
    • ‘The fire assay begins by combining your sample with pure silver and pure lead in a process called cupelling.’
    • ‘The lead button produced is scorified and cupelled leaving a bead of precious metal.’
    • ‘‘They sat down and cupelled about two-thirds of their galena before they realized that they were wasting their time,’ he said.’
    • ‘As far as the historical aspects are concerned, it is necessary to mention the Romanesque Baptistry and the adjacent cupelled boulder with Celtic engravings.’
    • ‘The product is then cupelled to increase the dross to the range of about 50-65% by weight bismuth.’
    • ‘A cupel or cupelling hearth in which precious metals are melted for trial and refinement.’
    • ‘Do you have a furnace capable of cupelling?’
    • ‘Gold and silver bullion that remains in a cupelling furnace after the lead has been oxidized and skimmed off.’
    • ‘The lead button is cupelled to oxidize the lead leaving behind a dore bead containing the precious metals.’
    • ‘When cooled, the lead is separated from the glass and then cupelled.’
    • ‘The plant consisted of a ‘double German cupola’, a German style cupelling furnace and two 4-foot wooden housed fans (one was a backup unit).’


Early 17th century (as a noun): from French coupelle, diminutive of coupe ‘goblet’.