Meaning of cupel in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkjuːp(ə)l/


  • 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.

    ‘On cooling, the prill is carefully extracted from the cupel.’
    • ‘We produce several capacity crucibles and cupels and only use selected virgin materials for production.’
    • ‘Absorption is facilitated by manufacture of the cupel from a porous material such as bone ash.’
    • ‘For a week or so, we had the theory, the cupels, the lead, and the traces of silver, but no gold.’
    • ‘The metal in the cupel melts and will be observed to become smaller as the process proceeds.’
    • ‘The cupel with the lead is placed back into the furnace and heated at 1000 degrees or so.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Think of the cupel as a small smelt to produce ore.’
    • ‘Ordinary bone ash, air dried cupels must be placed in the muffle close together in transverse rows, sufficiently far back for uniform temperature.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Very ornamental, this cupel is an interesting mixture between wood and wicker.’
    • ‘In a well-ventilated furnace, the lead melted, oxidized and passed into the pores of the cupel, leaving only a bead of precious metals.’
    • ‘As the samples become molten, the base metals, including the lead, vaporize or absorb into the cupels, leaving only the precious metal on top.’
    • ‘We found his crucibles and cupels, ceramics that these people used to test rocks to see if they contained any precious metals.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cupel tongs are adequate for moving bigger range of cupels used in ore analysis.’

verbverb cupels, verb cupelling, verb cupelled; US verb cupeling, US verb cupeled

[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 product is then cupelled to increase the dross to the range of about 50-65% by weight bismuth.’
    • ‘The lead button is cupelled to oxidize the lead leaving behind a dore bead containing the precious metals.’
    • ‘Gold and silver bullion that remains in a cupelling furnace after the lead has been oxidized and skimmed off.’
    • ‘A cupel or cupelling hearth in which precious metals are melted for trial and refinement.’
    • ‘To extract the silver, the Greeks roasted the ore and then cupelled the molten metal.’
    • ‘The lead button produced is scorified and cupelled leaving a bead of precious metal.’
    • ‘The prill is cupeled as described above to determine the precious metal content.’
    • ‘As far as the historical aspects are concerned, it is necessary to mention the Romanesque Baptistry and the adjacent cupelled boulder with Celtic engravings.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The fire assay begins by combining your sample with pure silver and pure lead in a process called cupelling.’
    • ‘There are six steps in the fire assay procedure: splitting - weighing - mixing firing - cupelling - parting.’
    • ‘‘They sat down and cupelled about two-thirds of their galena before they realized that they were wasting their time,’ he said.’
    • ‘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 plant consisted of a ‘double German cupola’, a German style cupelling furnace and two 4-foot wooden housed fans (one was a backup unit).’
    • ‘When cooled, the lead is separated from the glass and then cupelled.’
    • ‘Lead cube contains any precious values and is ready for cupelling.’
    • ‘Do you have a furnace capable of cupelling?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


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