Precious metal

Precious metal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Assortment of noble metals

precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallicchemical element of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals tend to be less reactive than most elements (see noble metal). They are usually ductile and have a high lustre. Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commoditiesGoldsilverplatinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.

The best known precious metals are the coinage metals, which are gold and silver. Although both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in artjewelry, fine jewelry and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: rutheniumrhodiumpalladiumosmiumiridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.[1] The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.

Bullion[edit]

1,000 oz silver bar

A metal is deemed to be precious if it is rare. The discovery of new sources of ore or improvements in mining or refining processes may cause the value of a precious metal to diminish. The status of a “precious” metal can also be determined by high demand or market value. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money.

Purity and mass[edit]

500 g silver bullion bar produced by Johnson Matthey

The level of purity varies from issue to issue. “Three nines” (99.9%) purity is common. The purest mass-produced bullion coins are in the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series, which go up to 99.999% purity. A 100% pure bullion is nearly impossible: as the percentage of impurities diminishes, it becomes progressively more difficult to purify the metal further. Historically, coins had a certain amount of weight of alloy, with the purity a local standard. The Krugerrand is the first modern example of measuring in “pure gold”: it should contain at least 12/11 ounces of at least 11/12 pure gold. Other bullion coins (for example the British Sovereign) show neither the purity nor the fine-gold weight on the coin but are recognized and consistent in their composition.[citation needed] Many coins historically showed a denomination in currency (example: American double eagle: $20).

Coinage[edit]

1 oz Vienna Philharmonic gold coin

Many nations mint bullion coins. Although nominally issued as legal tender, these coins’ face value as currency is far below that of their value as bullion. For instance, Canada mints a gold bullion coin (the Gold Maple Leaf) at a face value of $50 containing one troy ounce (31.1035 g) of gold—as of May 2011, this coin is worth about 1,500 CAD as bullion.[2] Bullion coins’ minting by national governments gives them some numismatic value in addition to their bullion value, as well as certifying their purity.

One of the largest bullion coins in the world was the 10,000-dollar Australian Gold Nugget coin minted in Australia which consists of a full kilogram of 99.9% pure gold. In 2012, the Perth Mint produced a 1-tonne coin of 99.99% pure gold with a face value of $1 million AUD, making it the largest minted coin in the world with a gold value of around $50 million AUD.[3]China has produced coins in very limited quantities (less than 20 pieces minted) that exceed 8 kilograms (260 ozt) of gold.[citation needed]Austria has minted a coin containing 31 kg of gold (the Vienna Philharmonic Coin minted in 2004 with a face value of 100,000 euro). As a stunt to publicise the 99.999% pure one-ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf series, in 2007 the Royal Canadian Mintmade a 100 kg 99.999% gold coin, with a face value of $1 million, and now manufactures them to order, but at a substantial premium over the market value of the gold.[4][5]

Economic use[edit]

1 kg gold bullion (ingots)

Gold and silver, and sometimes other precious metals, are often seen as hedges against both inflation and economic downturn. Silver coins have become popular with collectors due to their relative affordability, and, unlike most gold and platinum issues which are valued based upon the markets, silver issues are more often valued as collectibles, far higher than their actual bullion value.

Aluminium[edit]

An initially precious metal that became common is aluminium. While aluminium is the third most abundant element and most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, it was at first found to be exceedingly difficult to extract the metal from its various non-metallic ores. The great expense of refining the metal made the small available quantity of pure aluminium more valuable than gold.[6] Bars of aluminium were exhibited at the Exposition Universelle of 1855,[7] and Napoleon III‘s most important guests were given aluminium cutlery, while those less worthy dined with mere silver.[6] In 1884, the pyramidal capstone of the Washington Monument was cast of 100 ounces of pure aluminium. By that time, aluminium was as expensive as silver.[8] The statue of Anteros atop the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain (1885–1893) in London’s Piccadilly Circus is also of cast aluminium. Over time, however, the price of the metal has dropped. The dawn of commercial electric generation in 1882 and the invention of the Hall–Héroult process in 1886 caused the price of aluminium to drop substantially over a short period of time.

Rough world market price ($/kg)[edit]

Valuable metal price ($/kg) with precious metal names in bold
metal mass abundance
parts per billion[9]
10 April 2009[10] 22 July 2009[11] 7 January 2010[citation needed] 31 December 2014[12]
Rhodium 1 39680 46200 88415 39641
Platinum 5 42681 37650 87741 38902
Gold 4 31100 30590 24317 38130
Palladium 15 8430 8140 13632 25559
Iridium 1 14100 12960 13117 15432
Osmium 1.5 13400 12200 12217 12217
Rhenium 0.7 7400 7000 6250 2425
Ruthenium 1 2290 2730 5562 1865
Germanium 1500 1050[13] 1038
Beryllium 2800 850[citation needed]
Silver 75 437 439 588 441
Gallium 19000 580 425[13] 413
Indium 50[14] 325[13] 520
Tellurium 1 158.70
Mercury 85 18.90 15.95
Bismuth 8.5 15.40 18.19
  1.  Platinum Guild: Applications Beyond Expectation
  2. Jump up^ Gold prices ran around 940 USD in July 2009 according to Kitco Historical Gold Charts and Data. The USD to CAD exchange rate averaged 1.129 in July 2009 according to OANDA Historical Exchange Rates. Although the exact moment that the $1075 figure was determined is unknown, it may be considered a reasonable value for the time.
  3. Jump up^ “1 Tonne Gold Coin”perthmint.com.au. Retrieved 23 July2015.
  4. Jump up^ “the Greatest coined gold in the world”e-allmoney.com. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  5. Jump up^ UKBullion (2014). “100kg Fine Gold Coin”. Retrieved 2014-03-18.
  6. Jump up to:a b Geller, Tom (2007). “Aluminum: Common Metal, Uncommon Past”Chemical Heritage Magazine27 (4). Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  7. Jump up^ Karmarsch, C. (1864). “Fernerer Beitrag zur Geschichte des Aluminiums”Polytechnisches Journal171 (1): 49.
  8. Jump up^ George J. Binczewski (1995). “The Point of a Monument: A History of the Aluminum Cap of the Washington Monument”JOM47 (11): 20–25. doi:10.1007/bf03221302.
  9. Jump up^ The abundance of the element, a measure for its rarity, is given in mass fraction as kg in the earth’s crust (CRC Handbook). David R. Lide, ed. (2005). “Section 14, Geophysics, Astronomy, and Acoustics; Abundance of Elements in the Earth’s Crust and in the Sea”. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (85 ed.). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.
  10. Jump up^ Mostly taken from London Metal Exchange.
  11. Jump up^ From the http://www.thebulliondesk.com/
  12. Jump up^ From the http://www.thebulliondesk.com and http://www.taxfreegold.co.uk (mid price quoted)
  13. Jump up to:a b c The metal Price ($/kg)s of gallium, germanium, and indium are taken from MinorMetals.com as examples of modernprecious metals used for investment / speculation.
  14. Jump up^ Tolcin A. (2012) U.S. Geological Survey Mineral Commodity Summaries 2012.

External links[edit]

About gold jewellery

About gold jewellery

Colour

Throughout history, gold has been treasured for its natural beauty and radiance. For this reason, many cultures have imagined gold to represent the sun.

Yellow gold is still the most popular colour, but today gold is available in a diverse palette. The process of alloying—mixing other metals with pure 24 carat gold—gives malleable gold more durability, but can also be used to change its colour.

White gold is created through alloying pure gold with white metals such as palladium or silver. In addition it is usually plated with rhodium to create a harder surface with a brighter shine. White gold has become the overwhelming choice for wedding bands in the US.

The inclusion of copper results in the soft pink complexion of rose gold while the more unusual colours such as blue and purple can be obtained from the addition of patinas or oxides on the alloy surface. Black gold for example derives its colour from cobalt oxide.

Caratage

What is Gold Jewellery - yellow, white and rose gold braceletsThe weight of gold is measured in troy ounces (1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams), however its purity is measured in ‘carats’.

‘Caratage’ is the measurement of gold purity. 24 carat is pure gold with no other metals. Lower caratages contain less gold; 18 carat gold contains 75 per cent gold and 25 per cent other metals, often copper or silver.

The minimum caratage for an item to be called gold varies by country. In the US, 10 carat is the legal minimum accepted standard of gold caratage, 14 carat being the most popular.  In France, the UK, Austria, Portugal and Ireland, 9 carat is the lowest caratage permitted to be called gold. In Denmark and Greece, 8 carat is the legal minimum standard.

 

Fineness

Fineness is another way of expressing the precious metal content of jewellery, and represents the purity in parts per thousand. When stamped on jewellery, usually this is stated without the decimal point.

This chart shows some examples of the composition of various caratages of gold.

Caratage Gold(Au) Silver (Ag)  Copper (Cu) Zinc (Zn) Palladium (Pd)
Yellow Gold 9k 37.5% 42.50% 20%
Yellow Gold 10k 41.70% 52% 6.30%
Yellow Gold 14k 58.30% 30% 11.70%
Yellow Gold 18k 75% 15% 10%
Yellow Gold 22k 91.70% 5% 2% 1.30%
White Gold 9k 37.5% 62.5%
White Gold 10k 41.7% 47.4% 0.9% 10%
White Gold 14k 58.30% 32.20% 9.50%
White Gold 18k 75% 25% (or Pt)
White Gold 22k N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rose Gold 9k 37.5% 20% 42.5%
Rose Gold 10k 41.70% 20% 38.3%
Rose Gold 14k 58.30% 9.2% 32.5%
Rose Gold 18k 75% 9.2% 22.2%
Rose Gold 22k 91.7% 8.40%

Notes:

The alloying  metal compositions above are typical of those used by the jewellery industry to arrive at the colour/ caratage combinations shown, but are not the only ways to arrive at these combinations.

White gold compositions listed here are nickel free. Nickel-containing white gold alloys form a small/very small percentage of white gold alloys and generally contain other base metals such as copper and zinc.

The following are the common standards of fineness that are used:

.375 = 9 carat (England and Canada)

.417 = 10 carat

.583 (.585) = 14 carat

.750 = 18 carat

.833 = 20 carat (Asia)

.999 (1000) = 24 carat pure gold

Strictly speaking, 14 carat should be 583 (14/24 = .583333), but most manufacturers have adopted the European practice of making 14 carat gold slightly over 14 carat. Thus, the fineness mark is 585 in most 14 carat jewellery.

Similarly, 24 carat should be 1.0 (24/24 = 1.00). However, in practice, there is likely to be a very slight impurity in any gold, and it can only be refined to a fineness level of  999.9 parts per thousand. This is stated as 999.9.

Accepted tolerances on purity vary from market to market. In China, Chuk Kam (which is Cantonese for ‘pure gold’ or literally ‘full gold’) still comprises the majority of sales and is defined as 99.0 per cent minimum gold, with a 1.0 per cent negative tolerance allowed.

http://www.gold.org/about-gold/gold-jewellery

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

15 Most Expensive Watch Brands in the World

As we all know wristwatch is one of the most important accessories in men’s or women’s wardrobe. The watch is the one of the best accessory in terms of style and you can choose from a simple steel watch to a unique watch in diamonds and jewel encrusted one.  Whatever your style maybe a wristwatch on your hand will always make you look elegant and stylish.

There are a lot of watch manufactures and brands, from standard ones to top-quality luxury ones.  If you are self-sufficient person and you have a lot of money and you want to buy high end luxury watch that will be instantly spotted and recognized by others, then there are many expensive watch brands that you can choose from.  And the first question comes to mind is “What brand has the most expensive watches?”

Not long ago I’ve posted a list of 15 Most expensive wristwatches that costs over 1 million dollar and you can see that in the list some expensive watch brands have many expansive watch models. But there are many other watch makers that have expensive watches.

The most expensive watch brands in the world are as follows. But don’t forget that every year the order can be different because new timepieces are released by the watch makers.

[ordered_list style=”decimal”]

  1. Patek Philippe
  2. Vacheron Constantin
  3. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  4. Blancpain
  5. Cartier
  6. Ulysse Nardin
  7. Chopard
  8. Audemars Piguet
  9. Hublot
  10. Piaget
  11. Girard-Perregaux
  12. Rolex
  13. Omega
  14. A. Lange & Söhne
  15. TAG Heuer

[/ordered_list]

And here a some of interesting expensive watches of this brands:

most-expensive-watch-Patek-Philippe-Sky-Moon-Tourbillon
Patek Philippe – Sky Moon Tourbillon (Price: ~ $5,6 million)
[hr]
Vacheron-Constantin-Grand-Complication-pocket-watch
Vacheron Constantin – Grand Complication pocket watch (Price: ~ $1,8 million)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Joaillerie-101-Manchette
Jaeger-LeCoultre – Joaillerie 101 Manchette (considered the most expensive watch in world, price unknown)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Blancpain-Tourbillion-Diamants
Blancpain – Tourbillion Diamants (Price: ~ $1,812 million)
[hr]
most-expensive-watch-Cartier-Phoenix-shaped-watch
Cartier – Phoenix-shaped watch (Price:  ~ $2,755 million)

Some of the timepieces made by this expensive watch brands are the best watches with unique design, top quality, complicated movement and features that other watches don’t have. I know that there are other expensive watch brands but this is best watch brands in the world.

http://www.tiptopwatches.com/watch-facts/15-expensive-watch-brands-world.html

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven’t Been Redeemed Since 2005

Lost Money: $41 Billion In Gift Cards Haven’t Been Redeemed Since 2005

A gift card display at a Target store in Mayfield Hts., Ohio., last month.

Amy Sancetta/AP

You may have given one — or two, or three. You may have gotten one — or two, or three.

Gift cards.

Now you may be wondering what to do with them (more on that in moment).

They’re the presents that show up in Christmas stockings all across America. The go-to gifts for aunts and uncles trying to please those finicky teenaged nieces and nephews. The tokens of affection that may say “I got this on the way over here.”

And, also, the gifts that sometimes never get used.

Since 2005, analyst Brian Riley of the TowerGroup research firm estimates, about $41 billion worth of the money on gift cards has gone unclaimed. That’s such a huge figure it was Saturday’s “number of the week” at The Wall Street Journal‘s Real Time Economics blog.

So how do you avoid falling into that trap?

The simple answer, of course, is to go out and use that card. Hopefully, it’s one that can be applied to things you like or need.

But let’s say it’s a card you don’t think you’ll ever use.

Forbes says one way to get around the problem is by reselling. Plastic Jungle, it reports, is among the online outfits that will pay 80 percent or more of many cards’ face values.

The Journal points to that site two others that buy cards: GiftCardRescue.com and CardPool.com.

Or, says MarketWatch.com’s Consumer Confidential column, there’s also a way to invest the money on a card: “GoalMine.com is an investment site that allows you to invest in a mutual fund for as little as $25 (the total expense ratios for the funds you can purchase through GoalMine currently are about 1.12% to 1.4%). Through January you can trade the market value of a gift card, as determined by its partner PlasticJungle, to your GoalMine account. As a bonus, GoalMine will redeem your first gift card for 150% of its value, which is applied to a GoalMine mutual fund or savings account.”

Of course, you could also do some “regifting” — pass that card along to someone else in the family who has a birthday coming up. Kind of cheesy, but an option.

Or, there’s always the altruistic route: Donate the card or an amount left on it to a charity. Call your favorite to see if it will take the card.

Other ideas? Please share them in the comments thread.

Paul Brown and Mark Memmott on the NPR Newscast

By the way, the National Retail Federation estimates that $27.8 billion worth of gift cards have been given this holiday season.

Update at 11:45 a.m. ET. A Bit More On The Accounting Rules:

In general, as USA Today says, “retailers can’t count gift card sales as income until they are redeemed.”

So when can a company declare its revenue from unused gift-cards as income?

The Journal says there “are no hard-and-fast rules. … The Securities and Exchange Commission allows companies to take unused gift-card money as income once they can reasonably say the card won’t be redeemed, but there’s no set time limit. Best Buy, for example, sets that level at about two years. … But some states don’t allow companies to keep unused gift-card cash. They demand that companies give the money to the state after a certain period of time to add to unclaimed-funds accounts.”

According to the Journal, in 2008 the state of New York “collected $9.6 million in unredeemed gift cards and returned around $2,150 to the rightful owners.”

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2011/12/27/144308234/lost-money-41-billion-in-gift-cards-havent-been-redeemed-since-2005

“Watches 101”

“Watches 101”What’s the best way to store a watch?
What’s a “movement”?
What is the legal definition of a Swiss watch?
Which leads to the question: What is a Swiss movement? They have a ready answer, of course:
What does the word “Geneve” on a watch mean?
What’s the difference between a mechanical movement and a quartz movement? 
What does 17-jewel movement mean?
What does the word “chronometer” mean?
Who is the COSC and what do they do?
What’s a “chronograph”?
What do the letters “T” and “O” mean on my watch?
It is possible that this comes from the French word for gold, Or, is it true that tritium is radioactive? 
Is there such thing as a completely waterproof watch?
What does “Shock Resistant” mean?
Is it true that only a diamond will scratch a sapphire crystal face?
What’s the best way to store a watch?
Storing a luxury watch properly requires a little extra care. Diamonds and other gemstones are hard enough to scratch metal jewelry and to mar the surfaces of other stones they come in contact with. Store diamond and/or gold watches in their own individual soft cloth pouches, place them in a jewelry box that has separate compartments for each piece or store them in their original box.What’s a “movement”? 
A movement is the mechanism that actually calculates the passage of time–the “guts” of the watch, if you will. Like the engine and transmission of a car, watch movements are so fundamental to the quality of the watch that they are often manufactured by separate companies, or by the same company in a different factory. The movement is also the part of the watch which is usually covered by a warranty–much like the “engine and drivetrain” warranties that come with new cars.

What is the legal definition of a Swiss watch? 
As the universally-acknowledged manufacturers of the world’s best watches, the Swiss are understandably rather persnickety about what watches qualify as “Swiss.” To protect the integrity of their good name, several organizations have formed with the specific intention of regulating quality and defining standards for the industry. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry has produced a list of “Verordnung Swiss Made” rules that state that a Swiss watch must:

  • Have a Swiss movement that
  • Was set into its case in Switzerland
  • By a manufacturer of Swiss origin.

Which leads to the question: What is a Swiss movement? They have a ready answer, of course:
It must have been assembled in Switzerland under the supervision of a Swiss factory and the parts of the movement that are Swiss in origin must constitute at least 50% of the movement’s total value. Movements that meet these exacting requirements earn the right to be stamped with the word “Swiss.” Sometimes the stamp will instead say “Suisse,” “Swiss Quartz,” “Swiss Made,” “Produit Suisse,” or “Fabrique en Suisse.” These all mean the same thing. However, if the case is not of Swiss origin, then this inscription cannot be visible–it must be concealed by the case. However, the case may be stamped with the words “Swiss Movement” to indicate that it’s Swiss on the inside, if not the outside. In the case of the reverse–a non-Swiss movement in a Swiss case, only the words “Swiss Case” are permitted.

What does the word “Geneve” on a watch mean?
Just as Geneva is a more specific location than Switzerland, the designation “Geneve” is a more exacting mark of prestige given to watches by the Bureau de controle des Montres de Geneva. To qualify, in addition to matching all the above criterion for a Swiss watch, it must have had one of its major manufacturing steps take place within the Canton of Geneva. The theory is that at least 50% percent of the manufacturing costs will have been incurred “locally,” protecting the trade and ensuring quality assembly.

What’s the difference between a mechanical movement and a quartz movement?
Mechanical movements are what most people think of when they talk about the fine art of watch making–a precise, intricate system of tiny gears and springs which use mechanical energy to operate. These watches have a mainspring, which is wound either by hand or by “automatic movement” (self winding). The spring power is then transferred to the hands of the watch via a precise timing mechanism known as a balance.

A quartz movement is a simpler, less expensive timing mechanism which regulates time by sending an electric current from a battery to a tiny quartz crystal, which vibrates at precise and predictable rates–32,768 cycles per second to be exact. Quartz movements are superbly accurate and reliable. Because they can be mass-produced, quartz movements are used in everything from clock radios and digital watches to some very fine timepieces. However, what is gained in efficiency is lost in elegance, according to some epicureans.

Interestingly enough, the first quartz watch, introduced by Seiko in 1969, cost over a thousand dollars!

What does 17-jewel movement mean?
In spring-powered mechanical watches, conservation of energy is practically an art form. To reduce friction, many of the spaces between gears are set with tiny synthetic gem crystals, which resist temperature changes better than metal and hold lubricant much longer.

What does the word “chronometer” mean?
Strictly speaking, anything that measures time is a chronometer (chronos = time, meter = measure). An hourglass or a sundial is technically a chronometer. However, in modern watchmaking the term “chronometer” is a specific designation of accuracy, assigned only to high-quality watch movements that have been tested by the COSC.

Who is the COSC and what do they do?
The Control Officile Suisse de Chronometers is a Swiss testing laboratory that certifies watches, or rather their movements, as “chronometers.” Each movement is individually tested over a 15-day period in different positions and temperatures, and passes only if it shows a loss of fewer than five seconds per day. Watches that have certified movements will usually be stamped with an inscription that says “Chronometer,” “Certified Chronometer,” or “Superlative Chronometer Officially Certified.”

What’s a “chronograph”?
By definition a chronograph “records time.” In modern watches this refers to a stopwatch function of some sort.

What do the letters “T” and “O” mean on my watch?
The letter “T” on the face of a watch stands for tritium, the greenish-white substance on the hands and numbers that glows in the dark. The letter “O” means that the indices on the dial are made of gold.

It is possible that this comes from the French word for gold, Or, is it true that tritium is radioactive?
Although tritium is a radioactive substance, the amount of radiation from tritium-coated watch faces is less than 25milliCuries, which isn’t even enough to penetrate the watch case or crystal.

Is there such thing as a completely waterproof watch?
Not really–in fact it’s not even a legal term in the US anymore, and for good reason. Even deep-sea submarines have maximum depths beyond which they cannot safely travel. That’s because deeper water means higher water pressure, and eventually water pressure will break the windows. Watches are rated for “water resistance,” which is an evaluation of how much water pressure the moisture seals can withstand. Most watches are rated to 50 meters, which is more than most of us will ever need. Sport and diving watches are often rated to 200 meters or more. Ironically, humans can only safely dive to about half that depth, and extremely high depth ratings are more an indicator of craftsmanship and status than actual utility. Water resistance is also measured in ATM, or atmospheres. One atmosphere is equivalent to 10 meters.

What does “Shock Resistant” mean?
Shock resistance is an American government standard of durability which means that the watch can survive a drop of three feet onto a wooden floor.

Is it true that only a diamond will scratch a sapphire crystal face?
Not quite. Another sapphire or ruby will scratch it. Also remember that scratch-proof is not hatter-proof. A sapphire crystal is remarkably durable, but far from impervious. It’s best to treat a quality watch like any other piece of finely-crafted jewelry.

http://www.watchesandbeyond.com/watches101.asp#top

Nine Shiny Facts About the Metal Silver

Nine Shiny Facts About the Metal Silver

January 24, 2014 by KIDS DISCOVER

SilverIt’s a precious metal found in lots of jewelry, but silver has plenty of everyday uses in electronics, medicine, paint, photography, currency, clothing, and more. Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about silver … .

Name: Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon seolfor, but silver’s chemical symbol, Ag, is based on its Latin name, argentum.

Industry: Silver conducts heat and electricity better than all other elements, which is why it’s used in things like solar panels, electrical circuits, and rear window defoggers.

Heat: Silver melts at 1,763.2 degrees Fahrenheit, and it boils at 3,924 degrees Fahrenheit. So yeah, go ahead … you can stir soup with the good silverware.

Tarnish: That dark stuff that appears on silver and makes it need polishing is actually silver sulfide, a compound formed when silver interacts with sulfur in the air … or in eggs. Which is why some people don’t use good silverware with eggs or mayonnaise.

Coins: Until 1964, all United States dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollar coins contained 90 percent silver. So keep your eyes peeled when you get change at the market, because every now and then you can still find a real silver coin.

Bendiness: After gold, silver is the easiest metal to work with — you can stretch it into superfine wire or pound it into superthin foil (would you believe 150 times thinner than paper?).

Weather: Silver can make it rain! When silver iodide is dropped onto clouds in a process called “seeding,” it often provokes a rainfall.

Medicine: Silver is great at killing bacteria, which is why it’s sometimes used in wound dressings at burn units. And bacteria don’t adapt to silver’s germicidal properties the way they become immune to antibiotics.

Hygiene: You know what else bacteria do? They cause B.O. That’s why some fancy athletic clothing contains tiny silver fibers, which reduce or eliminate smells. But rubbing earrings or spoons under your arms in the morning really won’t help.

 

http://www.kidsdiscover.com/quick-reads/nine-shiny-facts-metal-silver/

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals


Jewelers, both professional and amateur, have used just about every type of metal in existence in their creations. As new alloys and metals are adapted to jewelry making, such as titanium and stainless steel, they are also eagerly embraced and worked into beautiful creations for men and women. While fashion trends using unique and trendy metals come and go, three jewelry metals have stood the test of time and continue to have a strong presence in modern jewelry.  They are Gold, Silver, and Platinum.

These three metals and the alloys that utilize them are referred to as the Noble Metals.  Noble Metals have four properties in common.

  1. They are precious metals and are also used as currency (a store of value) because of their intrinsic value.
  2. They are found worldwide, but not in large enough quantities to render them less valuable.
  3. Noble Metals have properties that lend themselves to jewelry making, including malleability and corrosion resistance.
  4. These metals are considered beautiful, sensuous, and glamorous, which increases their appeal. Because of all of these properties, the Noble Metals – gold, silver, and platinum – are frequently used in jewelry making.

Gold

Coveted for its beauty, gold has long captivated the human psyche and is considered the most sensuous metal. Jewelry designers and makers find gold easy to work with and prefer it to other metals because it never tarnishes. Gold is perhaps the most workable metal, which is another reason designers enjoy working with it. A single ounce of gold can be stretched into a thread more than 50 miles long or rolled flat into a sheet that covers 100 square feet in area!

Another reason gold is coveted by both consumers and designers is that it lasts indefinitely, especially if properly cared for. Recent studies show that gold originated in the far reaches of the universe billions of years ago and arrived on earth in its infancy. It does not oxidize or corrode and only a handful of rare acids or hot chlorine bleach can damage gold. Gold can also be reused by melting down old gold objects and reforming the gold into new pieces. For example, old coins and broken pieces of jewelry can be melted down and reused to make a brand new piece of gold jewelry.

Gold Alloys

Despite gold’s desirable properties, it does have one significant drawback. It is soft, which means it wears easily. By mixing gold with other metals, or alloying it, gold is made stronger, which makes it durable enough to wear more often without experiencing wear. A variety of metals are commonly used to alloy gold, including silver, copper, nickel, iron, zinc, tin, manganese, cadmium, and titanium. Along with enhancing gold’s strength, alloying gold with other metals changes some of gold’s other properties as well. This is why some gold alloys stain people’s skin or cause an allergic reaction. The reaction is not caused by the gold itself, but by the other metals it is mixed with.

While pure gold is also used in jewelry making, it dents and shows wear easily, which is why most people choose not to wear 100% gold jewelry on a regular basis. When discussing gold and its alloys, the term karat is used to indicate the purity of the gold (Not to be confused with carat, which is a unit of measurement used to describe gemstone weight). Pure gold, which contains no other metals, is termed 24 karat gold. A gold alloy that is 50% gold and 50% other metals is 12 karat gold because it is only half pure gold. Alloys used in jewelry making range from 9 karat gold, which is approximately 37% gold, to 24 karat gold, and are required to be stamped and hallmarked according to purity. A newer alloy becoming popular on the jewelry scene is made of 99% gold and 1% titanium, allowing the alloy to retain nearly all of its gold color while providing improved durability.

Gold Alloy      
Karat Parts Gold Percent Gold Other Marks
24 24/24 100% 1000
18 18/24 75% 740
14 14/24 58.33% 585
12 12/24 50% 500
10 10/24 41.60% 416
Colored Gold

Mixing gold with different metals changes the color of the gold. For example, mixing copper with gold makes the gold darker yellow, while adding nickel plus zinc or other silver metals produces white gold. Contrary to popular belief, white gold contains no silver, which softens gold and gives it a green tint. Gold alloys also come in colors, including green, red, and blue.

Colored Alloys
Gold Color  Alloys
White 10% to 20% nickel, plus copper, tin, and sometimes platinum or manganese
Green Silver, sometimes cadmium and zinc
Red or Pink Copper
Yellow Silver and copper
Blue Iron
Gold Terminology

When discussing gold’s purity, or what percentage is pure gold, the laws are fairly strict in the U.S. To be labeled as a specific karat, a gold item must be within three parts per thousand of the karat marking for solid pieces and seven parts per thousand for pieces containing solder. Pieces that fail to meet this criterion must be labeled with a lower karat designation. When labeling jewelry and other gold items for sale, you cannot call an item solid gold unless it truly is 24 karat and if you refer to an item as gold, you must designate what karat the gold is.

The term “new gold” does not mean that the gold was recently mined. It means that the gold has been carefully refined to current gold standards. “Old gold,” on the other hand, comes from melting down old jewelry, coins, and other gold items. This old gold may be a slightly lower karat weight than the original gold depending on how much solder was used in the original jewelry pieces. Impurities in old gold pieces cause a variety of headaches during casting, including bubbles, so old gold is often sent for refinement rather than being melted down by your local jeweler and recast into a new item.

Gold solder, which is used to join pieces together, is actually sold based on its color not its gold content. Because the solder needs to have a lower melting point than the pieces it is joining, it is mixed with metals that have lower melting points than gold. The solder is matched to the gold pieces for an attractive look. Though this poses no problems for the owner of the current jewelry item, melting down this piece with its solder in the future will reduce the karat of the gold.

Less Than Solid Gold

With solid gold selling for more than $1,250 per ounce (as of September, 2014), many jewelry makers look for alternative ways of giving their customers the look and feel of gold without the hefty price of solid gold. This is often done by coating pieces made from less expensive metals with thin coats of gold. Items that are made this way are referred to as gold overlay pieces.

When shopping for these pieces there are two distinct methods of overlaying the gold that you need to be aware of. The first is gold filled. Pieces that are gold filled have a minimum of 5% gold applied to the base metal. They are classified based on how much gold is overlayed and the karat of the gold. For example, if a piece is marked 1/20 14K G.F., it means that the piece has a 14 karat gold layer that comprises 1/20 of the weight of the piece. The second type of gold overlay, rolled gold plate, is similar, but the gold can be as thin as 1/40 of the weight. It is also stamped by fineness and content, 1/40 14K RGP. Gold platings are the thinner and less expensive of the two types of gold overlays. The gold is a few thousandths of an inch thick, at best, and wear off easily.

The care of gold overlay pieces is quite different from the care of solid gold pieces because of the fact that the gold is layered on top of another metal. As previously mentioned, the gold on these pieces wears off over time and you cannot use a polishing wheel on these items because it will remove the overlay and potentially ruin the item.

You can learn more about how gold is quoted and priced here.

Silver

With its illustrious history, silver has been more highly valued than gold at various times throughout the years. Long used as a medium of exchange, its name is synonymous with money. Today, silver has found many new uses including photography, batteries, auto glass defogger, and magnetic strips, just to name a few.

Silver’s most outstanding feature is its luster. This Noble Metal is not without its drawbacks though. The main drawback for silver is that it tarnishes. The term tarnish is used to denote a layer of corrosion that forms over some metals, including silver, when they undergo chemical reactions. The chemical reaction that causes silver to tarnish requires a compound called hydrogen sulfide. Silver jewelry encounters hydrogen sulfide in the air you breathe every day, which is why silver tends to tarnish if left out where it is exposed to this compound on a regular basis.

Storing these items in protective pouches or containers where they are exposed to less hydrogen sulfide reduces the amount of tarnish on silver, which means less you can spend less time removing tarnish from your silver jewelry. There are a number of ways to remove tarnish from silver pieces, including silver polish and do-it-yourself methods using common household items, so you do not have to shy away from silver pieces because of the tarnish. Silver jewelry does require more care than some other precious metals, because of the fact that it tarnishes.

Silver is more abundant and much less expensive than gold or platinum, which are additional reasons why it is a popular metal for jewelry; however, it is more difficult to work than gold, because it conducts heat so well. This is why beginning jewelry makers often learn how to solder on silver. Once they gain control of soldering on this highly conductive metal, they find it much easier to control the heat when moving up to gold.

Silver Alloys

Silver is also commonly alloyed with other metals because, like gold, pure silver is soft and easily damaged. Adding harder metals improves the durability of silver, allowing jewelry designers to design pieces that are beautiful and strong enough to wear every day. The most common silver alloy is sterling silver. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is comprised of one or more other metals. A substantial portion of this 7.5% is often copper because it increases the hardness of the sterling silver.

The term Mexican silver applies to silver that is used as currency in Mexico and is typically comprised of 95% silver and 5% copper. While the copper increases its durability, it is used more for currency than jewelry. Typically even the silver jewelry made in Mexico is crafted from sterling silver.  You can learn more about silver markings, definitions, and terminology here.

In the U.S., coin silver contains 90% silver and 10% copper. You do not usually see coin silver used in jewelry. Britiannia silver contains a minimum of 95.84% silver, making it a more valuable alloy than sterling. While this may be used in jewelry, it is not common. There are a variety of additional silver alloys used worldwide, including a South American alloy made of 80% silver that does not tarnish. Jewelry makers stamp silver pieces with the code that denotes which alloy of silver it is. For example, 925 is used to designate sterling silver and 958 is used for Britannia silver. When shopping for silver jewelry inspect the piece carefully to determine which alloy was used.

Other Types of Silver Jewelry

While sterling silver is the most common type of silver used in jewelry making, there are some additional alloys that should be mentioned. Electrum, for example, is a naturally occurring alloy of silver and gold that was popular with the ancient Egyptians. Because electrum occurs naturally in nature, the ration of silver to gold varies with each piece.

Niello is a black mixture of silver, copper, and lead. It is used more like an enamel, so you do not typically see jewelry made entirely of niello. It is used as an inlay on etched or engraved metal or to fill in designs. Like electrum, niello was popular with the Egyptians, who used the mixture during the Iron Age.

While all of these silver alloys actually contain at least some silver, some metal names can mislead you into thinking the metal contains silver. Nickel silver or German silver, for example, are alloys of nickel, zinc, and other metals. These metals look like silver, hence the name, but they do not actually contain any silver. The same is true of quicksilver, which is the ancient term given to mercury due to its appearance. While mercury does resemble liquid silver, it does not contain silver and is not seen in jewelry because it is harmful to your health.

Platinum

Platinum is the rarest and most expensive of the Noble Metals. Its unsurpassed holding power and durability make it a highly coveted, premium jewelry metal. Platinum is incredibly durable and does not tarnish, which is why it is often used for engagement and wedding rings.

Though platinum has been found in various objects as far back as 700 BC, its use in jewelry is relatively modern. The main reason for this is that refining platinum proved difficult for a number of centuries because the metal has an extremely high melting point and is highly resistant to corrosion. The oldest recorded use of platinum is as an inlay in ancient Egypt. However, the Egyptians though it was a variation of electrum. Native Americans used platinum in small decorative objects for centuries. Platinum was unknown to Europeans until the Spanish settlers discovered it in Columbia. The Spanish called it platina, meaning little silver, and believed it was unripe gold and, therefore, unusable.

It was not until the eighteenth century that platinum was identified as a new metal and a researcher from Sweden figured out how to melt platinum with arsenic. Once individuals learned how to refine platinum they began to use it to decorate porcelain and to make laboratory equipment. The use of arsenic to refine platinum was extremely dangerous, which is why platinum did not gain popularity until the oxyhydrogen torch was invented in the mid 1800s.

Discoveries of platinum ore in several countries in the nineteenth century brought platinum to the attention of jewelry makers and platinum quickly became a symbol of wealth and celebrity status in the early 1900s. Stars like Greta Garbo and Cole Porter frequently appeared on film with platinum jewelry and accessories. It also became popular for setting exceptional gems. For example, the 530-carat “Star of Africa” diamond in the British royal scepter is set in platinum.

While platinum is still highly coveted in the jewelry industry, it is also used for a variety of industrial purposes. Today, platinum is commonly found in catalytic converters because of its ability to cause chemical reactions while remaining unchanged. In fact, half of the platinum mined in the U.S. and a quarter of the platinum mined worldwide is used for this purpose. The U.S. Bureau of Standards also uses platinum for weights because it never oxidizes and, therefore, remains the same weight forever.

Platinum Alloys

Though most people believe that the term platinum refers to one single type of metal, the truth is it is used to refer to a group of metals that share similar properties. The platinum group includes platinum, iridium, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and osmium. Platinum is the most abundant; however, it is not the only one of the group that is used for making jewelry. Rhodium is popular as a non-tarnishing plating for white gold, silver, and other platinum metals. Others from this group, including palladium and iridium, are alloyed with other metals or used alone to make jewelry. In fact, all but osmium are used for jewelry. The most common platinum alloys include 90% platinum and 10% iridium, or 95% platinum and 5% ruthenium. Ruthenium makes for the harder and stronger alloy.

Common Metallurgy Terms

  • Alloy: Mixing two or more metallic elements, especially to give greater strength or resistance to corrosion
  • Amalgamation: Purifying gold by mixing it with mercury.
  • Cementation: To surround a metal with a substance that will react with the metal under heat. Silver is parted from gold by cementation with salt.
  • Cupellation: A means of separating gold and silver from other metals and impurities. The ore is heated in a “cupel,” (a ceramic cup,) which absorbs the impurities.
  • Distillation: Metals with a low boiling point, like mercury, are vaporized to separate them from other metals.
  • Noble Metals: Metals that resists corrosion and oxidation.
  • Smelting: To melt an ore to separate and refine the metals within it.
  • Water Concentration: Washing ore causes the heavier metals to stay behind where they can be recovered.

 

Jewelry Metals 101: Most Commonly Used Jewelry Metals

50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Gold

50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Gold

1. The word “gold” comes from the Old English word “geolu,” meaning yellow.

2. There is more steel created per hour than there has been gold dug up throughout history.

3. Around 161,000 tons of gold have been mined by humans.

4. Gold can be found beneath the earth on all seven continents.

5. It is believed that around 80% of earth’s gold is still buried underground.

6. There is an estimated total of 10 billion tons of gold in the world’s oceans. That is 25 tons of gold for every cubic mile of seawater.

7. The world’s first gold vending machine was unveiled in May 2010. Located in an ultra-luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, the vending machine itself is covered in 24-carat gold.

8. Most western economies’ currencies were on the gold standard until 1961.

9. Switzerland was the last country whose currency was tied to gold. 40% of a Swiss Franc was backed by gold until Switzerland joined the IMF in 1999.

 

10. The gold held at Fort Knox is accounted for by the United States as an asset valued at $44.22 per ounce.

11. As of December 31, 1941 Fort Knox held 649.6 million ounces of gold.

12. Today, Fort Knox  holds about 147.3 million ounces.

13. The size of a standard gold bar is 7″ by 3 and 5/8″ by 1 and 3/4″

14. Alchemists believe they can change ordinary materials, such as lead, into gold.

15. A carat was originally a unit of mass based on the carob seed used by ancient merchants.

16. The most expensive gold coin in the world is the 1933 Double Eagle, which was sold at Sotheby’s in New York in 2002 for $7.59 million.

17. Elvis Presley owned three cars manufactured by Stutz Motor Company, in which every part that is normally chrome was converted to gold.

18. Former Tyco International CEO Dennis Kozlowski bought a gold-threaded shower curtain worth $6,000.

19. A noble metal, gold is prone neither to rust nor tarnish and does not form an oxide film on its surface when coming into contact with ai

20. There are 92 naturally occurring elements found in the earth’s crust. Gold ranks 58th in rarity.

21. The chemical symbol for gold is Au, which is derived from the Latin word “aurum,” which means “shining dawn.”

22. Absolutely pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with the hands.

23. The melting point of gold is 2,063 degrees Fahrenheit.

24. Gold is a great conductor of electricity.

25. Gold is the most malleable and ductile pure metal known to man.

26. An ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet covering 100 square feet.

27. In 1869, two Australians unearthed the world’s largest nugget of gold, the “Welcome Stranger,” which measured 10 by 25 inches before it was melted down.

28. The largest nugget still in existence is the “Hand of Faith,” found in 1980 in Australia. It is currently on display at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas.

29. A gold nugget found in the earth can be three to four times as valuable as the gold it contains because of its rareness.

30. The heaviest modern gold bullion coin is Austria’s Philharmonic. In 2004, the coin, which has a weight of 1,000 ounces (31.1 kilograms or 69 troy pounds or 828 troy ounces) and a diameter of 15 inches, was dubbed the world’s largest gold coin by Guinness World Records.

31. In 2007, Canada made a 100 kilogram (3,217 troy ounce), 0.99999 gold coin with a face value of $1,000,000.

32. Pure gold does not cause skin irritations.

33. Some sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis receive injections of liquid gold to relieve pain.

34. Olympic gold medals were pure gold until 1912.

35. An ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 60 miles long.

36. Two thirds of the world’s gold comes from South Africa.

37. India is the world’s largest consumer of gold today.

38. South Asian jewelry is generally more pure than western jewelry, comprised of 22 carat gold rather than 14 carat.

39. Gold is the state mineral of California and Alaska.

#-ad_banner_2-#40. 90% of the world’s gold mining has been done since the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848.

41. During the California gold rush, some speculators paid more for an ounce of water than they received for an ounce of gold.

42. South Dakota and Nevada produce more gold than any other states.

43. Scientists believe that gold can be found on Mars, Mercury, and Venus.

44. The visors of astronauts’ helmets are coated in a very thin, transparent layer of gold (.000002 inches) that reduces glare and heat from sunlight.

45. The Aztec word for gold, “teocuitatl,” was translated by Europeans as meaning “excrement of the gods.”

46. According to the legend of El Dorado (the gilded one), an Andean chief who was covered in gold dust would make offerings of gold into a mountain lake.

47. Evidence suggests that around 5,000 B.C., gold and copper became the first metals to be discovered by man.

48. King Croesus of Lydia created the first pure gold coins in 540 B.C.

49. When Franklin Roosevelt raised the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 in 1934, the dollar immediately lost 40% of its value.

50. Henry VIII, Diocletian and Nero were infamous gold debasers, mixing other metals into gold coins and decreasing their value.

http://www.investinganswers.com/investment-ideas/commodities-precious-metals/50-surprising-facts-you-never-knew-about-gold-1370

12 Fun Coin Facts

GREAT AMERICAN COIN COMPANY BLOG

12 Fun Coin Facts

Thursday, July 13, 2017 3:31:37 PM PST8PDT

Coin collecting can be a serious business, but it also has its fun and fascinating side. Here are a few things you might not know.

The Constitution Only Allows Coins, Not Paper Money

The Founding Fathers didn’t trust paper money, so they didn’t authorize it. It took an act of Congress in 1862 to print paper money for permanent circulation, and except for brief periods, some types remained redeemable in gold or silver until 1971, when the last U.S. Notes were discontinued.

The U.S. Dollar was Based on a Spanish Coin

The U.S. didn’t start minting its own coins until 1792. Until then, the Spanish silver 8-real coin, made in Mexico City (also known as “pieces of eight”), was so common that it was used as the basis for the value of the dollar. It remained legal tender in the U.S. until the mid-1800s.

A “Bit” Was a Real Denomination—More or Less

That same Spanish silver coin could easily be cut into eight parts (giving it its colloquial name) for smaller transactions. Those pieces were called bits, hence the expression “two-bits,” which was commonly used to describe one-quarter (2/8ths) of a dollar.

So Was the Eagle

The 10-dollar gold eagle, half-eagle and quarter-eagle coins were denominations specified in the Coinage Act of 1792. The double eagle $20 gold coin was created by that name in 1849.

All U.S. Coins Were Originally Gold, Silver, or Copper

Coins originally had worth of their own, since they were made of specific amounts of precious or semi-precious metals. When the value of those metals exceeded the coins’ worth, alloys and non-precious metals were substituted. Today’s circulating coins contain no gold or silver.

There Are No Pennies in U.S. Coinage

The coin representing 1/100th of a U.S. dollar is a cent, not a penny. The term penny came from European settlers who used the word to describe a small unit of currency in their native countries, but it has never been an official term in the U.S.

There Were 2-Cent and 3-Cent U.S. Coins Once

When the U.S. started minting coins in 1792, a dollar bought a lot more than it does today, so a few cents were all you needed to buy everyday items like food and sundries. That made 2- and 3-cent coins practical. Two-cent coins were discontinued in 1873 and 3-cents in 1889.

A Nickel Wasn’t Always a Nickel—Or Made of Nickel

We’ve always had the dime, but original 5-cent coins were called half-dimes and were made of silver. The small, thin coins were hard to use and easily counterfeited, and were replaced by a copper-nickel coin in 1873.

All U.S. Coins Bear Two Mottos

Federal law dictates that all U.S. coins carry the mottos “In God We Trust” and “E Pluribus Unum.”

Many Coins Are Worth Millions

In 2013, a 1794 “Flowing Hair” silver dollar sold at auction for over $10 million. 1913 Liberty Head nickels have sold for as much as $5 million. Pennies (OK, 1-cent coins) haven’t cracked the million-dollar mark yet, but a 1943 steel Wheat Cent can bring as much as $110,000.

Counterfeiting Used to be a Capital Offense

Because early coins were more crudely made, they were relatively easy to fake, so the 1792 Coin Act made counterfeiting or defacing coins punishable by death.

Billions of Dollars Are Just Lying Around

An estimated $10 billion in coins is held in U.S. homes. Another 58 million is left behind on airplanes worldwide, according to one estimate.

Coin collecting (numismatics, to be formal) has been a popular hobby as far back as ancient kings and queens, giving it the appellation “The Hobby of Kings.” As you learn more about the lore of coins, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a fun, fascinating activity with many rewards.

https://www.greatamericancoincompany.com/blog/12-fun-coin-facts/

FUN FACTS ABOUT COIN FLIPPING

FUN FACTS ABOUT COIN FLIPPING

    • The Commission on Presidential Debates relies on coin flips to determine whether the Republican or Democratic candidate gets to answer first.
    • The one-cent piece flipped by Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove to determine what the city of Portland would be named is on permanent display at the Oregon Historical Society.
    • Press operators at the US Mint spot check each batch of new coins.
    • In the sixteenth century, the Spaniards established mints in Mexico and South America to coin the gold and silver mined there.
    • Football Hall of Famer Turk Edwards saw his career come to a premature end when he twisted his knee while walking back to the sideline after calling the opening coin flip.
    • David’s coin features an image called “Seated Liberty” on the front. It was designed by assistant engraver Christian Gobrecht.
    • If David were alive and flipping coins in 1855, he’d be able to choose from eight different U.S. coins: the dollar, the half dollar, the quarter dollar, the dime, the half dime, the silver three-cent piece, the cent, and the half cent.
    • The United States minted the first dollar coin in 1794. Today, a 1794 “flowing hair” dollar can fetch upwards of $10 million at auction.
  • The tiny ridges found on the edges of U.S. quarters and dimes are known as reeding.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/going-deep-with-david-rees/articles/how-to-flip-a-coin-facts/