Image result for Amazonite

Amazonite (sometimes called “Amazon stone”) is a green variety of microcline feldspar.

The name is taken from that of the Amazon River, from which certain green stones were formerly obtained, but it is doubtful whether green feldspar occurs in the Amazon area.

Amazonite is a mineral of limited occurrence. Formerly it was obtained almost exclusively from the area of Miass in the Ilmensky Mountains, 50 miles southwest of ChelyabinskRussia, where it occurs in granitic rocks. More recently, high-quality crystals have been obtained from Pike’s PeakColorado, where it is found associated with smoky quartzorthoclase, and albite in a coarse granite or pegmatite. Crystals of amazonite can also be found in Crystal Park, El Paso County, Colorado. Other locations in the United States which yield amazonite include the Morefield Mine in Amelia Courthouse, Virginia. It is also found in pegmatite in MadagascarCanada and in Brazil.

Because of its bright green color when polished, amazonite is sometimes cut and used as a cheap gemstone, although it is easily fractured, and loses its gloss due to its softness.

For many years, the source of amazonite’s color was a mystery. Naturally, many people assumed the color was due to copper because copper compounds often have blue and green colors.More recent studies suggest that the blue-green color results from small quantities of lead and water in the feldspar.Hardness on Mohs Scale is 6-6.5


Did You Know: Tooth Enamel Is Harder Than Gold


Most people already know that our teeth have a protective layer known as enamel. However, it is not common knowledge what tooth enamel is made of and how strong it is. Your dentist will tell you that 95 percent of tooth enamel consists of minerals,

primarily calcium phosphate. The high level of minerals found in the tooth enamel gives it its hardness and HoustonJust how hard is tooth enamel? It is in fact the human body’s hardest substance. Using the scale of mineral hardness developed by German mineralogist Frederich Mohs in 1812, tooth enamel ranked 5 out of the 1-10 values. Diamonds ranked 10 (hardest) and plaster of Paris ranked only 2 on the Moh’s scale.

Tooth enamel was also found to be harder than limestone and most shells containing calcite. It was also harder than gold, silver, copper pennies, platinum and even iron, according to the Moh’s scale. Apparently, dentists of weren’t joking when they say if you would only take care for your teeth properly, it should last you a lifetime.

So, why doesn’t it last a lifetime for many people? It is inevitable for enamel to suffer some wear from chewing and bruxism or grinding of teeth against teeth. However, enamel suffers the most damage as a result of bacterial activity that breaks it down. The deterioration happens overtime with poor oral hygiene.

So, it’s not like you drink too much soda today and tomorrow you will have a hole in your tooth because you forgot to brush your teeth. But if this becomes a habit, then sooner or later, the enamel will weaken. It will be harder for enamel erosion to happen if its natural strength is maintained with proper dental care, which includes regular brushing and flossing. Regular visits to your dentist Houston Texas is also essential in maintaining good dental health.

Did You Know? ~ Dental Fillings in the 1800s

Did You Know? ~ Dental Fillings in the 1800s

Bonanza Opening Title ScreenThe other night my husband and I were watching Bonanza on the Western Channel. In this particular show, Little Joe was being pursued by an escaped Bad Guy Mental Patient who heard voices in his head and believed himself to be the ultimate hunter.  After he happened upon Joe Cartwright in the middle of nowhere, he decided to play the game, man is the hardest animal to hunt, and I’m going to hunt you, Joe Cartwright. He gave Little Joe a four hour start.

Halfway through the show, the Bad Guy Mental Patient almost caught up with Little Joe. He was close enough to scream vile threats, which he did. The camera zoomed in on him until all we saw was his open mouth—tongue and throat framed by teeth and lips. At this dramatic moment, I should have been worrying about how Little Joe was going to escape. Instead I noticed silver colored-fillings in Bad Guy Mental Patient’s molars. Lots of them.

That’s when my Inner Editor (who has an opinion about everything and suffers from compulsive author editorial internal logorrhea*) sat up and said, “Really? What did dentists fill teeth with in the late 1860s? Would they have looked silver? Is this accurate? Did the producers think about this detail while they zoomed so in close that we could Bad Guy Mental Patient’s tonsils?”

So while the Bad Guy Mental Patient continued to chase Little Joe on the television screen, I began to search for information about dental fillings in the 1800s.

Beginning in the 1820’s, tin was used as a filling material. It was inexpensive to use. Most of the fillings made in the mouths of soldiers during the Civil War were made from tin.

In 1850 Dentists experimented with fillings made from aluminum and asbestos. Lead was abandoned late in the 19th century because scientists became aware of its harmful effects.

In 1800 gold was first used. Adhesive gold foil was introduced in the mid-1850s, but it was slow to grow in popularity because of lack of dental training and information.

Beginning in the 1850s, dentists began to use amalgam in fillings. Dental amalgam is a mixture of metals, consisting of liquid mercury and a powdered alloy composed of silver, tin, and copper. Amalgam is still used to fill teeth today. I have some in my mouth. (Debate is ongoing about whether or not the minute amounts of mercury in amalgam fillings is harmful.)

So, in conclusion, my Bad Guy Mental Patient could indeed have had a mouth full of silver looking fillings.

And in case you were wondering, yes, all’s well that ends well on Bonanza. Little Joe escaped to be traumatized another day, while the Bad Guy Mental Patient died of heart failure.

*Logorrhea is a real a mental condition characterized by excessive talking (incoherent and compulsive). Compulsive author editorial internal logorrhea is totally my invention.



May 5, 2008
Coin Silver may be one of the least understood and most misused terms in the world of antiques. On eBay it is often used to describe European silver or antique coins. In the antique world the term is used to describe American silver flatware and hollowware made before 1870 that is NOT Sterling.
Put simply, Coin Silver is 90% silver. The silver content is 2.5% less than Sterling and is the same composition as American coins made prior to 1964. Silver is most often alloyed with copper for strength. Coin silver, then, also includes 10% copper.
Silver then, as now, was a symbol of affluence. It was the product of skilled craftsmen who worked with precious metals. Precious and rare metals. For the early American Goldsmith or Silversmith, the titles were interchangeable until the mid 1800’s, access to raw materials was a problem.
Until the opening of the Comstock Lode in 1859 there were no silver mines in the United States of any significance. Before that nearly all silver in the US first came as either a finished product — bowl, candlestick, spoon, or whatever — or as a silver coin or bar. Most all silver imports were of European manufacture.
Colonial currency was a hodgepodge of Pounds, Francs, and Pieces of Eight. The value of any given coin was determine by it’s weight and silver or gold content.
For the American silversmith to obtain raw materials he either had to purchase silver bars or melt silver coins. A silversmith with a rush order could, literally, reach into his pocket. And from that comes the generic term — Coin Silver.
Silversmiths would also buy silver items from the public. Most every silversmith’s newspaper advertisement would also include an offer to buy.
This partially explains the rarity of very early American silver. Many a spoon from the 1720’s was melted down to become an 1820’s spoon. Another reason that pre-1800 silver is rare is the fact that there were far fewer people and, of those, fewer still who could afford silver. As both population and wealth grew so did the demand for silver.
Concurrent with US population growth came advances in technology. The 1780’s brought a rolling machine for processing melt into sheets of silver. In 1801, Thomas Bruff of Chestertown, MD invented a spoon press. Hours previously spent on repetitious preparatory tasks could now be spent on ornamentation. Repoussed and Chased holloware and patterned flatware began to replace the plain Federal styles.
By 1855 Tiffany and Gorham were making exquisite silver and having difficultly selling it because: “It’s not as good as English Silver”… and it wasn’t. It was 90% silver. The English had been on the Sterling standard since the early 1300’s. Their silver was 92.5%. It wasn’t long before both Tiffany and Gorham were making Sterling silver.
This, in turn, left Kirk, Wood & Hughes, William Gale & Son, and every other silversmith in America listening to: “Well, it’s nice, but it’s not as good as Tiffany or Gorham”.
By 1870 Sterling had all but replaced Coin Silver. The small, local silversmiths were replaced by jewelry shops and ‘fancy goods’ merchants. These shops retailed Sterling silver made in large, mostly Northern, factories.
Perhaps because it is misunderstood, when compared to any other early
Americana, Coin Silver remains a bargain. Certainly, important pieces by important silversmiths, such as Paul Revere, are bringing premium prices. But many beautiful pieces by lesser known, but equally skilled, smiths remain reasonably priced and available.

History of Sterling Silver

History of Sterling Silver

Characteristics of Sterling Silver

The whitest of all of the precious metals, sterling silver has been heralded for centuries for its highly lustrous finish and versatile applications. Although harder than gold, sterling silver is still considered one of the more pliable and supple metals. Its malleability makes silver easy to hammer and mold into various forms and shapes. Silver melts at a slightly lower temperature than gold (1760 degrees F as opposed to 1960 degrees F).



Naming & History of Sterling Silver

Dating back to the time of primitive man, silver has been referred to by many different naming conventions. The story of how the word “sterling” was incorporated into the name is rooted in 12th-century lore. As payment for English cattle, an association of eastern Germans compensated the British with silver coins dubbed “Easterlings.” Eventually, the Easterling was widely accepted as a standard of English currency. The name was ultimately abbreviated to “Sterling,” which is now used to refer to the highest grade of silver metal.


The official designation of “sterling” to a piece of silver indicates that it contains at least 92.5% of pure silver. The remaining 7.5% can be comprised of any other metal alloy, most commonly copper. Although it may seem that an even higher silver content would be desirable, that’s not actually the case. Metal alloys with a silver content of more than 92.5% are too pliable to be used without suffering from dents and dings. The second alloy is required to ensure the metal’s stability and resilience.


Other Types of Silver
In addition to sterling silver, which contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper alloy, there are many different varieties and grades of silver in production throughout the world:


Fine silverThis type of silver has a silver content of 99.9% or higher. Fine silver is much too soft to be used in everyday applications, such as jewelry, d?r accents, or tableware. This premium class of silver is used to make bullion bars for international commerce.


Britannia silver: A higher grade than sterling silver, Britannia has a silver content of at least 95.84%. Originating as a standard in Britain as far back as 1697, Britannia silver is denoted by a hallmark stamp of “958” to indicate its silver content, sometimes accompanied by the symbol of Britannia.


Mexican silver: Another premium silver, Mexican silver consists of at least 95% pure silver and 5% copper. This elite form of the metal is not currently in wide circulation in Mexico; most of the silver jewelry and accents sold in Mexican marketplaces is forged from 92.5% sterling.


 Coin silver: Comprised of 90% silver and 10% copper, coin silver is made from melting down standard silver coins. Lower in silver content than sterling, this metal was widely used as silver tableware in the United States between 1820 and 1868, and as common currency until 1964.


 German silver: This term is usually used to refer to 800-standard silver, which consists of 80% silver and is commonly used for silverware, silver tableware, and decorative silver accents. 900-standard silver is another higher-grade version of German silver, and has a 90% silver content.



History of Sterling Silver in Fine Dining
If you’ve ever attended a very formal dinner party, you may have noticed the use of sterling silver tableware in some capacity. With its polished luster and timeless elegance, the addition of silver has the power to turn any ordinary meal into an elaborate event. Although used more sparingly today, the precious metal was historically a key component in setting a proper table.


The use of sterling silver in fine dining was most prevalent between 1840 and 1940, with the biggest surge between 1870 and 1920. During this time, the production and merchandising of silver ramped up considerably to accommodate the growing demand.


During the Victorian era, it was frowned upon to ever touch or handle food without the use of a utensil. The ultimate criterion for a fine dining table was sterling silver flatware, a must when setting a table for a formal meal in the United States and Europe. Silver flatware collections were extensive, often including up to 100 pieces. Formal dinners in the late 1800s and early 1900s were long, extravagant affairs, sometimes including up to 10 or more courses, each of which demanded its own set of silver utensils. It wasn’t uncommon to use several different types of sterling silver forks, spoons, and knives during a typical dinner.


Sterling silver was also used for serving pieces, such as large forks, cake knives, carving knives, soup spoons, and gravy ladles. In addition to its pleasing aesthetic properties, silver’s heft and stability made it a serviceable tool for cutting and serving food. Often, silver serving pieces were embellished with hand-carved designs and ivory accents.


And it didn’t stop there. Decorative table accents included sterling silver napkin rings, coasters, and elaborate silver candlesticks. After the meal, the precious metal was used for pots of hot water for tea, post-dinner liqueur goblets, sterling silver water pitchers, silver mint julep cups, and dishes of melted chocolate for topping desserts.


The prevalence of sterling silver in fine dining waned a bit in the mid-1900s, mainly due to rising costs of silver production. With modernity came a faster pace of life-people were busier and more rushed, and the elaborate, multi-course dinners that had once been the norm were relegated to only very special occasions among the upper class. Sterling silver dishes and tableware required a more time-consuming cleaning process than other materials, which also contributed to its diminishing popularity at the dinner table.


Today, although it’s not as widely used as it was during the Victorian era, there are many different ways you can revive the tradition of incorporating pure sterling silver tableware into a fine dining setting. Display hors d’oeuvres on a silver platter, or fill ornate silver cups with sugar and cream for coffee. Sterling silver flatware continues to make a grand impression, and serves as a luxurious wedding or housewarming gift. Accents such as silver candlesticks, vases, and sterling silver place card holders are also great ways to include the fine metal in your table decor.

Gold Mining Facts

Mining Facts
• Every American uses an average of 40,000 pounds of new minerals each year.
• Mining has touched less than one-quarter of one percent of all the land in the U.S.
• About 320,000 people work directly in mining throughout the United States and employment in
industries that support mining, including manufacturing, accounts for another 3 million jobs.
• Processed materials of mineral origins account for 5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.
• Only 3 million acres of public land, about the size of a county in Nevada, have gone into private
ownership from mining, compared with 94 million acres granted to railroads and 288 million acres
as agricultural homesteads.
• Minerals account for U.S. exports of as much as $6 billion per year.
• A television requires 35 different minerals; 40 minerals are used to make telephones and 15
minerals are needed to make a car.
• The United States is the world’s second-largest producer of copper and gold.
• The United States has the world’s largest reserve of coal.
• Wyoming is the nation’s top coal-producing state.
• The average miner earns $43,653 per year in salary, not including overtime, bonuses and benefits,
making mining the highest-paying industrial sector.
• Investment in technology, training and equipment has made the U.S. mining industry the safest in
the world.
Source: National Mining Association
• The average American now consumes 37mil lbs. of minerals, metals and fuel, over the course of a
lifetime. That includes 2,000lbs of copper, 6,000lbs of aluminum, 1,000lbs of lead, 1,000 lbs. of
zinc and 1.8 oz of gold per person.
• Mining has touched less than one-quarter of one percent of all the land in the U.S.
• About 320,000 people work directly in mining throughout the US and employment in industries
that support mining, including manufacturing, accounts for another 3 million jobs.
• Only 3 million acres of public land, about the size of a county in Nevada, have gone into private
ownership from mining, compared with 94 million acres granted to railroads and 288 million acres
as agricultural homesteads.
• Minerals account for U.S. exports of as much as $6 billion per year.
• A television requires 35 different minerals; 40 minerals are used to make telephones and 15
minerals go into making a car!
• The U.S. is the world’s second-largest producer of copper and gold.
• The U.S. has the world’s largest reserve of coal.
• Investment in technology, training and equipment has made the U.S. mining industry the safest in
the world.
• Some believe that the reason policemen in the USA are nicknamed “cops” or “coppers” is to do
with their uniforms which used to have copper buttons.
• Slag dumps in Asia Minor and on islands in the Aegean Sea indicate that man learned to separate
silver from lead as early as 3000 B.C.
• Nevada lands directly affected by mining is one tenth of 1%. That is not bad considering that it is
110,561 square miles and ranks 7th in the United States in size. It ranks 43rd in population at
800,493 people (1980 census).
• In ancient times salt was traded ounce for ounce for gold. Salt was once made into ‘coins’ and
‘cakes’ in china and the Mediterranean for use as currency. Several cultures levied taxes on salt.
• Gold was first legalized as money as early as 1091 BC in China as an alternative to silk. Gold is
still the only universally accepted medium of exchange.
• Coal was used widely in England in the 1600’s because of wood shortages. Brewers had decided to
try to dry their malts with coal generated heat but the fumes were absorbed by the brew, ruining
the taste. The brewers found, however, that the undesirable gases could be eliminated if the coal
was first heated in an air tight oven. Thus the discovery of the coke making process that has since
been an essential part in the making of iron and steel.
• Gold is the most ductile (easily molded or shaped) of all metals, allowing it to be drawn out into
tiny wires or threads without breaking. As a result, a single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire
five miles long. Gold’s malleability is also unparalleled. It can be shaped or extended into
extraordinarily thin sheets. For example, one ounce of gold can be hammered into a 100 square
foot sheet.
• The greatest gold rush in U.S. History began when gold was discovered at Sutter’s mill in
California by a man named James Marshall on January 24th, 1848.
• Because of the California gold rush there were enough people there by 1850 for California to be
admitted into the Union as a state.
• The Pikes Peak gold rush in 1859 opened up Colorado and launched the city of Denver.
• Homestake mine, in Lead, South Dakota, is one of the largest gold mines in the US. Operations
began on April 9, 1876 and is the oldest continually operating gold mine in the world.
• 2000 years ago the Chinese used an alloy of nickel.
• Pure nickel was first isolated in 1751 by Axel Cronstedt, a Swedish scientist.
• The Soviet Union is the worlds top nickel producer weighing in at about a fourth of the world total
in nickel production.
• Nitric acid was one of the first acids known. Many alchemists of the Middle Ages used it in their
• Salts are taken from the ground and purified…and end up on your kitchen table. Deposits were
formed by the evaporation of large parts of oceans millions of years ago. In these natural
formations also occur calcium carbonate and potash. Underground salt deposits are found all
around the world.
• There are two methods of removing salt form the ground…room and pillar mining and solution
• Of the 50 states in the union ALL of them mine something.
A newborn infant will need a lifetime supply of:
• 800 pounds of lead
• 750 pounds of zinc
• 1,500 pounds of copper
• 3,593 pounds of aluminum
• 32,700 pounds of iron
• 26,550 pounds of clays
• 28,213 pounds of salt
• and 1,238,101 pounds of stone, sand, gravel and cement
Source National Mining Association

Facts About Silver Jewelry And Gold Jewelry Metals/

Facts About Silver Jewelry And Gold Jewelry Metals/

What You Should Know – Silver and Gold Jewelry

About Silver Accessories and Karat Gold Jewelry

The two precious metals most often used in jewelry are alloys of silver and gold.

There are many different alloys used in modern jewelry making.

The type of jewelry you can wear is not just determined by your wallet –
but also by the way your body reacts to and tolerates exposure to metals.

Sterling silver tarnishes, especially in hot, humid weather. It contains 7.5% copper
by weight, which reacts with common air pollutants, darkening the surface of the metal.

This can prompt skin irritation if your skin is sensitive to (usually) nickel or Fats about (sometimes) copper.

If you have noticed that you have an itch that persists with drying and reddening of your
skin where your jewelry touches it, you are probably sensitive to the alloy in the metal.

Gold and silver are known to be non – reactive metals; but that does not mean
that everyone can wear any type of gold or silver jewelry without any problem.

Understanding more about metals can help you to choose
jewelry that is more comfortable and healthy for you to wear!

Higher karat gold alloys tend to be better tolerated than lower karat qualities because there is
less of the reactive metal in the alloy. Many people wear 18K or 22K gold jewelry for this reason.

Sterling silver is .925 pure, or 92.5% silver by weight, a very high percentage.
Most people don’t have any problems wearing sterling silver jewelry.

Modern silver alloys don’t contain nickel, the usual irritant in jewelry metals. Lower percentage
silver alloys like vintage “European” silver can irritate your skin more easily than sterling silver jewelry
if you have copper sensitive skin, because old European silver is .800 fine, or 80% silver / 20% copper.

Following is a listing of metals commonly used in jewelry making and an explanation of their properties.

Gold Facts – Alloys, Karats, and more!

Pure 24K gold is hypoallergenic. It doesn’t cause irritation to the body.

However, the metals mixed with gold to make it harder or
enhance the color of gold can cause adverse skin reactions.

Gold is very malleable, meaning it can be hammered
into very thin sheets – thin enough for light to pass through.

Gold is also very ductile – it can be pulled
through drawplates into wire much thinner than hair.

Pure gold is very soft. It is very easy to work with hand tools.To make it harder
it is mixed with other metals, creating an alloy. Gold alloy purity is expressed in karats.

Gold alloys are available in many colors. The color of the alloy is determined
by the percentage and type(s) of metal “mixed” with the pure gold.

Rose gold contains more copper; until recently
white gold was traditionally made with nickel.

Now white gold is also made with palladium, a platinum
family metal; green gold is made with an alloy of fine silver.
As an example, most green gold is 18 karat; 75% gold, 25% silver.

There are MANY other colors made with alloy combinations.

The percentage of gold used is directly related to the karat content of the alloy.

It does not matter what type of metal is “mixed” with the gold, just how much.

The chart (below) shows how much gold is in your jewelry.

1k Gold = 4.17% Gold and 95.83% alloy

2k Gold = 8.33% Gold and 91.67% alloy

3k Gold = 12.5% Gold and 87.5% alloy

4k Gold = 16.67% Gold and 83.33% alloy

5k Gold = 20.83% Gold and 79.17% alloy

6k Gold = 25% Gold and 75% alloy

7k Gold = 29.17% Gold and 70.83% alloy

8k Gold = 33.3% Gold and 66.67% alloy

9k Gold = 37.5% Gold and 62.5% alloy

10k Gold = 41.67% Gold and 58.33% alloy

11k Gold = 45.83% Gold and 54.17% alloy

12k Gold = 50% Gold and 50% alloy

13k Gold = 54.17% Gold and 45.83% alloy

14k Gold = 58.33% Gold and 41.67% alloy

15k Gold = 62.5% Gold and 37.5% alloy

16k Gold = 66.67% Gold and 33.33% alloy

17k Gold = 70.83% Gold and 29.17% alloy

18k Gold = 75% Gold and 25% alloy

19k Gold = 79.1% Gold and 20.83% alloy

20k Gold = 83.33% Gold and 16.67% alloy

21k Gold = 87.5% Gold and 12.5% alloy

22k Gold = 91.67% Gold and 8.33% alloy

23k Gold = 95.83% Gold and 4.17% alloy

24k Gold = 100% Gold and 0% alloy

In this chart, “alloy” means the other metal. It can be
silver, copper, zinc, nickel, iron or almost any other metal.

For instance, 10 karat yellow gold is 41.67% pure gold and 58.33% “other metals”,
mostly copper, maybe some silver and most likely some nickel or zinc to add hardness.

In the United States gold must be at least 9K to be sold as karat gold.

Lower karat gold alloys have a  higher percentage of the other metals added to them.

They tend to react to the pollutants and other
impurities in the air faster than higher karat gold alloys.

This means that the high percentage of copper or other metal in the
lower karat alloy will tarnish (or oxidize), just like sterling silver items do.

This can occur especially in hot weather when the metals react to salt in perspiration.

If this happens to your sterling silver or lower karat gold jewelry, you may want to take it off
and wash the piece in hot water with a detergent like Dawn, Joy or whatever you prefer.

If your jewelry is really dirty, try scrubbing it carefully with a soft toothbrush.
Polish with a jewelry polishing cloth, if you have one. Rinse and dry before wearing.

If you have a problem with sterling silver, medium to
low karat gold will probably give you difficulties as well.

Medium to low karat yellow gold has a much higher percentage of copper in it than sterling silver.

Nickel allergies are the most common. Many people have problems wearing white gold –
the problem isn’t the gold. It’s actually nickel – the alloy – that causes skin reactions!

The new palladium white gold alloys are a bit more expensive, but are hypoallergenic.

Silver Jewelry Metal Facts

Sterling silver is generally used for jewelry, and that is what most people think of when they see silver.

Silver also comes in various quality grades, measured by 1/1000 parts per gram.

There are impurities that naturally occur in silver at the molecular level. These impurities
consist of other metals – usually copper, but traces of other metals can also be found.

These trace impurities are insignificant, and would be
too costly to remove – so .999 silver is considered pure.

The table (below) shows the types of silver alloys generally used in jewelry making.

Silver Alloys

fine silver

Contains .001 trace metals.


95.84% silver + 4.16% copper.


92.5% silver + 7.5% copper.


90% silver + 10% copper.


83% silver + 17% copper.


80% silver + 20% copper.

All the alloys shown are legally referred to as “silver”.

The only legal requirement is that they are quality stamped or marked for sale to the public.

Silver Facts

As with gold, silver in its fine state is a non – reactive metal – allergies are possible but VERY rare.

People who have problems wearing silver jewelry are usually
allergic to the copper in the alloyed metal, not the silver.

During the European Industrial Revolution, people found that their .800 silver was tarnishing
much faster than before – a reaction to the new pollutants in the air – from burning coal in the factories!

Fine, or pure, silver with no copper content does not tarnish easily. Think about the fine silver
coins brought up from wrecked ships – everything from the Atocha to sunken pirate ships.

They come up out of the ocean after hundreds of years bright and shiny as new.

Fine silver can get dirty, of course, but will not tarnish like sterling silver.

There is a new alloy called Argentium® Silver. It is sterling, but contains germanium in place of copper.

Argentium® doesn’t develop firescale as easily during soldering and doesn’t tarnish the way
traditional sterling silver does because the germanium doesn’t react as the copper does.

Plated and Filled

There are different grades and methods of bonding precious metals to
a less expensive base metal, as indicated in the chart below.

Finished, Washed, Colored

These terms refer to the thinnest gold, silver, platinum or rhodium coatings. 
There is no standard thickness.

Plated, Electroplated

These metals have a required minimum standard thickness – usually .15 – .25 mils

Gold, Platinum or Silver Filled metals

A layer of karat gold, platinum or silver is mechanically
bonded to a base metal, usually brass or steel.

Filled metals usually have a thickness over 100 times that of plated metals.

Gold filled may be  marked with the gold percentage by weight and the karat value.

If a piece of jewelry is marked 1/20 14K GF – 5% of the total weight is 14K gold.
However, this is not required by law. Most times the quality is stated on a hang tag.

There is no approved marking system in the US for filled metals.

 Vermeil Gold plated over silver

Silver is the “base” metal

Many jewelry items are made of either plated or filled metals.

This is done to keep the cost of these items as low as possible.

The whole piece can be plated or filled metal, as with a chain. In many cases, the clasp and
metal parts of an otherwise top quality gemstone bead necklace or bracelet can be plated or filled.

If it is taken care of and worn properly, such as over a sweater, a necklace with plated parts
can last for a very reasonable length of time, even years – but eventually the plated
metal parts will oxidize or the plating will wear through to the base metal.

Filled metals are much higher quality and a much longer useful lifespan.

They have one or more layers of precious metal bonded to a base with heat and pressure.

Filled materials are at least 1/20 precious metal by weight.

They are much longer lasting than ordinary plated objects.

Filled metal objects are not usually marked with a quality stamp, such as 12k GF or 14k GF.

For information on the care and cleaning of jewelry, please visit this article:Jewelry Care

Article written by Robert Edwards ©2015.
Robert is a jeweler and metalsmith, and is webmaster of

This article may be linked and used as content on blogs and websites conditionally … ALL content –
links, author, copyright – must not be changed in ANY way – it must appear exactly as the article appears above.

Facts and History of Eating Utensils

Facts and History of Eating Utensils

Since the prehistoric times, our need for preservation and advancement brought creation of many new tools that enabled easier and more productive life. Among many of those fascinating tools were eating utensils – hand used tools that enabled us to better prepare, serve and eat food. These eating tools received countless dynamic advancement in line to the changing tastes, eating habits and technological states of civilizations throughout the ages.

Cutlery, a term that describes modern silverware tools of forks, knives and spoons had a very distinctive path through the history. Some of them were created and first used by our Paleolithic ancestors over 500.000 years ago and other were introduced only short 1000 years ago during European Middle Ages.

Knife Facts

Knife is most certainly the oldest eating utensil ever made. Although no one can know for certain when, first knives were most certainly made from the sharp stones that were used as tool for fighting and processing food. Stone knives (either naturally sharp of sharpened with the help of more durable stones) remained in use for a very long period of time, and started to be advanced only in Neolithic age some seven to four thousand years ago with the addition of crude wooden or animal hide handles, polished stone and varying shapes. Arrival of Bronze Age (3000-700 BC) finally enabled the metalworkers to forge crude versions of metal knives from copper and bronze. Shape of those knives that were primarily made for warfare and in some small degree for eating was standardized in those times, and the basic shape of the blade, wooden/hide handhold bolsters and tangs remained more or less unchanged until today.

As the age of the iron and steel came to the western world, knives became commonplace among every class of people -from high medieval nobles to poor workers and farmers. Even though the technology for creating usable cutlery was available, eating knives in the middle age Europe retained their “fighting” edge. Because hosts were not obliged to provide his guest with any kind of eating utensil, guest carried their own knives that were used for both eating and fighting. This tradition of using small, very sharp tipped knives (which were used as a simple form of fork, for stabbing and eating meat) started to fade in 17 century during the reign King Louis XIV of France. He banned the use of sharp tipped knives under the influence of his advisor Cardinal Richelieu who grew tired of seeing point knives all around him, and introduced the designs with ground-down point. This new kind of eating knifesoon became a standard part of a European, American and later on worldwide eating etiquette.

Spoon Facts

Spoon also represents one of the very old eating tools that were made in earliest eras of human history. As many of you know, warm liquids cannot be easily consumed by using bare hands, and for that purpose our Paleolithic ancestors frequently used simple bowl-shaped designs that sometimes looked very much like a modern spoon. Most notably, sea shells were connected to small wooden sticks and chips of wood were slowly transformed into spoon-like shapes. Many ancient civilizations used their own specific designs – Ancient Greeks preferred sea shells, Romans wood, and ancient Egyptian Pharaohs used elaborate golden or silver spoons that were engraved with many artistic designs, animals and hieroglyphics with passages from their myths. With the arrival of Middle Ages in Europe, wooden and metal spoons became commonplace and since then they became the integral part of modern eating utensils. Modern word for spoon came from the Anglo-Saxon word “spoon” which means “a chip of wood“.

History of Cutlery

Eating utensils such as knife and spoon followed our lives form the earliest points of our civilization to the modern times. Along the way, rise of technology and change of tastes enabled the creation of many other utensil that today sit on our tables. Find out their story.

History of Eating Utensils

Many eating utensils were created long after the introduction of knife, fork and spoon. Even though they are not used regularly in many cultures, their existence enabled us to experience food in variety of new ways.

Eating Utensils Facts

Throughout the history of our civilization, eating utensils managed to influence our lives, religion and history in many ways. Find out more about most important points in their history and the facts that define them.

Cutlery 14

Fork Facts

Even though knives and spoons were in use for tens of thousands of years, forks became commonplace only 1000 years ago. As the European nobility was responsible for the spreading of many inventions and traditions around the world, the first appearance of the fork in front of them was recorded in 1004, when Greek niece of the Byzantine emperor used golden fork at her wedding in Venice. Sadly, her “unconventional ways of eating” did not manage to fascinate Italian nobles, and forks remained unused for several more centuries. However their rise came with the arrival of Italian Renaissance. Introduced to French Court by Catherine de Medici in 1533, forks slowly started to gain grounds in Frenchnobility and common people. It must be noted that forks were indeed used by many European courts even in 14th century, but only with exotic foods that brought finger stains that were harder to clean.

By early 17th century travelers from all around the Europe spread the world of this eating invention, and forks soon became commonplace in the Old Continent. Northern Americancolonies however refused to implement forks in their eating rituals all up to early 19th century, when multi-tinned forks created in Germany or England came to the U.S.

Chopsticks Facts

Another very important part of modern eating utensils in Asian continents are chopsticks. Created around 5000 years ago in China, chopsticks became widely used during Han and Ming dynasties. After that they slowly spread beyond the borders of China and became primary means of consuming food in surrounding Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other countries. Pre-cut pieces of food, and the tradition of fast cooking meant that Asian people had no need to cut finished dished themselves, and chopsticks remained in use as a main eating utensil. They are made from wood, bamboo, plastic, and in some cases from metal, bone and ivory.

Currently, Japan and China are spending over 70 billion chopsticks each year, which is producing great environmental impact and stress on Chinese wood industry.

Modern Hybrids

During last few decades, designs of eating utensils received more advancements with the release of multipurpose eating tools such as:

  • Spork – Hybrid of spoon and fork.
  • Knork – Hybrid of knife and fork.
  • Spife – Hybrid of knife and spoon.
  • Sporf – Hybrid of knife, fork and spoon.

About gold jewellery

About gold jewellery


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.


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 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%


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.

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


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

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