Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Announcement of engagement

Harry and Meghan attending church on Christmas Day, 2017

Henry, Duke of Sussex, better known as Prince Harry,[3][note 2] is the second son of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. He and Meghan Markle, an American actress best known for her role in the American legal-drama television series Suits, have been in a relationship since June 2016. The relationship was first acknowledged on 8 November 2016, when an official statement was released from the royal family’s communications secretary addressing the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed toward Markle.[4]

On 27 November 2017, Clarence House announced that Prince Harry would marry Meghan Markle in the spring of 2018.[5] They were engaged earlier the same month in London, with the Prince giving Markle a bespoke engagement ring made by Cleave and Company, consisting of a large central diamond from Botswana, with two smaller diamonds from his mother’s jewellery collection.[6] At the same time, it was announced that they would live at Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace following their marriage.[7]

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh expressed their delight at the news, while congratulations came in from various political leaders, including the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. After the announcement, the couple gave an exclusive interview to Mishal Husain of BBC News.[7]

Markle will be the second American[note 3] and the first person of mixed race heritage to marry into the British royal family.[8] The engagement announcement prompted much comment about the possible social significance of Meghan Markle becoming a proudly mixed-race royal.[9][10][11][12][13]

The Queen consented to the marriage under the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which allows the monarch to approve or disapprove marriages of the first six persons in the line of succession. Harry was fifth in line at the time of his engagement.[14] The Queen‘s consent was declared to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom on 14 March 2018.[15]

Although Markle attended a private Catholic school in her early years, she did not identify as Roman Catholic.[16] On 6 March 2018, she was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at St. James’s Palace.[17] The Church no longer denies marriage to divorced persons with a living spouse.[18][19] After the engagement, Markle began the years-long process of becoming a British citizen.[20] She will retain her U.S. citizenship during the process,[21] but Kensington Palace have indicated that the decision on whether she will retain dual nationality has not yet been made.[20] The couple was invited to celebrate Christmas 2017 with the royal family at the Queen’s Sandringham estate.[22] The official engagement photographs were taken by Alexi Lubomirski, a former assistant to Mario Testino, at Frogmore House, and were issued by Kensington Palace on 21 December 2017.[23]

Wedding

Mounted soldiers of the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons); the Blues and Royals, Prince Harry’s old regiment, and part of the Household Cavalry, will ride as an escort in the procession.

The wedding took place on Saturday, 19 May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.[24] The venue was previously the site for the weddings of Prince Harry’s uncle, the Earl of Wessex, and his cousin, Peter Phillips, as well as the blessing for the marriage of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Harry’s stepmother.[25]

Experts expect the wedding to cost around £500,000;[26] the royal family have announced that they will pay for the wedding.[27] The costs for the cake, the florist, and the catering have been estimated to be £50,000, £110,000, and £286,000 respectively,[28] and the overall cost is expected to be around £32 million.[29] The security costs are expected to be lower than that of the 2011 wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.[30] The municipal government in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead has reportedly spent £2.6 million on cleaning the town and roads.[30] It has also been predicted that the wedding would trigger a tourism boom and boost the economy up to £500 million.[31]

The wedding dress was designed by Clare Waight Keller.[32]

The British government decided that the wedding day would not be a bank holiday, as was done for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.[33] The wedding was on the same date as the FA Cup Final, which Prince Harry’s brother William normally attends in his role as President of the Football Association.[34] Holding the royal wedding on a weekend is a break with the royal tradition of having weddings on a weekday.[35] On 12 February 2018, Kensington Palace announced that the ceremony will occur at 12:00 Midday BST. Following the ceremony, there was a carriage procession through Windsor. Two receptions are bring held; the first, for those attending the ceremony, will be hosted by the Queen and will take place in St. George’s Hall after the carriage procession. A second reception at Frogmore House, for family and close friends and hosted by the Prince of Wales, will occur later in the day.[36]

The wedding cake is a layered lemon and elderflower cake and decorated with peonies in shades of white and cream.[37] The cake designer Claire Ptak based in London was chosen in March 2018.[38]

Approximately 250 members of the British Armed Forces were involved in the wedding, the majority coming from units that have a connection with Prince Harry:[39]

Wedding party

On 26 April 2018, Kensington Palace announced that Prince Harry had selected his older brother, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, as best man.[40][41] There was initially no confirmation as to whether Prince William would miss the FA Cup Final, which he would normally attend in his role as President of The Football Association, or if he would be able to attend both the wedding and the football. A statement from Kensington Palace that the timing of the wedding would not clash with the match was released in December 2017.[42] However, it was confirmed in March that the Duke would not be attending the final that day.[43]

There were suggestions that the bride’s friend Jessica Mulroney would be her maid of honour.[44][45] In early May 2018, there was confirmation that there would be no maid of honour, and that the bridesmaids and page boys would all be children.[46] A total of ten bridesmaids and page boys were chosen, with the bride and groom each selecting five: two of Meghan Markle’s godchildren, seven-year old Rylan Ritt and her six-year old sister Remi, as well as Brian, John and Ivy Mulroney, the three children of her friend Jessica Mulroney, were chosen by the bride, while Prince Harry’s niece and nephew, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge, as well as his godchildren Florence van Cutsem, Zalie Warren and Jasper Dyer, were selected by the groom.[47][48]

On 18 May 2018, Kensington Palace announced Prince Charles would accompany Meghan Markle down the aisle, after she confirmed her father, Thomas Markle, would not be attending the wedding due to heart surgery.[49][50] The bride spent the night before the wedding at Cliveden House along with her mother, while the groom stayed at Coworth Park Hotel with his brother.[51][52] Markle made her way to the church accompanied by her mother.[53]

Wedding service

From 8.00 am, the public started to arrive at the grounds of Windsor Castle. The main congregation and the guests all arrived at the abbey at 9.30 am followed by members of the Royal Family. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were the last members of the Royal Family to depart for the ceremony, as is tradition, arriving at the church at 11.52 am.[54] Shortly after, Markle arrived with the party of junior attendants. She proceeded down the aisle followed by the attendants, where the Prince of Wales met her to escort her through the quire. He accompanied her to the altar, where Prince Harry was standing.[55][56]

Prince Harry’s aunt, Baroness Fellowes, sister of Harry’s mother the late Diana, Princess of Wales, delivered a reading. The Dean of Windsor, David Conner, conducted the service with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, performing the marriage ceremony. The sermon was delivered by The Most Reverend Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church (the American member church of the Anglican Communion).[36][57] Curry’s address emphasised the redemptive property of love.[58] The Queen’s chaplain, The Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, and the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, Anba Angaelos offered the prayers.[59]

In the marriage vows, the couple promised to “to love and to cherish” each other.[60] This was sealed by the exchange of rings.[60] After the signing of the registers, Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle, pausing briefly to bow and curtsey to the Queen.[61] They were followed in procession by other members of the bridal party, and their families.[60]

Music

Two choirs, an orchestra and fanfare trumpeters provided music for the service. The orchestra was made up of musicians from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra. In addition to the Choir of St George’s Chapel, the Kingdom Choir, a gospel group, also sang, while the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry gave a fanfare. The State Trumpeters included Kate Sandford, thus making her the first female state trumpeter at a British royal wedding.[62] The music was under the overall direction of James Vivian, the chapel’s Organist and Director of Music; the Kingdom Choir was conducted by Karen Gibson, and the orchestra was conducted by Christopher Warren-Green.[63][64]

Music during the service included “Eternal source of light divine” (from the Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne) by George Frederick Handel; the motet “If ye love me” by Thomas Tallis; the song “Stand by me” by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Ben E. King, arranged for choir by Mark Delisser; and “The Lord bless you and keep you” by John Rutter. Works performed during the signing of the register included Sicilienne by Maria Theresia von Paradis, Après un rêve by Gabriel Fauré and Ave Maria by Franz Schubert (soloist was the cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason). During the procession, the musicians performed the Allegro from Symphony no. 1 in B-flat by William Boyce and “This Little Light of Mine” by Etta James, Jester Hairston and Harry Dixon Loes.[65]

Guests

In April 2018, it was announced that an “official list” of domestic and international political leaders was not required for the wedding and that Prime Minister Theresa May, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, and other leaders would not attend the ceremony. President of the United States Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama were also not invited.[66] This is in contrast to the wedding of Prince Harry’s elder brother, which had a large number of such guests due to his position as a future monarch.[67] The decision not to invite political leaders to the wedding was taken in part because of the limitations of the venue, and also took into account Prince Harry’s position as sixth in line to the throne.[67]

With a smaller ceremony and reception at St George’s Hall, the guest list included approximately 600 people, most of whom have a “direct relationship” with the couple.[68] Also, 200 close friends of the couple were invited to attend the evening reception at Frogmore House.[1] Approximately 1,200 members of the public were invited to greet the couple outside the chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.[68] The invitees outside the chapel were “people from charities, Windsor Castle community members, people from the royal households and the Crown Estate, and local school children.”[69]

Sarah, Duchess of York, the former wife of Prince Andrew, was invited to the wedding even though she had not been invited to the weddings of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly in 2008 or Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall in 2011. However, she was not invited to the evening reception at Frogmore House hosted by Prince Charles and was reportedly “deeply upset” by her omission.[70]

Amongst the non-royal guests were Meghan’s Suits co-stars Patrick J. Adams (with wife Troian Bellisario), Gabriel Macht, Sarah Rafferty, Gina Torres and Abigail Spencer, actors George Clooney (with wife Amal Clooney) and Idris Elba, actresses Oprah Winfrey, Priyanka Chopra and Carey Mulligan, Late Show host James Corden, tennis player Serena Williams (with husband Alexis Ohanian), David and Victoria Beckham, musicians Elton John, James Blunt, Joss Stone and Marcus Mumford, and rugby players Jonny Wilkinson and James Haskell. Harry’s ex-girlfriends Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy were in attendance as well.[71][72][73][74]

Charitable donations

In April 2018, the couple requested that, rather than sending wedding gifts, people should make a charitable donation. They announced a list of seven organisations, none of which they had a formal association with, that they had nominated to benefit from such donations:[75][76]

  • CHIVA (Children’s HIV Association): The small charity supports more than 1,000 young people living with HIV in the UK and Ireland.
  • Crisis: The national homeless body works with thousands of people a year to help rebuild their lives.
  • The Myna Mahila Foundation: The organisation, based in Mumbai, helps empower women through offering stable employment and breaking cultural taboos around menstrual hygiene. Myna Mahila also teaches women life skills such as maths, English and self defence.
  • Scotty’s Little Soldiers: The charity supports children who have lost a parent while serving in the British Armed Forces.
  • StreetGames: The organisation uses sport to help young people and communities become healthier and safer.
  • Surfers Against Sewage: The national marine conservation body works to protect oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife.
  • The Wilderness Foundation UK: Vulnerable teenagers from urban communities are taught about the great outdoors and rural employment opportunities.

Coverage

Coverage of the royal wedding was shown on BBC One, ITV, Sky News and E! (Europe) in the UK.[77] In the United States coverage aired on CBS, NBC, ABC, E!, PBS, BBC America, TLC, FOX, and HBO.[78] CBC will broadcast the programme in Canada, while TVNZ screened it in New Zealand along with SBS and Nine in Australia.[77][79] The wedding was also streamed live online on YouTube via the British Monarchy‘s official The Royal Channel.[80]

Huw Edwards hosted coverage for BBC TV with Desert Island Discs host Kirsty Young and BBC Radio 2 DJ Dermot O’Leary. The BBC Radio coverage was co-hosted by Chris Evans and Scarlett Moffatt.[81] Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham hosted coverage for ITV.[82] Kay Burley, Anna Botting and Alastair Bruce, among others, hosted coverage for Sky.[83] CBS’s coverage began at 4 a.m. EST with CBS Presents “The Royal Wedding”.[84] Gayle King provided commentary during the broadcast. ABC began its coverage at 5 a.m. EST with a special edition of Good Morning America.[85] NBC aired the ceremony at 4:30 a.m. EST with a special edition of The Today Show.[86] The pay subscription network HBO hosted a live broadcast titled “The Royal Wedding Live with Cord and Tish!” starting at 7:30 a.m. EST.[87] The parody hosts were Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan, the alter egos of actors Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon. BBC America provided a live and simulcast of BBC ONE’s coverage, albeit with limited commercial breaks.[88]

It also aired on the Republic of Ireland‘s national broadcaster RTÉ, despite the fact that the British royals no longer rule over that part of Ireland.[89] Sinn Féin TD John Brady said “As an Irish Republican living in a so called ‘Republic’ I totally oppose RTE using my TV license money to broadcast the wedding of a privileged English monarch [sic].”[90] Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile also spoke against the broadcast. A group called “Anti Imperialist Action Ireland” also opposed the broadcast, saying “the decision by RTÉ to broadcast the wedding live is part of a wider agenda to portray the struggle for Irish National Liberation as finished, and to present the relationship between Ireland and Britain as a normal one […] the illegal presence of British Imperialism in Ireland will continue to be resisted and Irish Socialist Republicans are committed to challenging and smashing the Normalisation agenda.”[91] RTÉ defended its decision, citing “huge public interest” and that the coverage was being provided for free.[92]

Fun facts about Canadian currency

Fun facts about Canadian currency

Circulation coins

Over 1 billion circulation coins are minted each year at our high-tech plant in Winnipeg. The effigy of our monarch has appeared on every Canadian coin produced by the Mint since 1908. Reverse designs, however, have changed considerably over the years to reflect the changing face of our diverse culture.

Mintage refers to the quantity of coins produced in a given period and can influence the value of a coin: lower mintages tend to be more in demand because they are scarcer. The physical specifications of circulation currency are essential to an understanding of a coin’s history, composition and design. This information allows collectors to determine a variety of characteristics, particularly mintage.

Coin recycling makes cents

The Royal Canadian Mint is committed to recycling coins. Every coin put back into circulation is one less to produce, which makes recycling an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to provide change to the marketplace.

Turn small change into found money and help the environment!

Pennies, nickels, dimes. quarters, loonies, toonies. Coins add up fast, yet often lie around in jars and drawers. Instead of leaving your hidden treasure to collect dust, why not recycle your spare change? Every coin recycled is one that doesn’t have to be produced – which helps to preserve the environment and reduces emissions caused by smelting and mining.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your spare change adds up to something big!

Fun facts

A 4-litre pickle jar can contain:

4,992 pennies = $49.92

8,400 dimes = $840.00

3,411 quarters = $852.75

A Mint employee brought in a 4-litre pickle jar of small change that had been accumulating over the years. It contained over $1,000!

More than 67% of recycled coins are pennies

Coin counting machines turn your coins into cash, faster!

Take a look in your pockets, your piggy bank and your purse – and Coin recycling makes cents

http://www.yorktonthisweek.com/entertainment/local-a-e/fun-facts-about-canadian-currency-1.1522141

Stock Market 101: Understanding the Basics InvestingPersonal Finance

 

Bank exchange rate display

The stock market is a complicated entity to understand. We’re bombarded with information about stocks, and the ebbs and flows of the trading day, but some people might have a hard time understanding the basics.

You may have read about Snapchat opening up an IPO, and wondered what an IPO is, and why they are important?

My goal here is to break down the basics of the stock market – the stuff you need to know if you want to impress your friends at dinner one night.

Get ready for Stock Market 101, and buckle in.

Disclaimer: This post will by no means make you a stock market expert. If you’re looking for trading tips and advice, I suggest you consult someone who does that for a living.

Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500

These are the three bigwigs that make up the New York Stock Exchange (the place where most of the trading goes down). Each of these is called a “stock market index,” which is just a fancy way of saying that they’re methods used to measure a section of the stock market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an index that measures the stock trading of 30 different blue-chip companies, ranging from American Express to Walt Disney. Implemented in 1896, it’s probably the most-watched stock index in the United States.

The Nasdaq Composite is also closely watched for other reasons. Its more than 3,000 components consist primarily of technology companies and growth companies, but it also holds components of companies not in the United States.

The third horse in this race is the S&P 500. The S&P first came on to the scene in 1923, and the 500 stands for the number of companies that have their stock included in this index.

What Is a Stock, Anyway?

Stocks are pretty simple. Investors buy stock for a particular company because they feel that the particular company’s valuation will increase. You invest in the stock, sit on it and watch it appreciate (go up in value) – or depreciate and go down.

There are two types of stocks: common stocks and preferred stocks. Common stock is what most people think of when they think of stock. You buy shares in the company (it could be one share or 1,000) – and you watch the value go up or down. The goal is to buy low and sell high. Depending on the investment policies of the company, they may or may not give money back to the shareholders in the form of a dividend.

Preferred stocks are a combination of a traditional stock and the bond (more on bonds later!). The price doesn’t change as much as regular stocks, and there’s always a dividend. Common stockholders get the right to vote on certain matters, while preferred stockholders do not.

Shares and Stock Valuation

Whether the stock is common or preferred, publicly traded companies are sold in shares. When you buy stock in Alphabet (parent company of Google) or Snapchat or Hershey’s, you buy a small piece of the company, a share. The actual percentage of the company that’s represented by each share depends on how many shares are available for trading as well as the terms for shares that aren’t publicly available. These latter types of shares are typically reserved for company executives and early investors.

Stock valuation is a term for figuring out how much a stock is worth. Part of that is based on share price, but it goes beyond that. We’ll get into some of this later on, but for now, what causes stock prices to move?

What Causes Stock Market Fluctuations?

The basics of stock prices fall under the principles of supply and demand. If more people want to buy a stock (the demand is high) than how much stock is available to trade (supply is low), the price of that stock moves up. On the other hand, if people don’t want to buy a stock (low demand), and there is a surplus of said stock (high supply), the price of that stock will be low.

After that, it gets a little more complicated. There’s also a global economic element to this.

“It’s a Small World” may be a Disney song, but it becomes truer every day in business. The big corporations listed on the stock market tend to have investments all over the globe. Imagine something happens – anything from an oil spill to the election of an unexpected politician. Whatever it is, if it causes a big enough shock over a big enough area, it may cause people to take their money out of stocks and put it back into bonds, which are considered safer assets due to guaranteed returns.

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While that tends to be good for mortgage rates, it’s not good for your stock portfolio.

Making things even more complicated is the fact that you can’t value a company on the share price alone. Let’s dig in just a little deeper.

Dividends, Dividend Yield and Market Capitalization

Dividends are the payments made by a corporation to its shareholders, and are based off of the company’s profits. If a company does well, the shareholders’ dividends increase. If a company is doing poorly, the shareholders’ dividends would decrease, and the holder would probably consider selling them off.

Market capitalization is simply the price of individual stock of a particular company multiplied by the number of shares being traded.

So if a company’s share is worth $100, and there are 50 million shares being traded, the company’s market capitalization would be $5 billion. If a company’s share is worth $50, but there are 150 million shares being traded, that company’s market capitalization would be $7.5 billion.

That’s why you cannot value a company based solely off of the price of their stocks.

Also, from an investing standpoint, you should be wary of investing in stocks simply because they’re trading at a high dollar value. You want to take a look at what is called the “dividend yield,” which is how much a company pays out in dividends each year divided by its share price.

To get the basics on dividend yields, let’s do a quick example. Let’s say Sabre is trading for $20 a share, and Dunder Mifflin is trading for $40 a share. If both companies pay out a dividend of $1 per share a year and you have the money to buy into one or the other, which company would you invest in based off of the dividend yield?

If you said Sabre, you’re right. Sabre would be yielding at 5%, while Dunder Mifflin would be yielding at 2.5%.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

Snapchat is a perfect example to explain what an initial public offering is, simply because they just issued their IPO recently. It has dominated headlines and is probably the most anticipated public offering since Facebook, a fellow competitor in the social media space.

An IPO is the first sale of stock from a private company looking to be publicly traded. IPOs are usually used to raise capital to expand in some way, shape or form, by getting investors to invest cash into a business for a hopeful large return later on.

Companies go public for a variety of reasons. It enables them to raise a sizable wad of cash in order to carry out future plans for expansion and continued operations. It also allows the founders and initial investors to begin to reap the rewards of their hard work by making some of their own stock publicly available.

Bonds and Treasury Bills

Bonds and treasury bills (or T-bills) are similar and different at the same time. Although they aren’t stocks, if you’re going to participate in the market, it probably helps to understand how they work. Both bonds and treasury bills involve an upfront investment with the understanding that a fixed interest rate will give you a solid return on the investment – but how long it takes for you to get that return and how the return is calculated differs between the two.

Bonds offer a fixed rate of interest over a fixed period of time. You don’t get as much of a return on your investment as you would if you were to invest in the stock market, but since it’s a fixed rate, volatility is a non-issue.

T-Bills are bought for a shorter period of a time and are always bought back less than a year later. T-Bills are also only available in denominations of $1,000 and have a maximum purchase of $5 million. They are purchased from an auction setting, and your return value is calculated by the difference between the discounted value you paid for the T-bill and the amount you receive back.

Hypothetically, if you invested $9,000 in a 13-week T-bill, you would be getting a letter from the U.S. Government saying “Hey, pal. Thanks for purchasing this T-bill. In 13 weeks, with our 2.04% interest rate, we’re going to cut you a check for $9,183 for your trouble.” As a result, you just made $183 on your investment for letting the government borrow $9,000 for 13 weeks.

Overwhelmed yet? If, on the other hand, what you’re feeling is closer to excitement than exhaustion, you might want to figure out how to get started investing.

https://www.quickenloans.com/blog/stock-market-101-understanding-basics

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

.999 
fine silver

Contains .001 trace metals.

.9584
Britannia

95.84% silver + 4.16% copper.

.925
sterling

92.5% silver + 7.5% copper.

.900
coin

90% silver + 10% copper.

.830
European

83% silver + 17% copper.

.800
European

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 http://www.jewelry24seven.com.

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.

 

http://www.jewelry24seven.com/metal_facts.htm

Coin Collecting 101: What All New Collectors Need to Know

Coin Collecting 101: What All New Collectors Need to Know

This helpful beginners guide for coin collectors will give you the tools to collect coins with confidence. Many collectors launch into numismatics with enthusiasm only to be sold on the wrong coin or pay way too much. It is true that collector coins are just that, collector coins, and they can be sold for what people are willing to pay for them. However, having a better understanding of the market and knowing where to find low-premium coins will keep you ecstatic about your hobby for years. Like with any hobby, the better informed you are, the better collecting decisions you will make.

The first step in getting better acquainted with your hobby is to understand coin terms. When a coin salesman throws a bunch of fancy terms at you to describe a coin, it’s always nice to understand them as if he was talking about options on a new car. Be weary of representatives using high pressure tactics. This is a big red flag. There are certain situations where a company may only have a couple of an item in stock, but do not allow their inventory to sway your decision.

Basics of Coin Grading and the Importance of Quality

The topic of coin grading and in particular, the Sheldon Scale, is something all coin collectors need to understand. We cover this topic in a previous blog post where we breakdown the Sheldon Scale. Back in the 1940′s, Dr. William Sheldon began establishing a unique method of organizing his massive penny collection. Completed in 1949, his quality scale of 1-70 was quickly adopted by other collectors as “the best way to describe the quality of a coin”. Recognizing it’s efficiency, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) adopted the Sheldon Scale in 1977 with the major grading companies following shortly thereafter in the early 1980′s.

The single most important determining factor of value in a coin is it’s condition. The higher the grade, the more the coin is worth. Collectors have had and always will have a desire to own fine things. Knowing you have something of better quality than the majority of other collectors makes one feel good. Owning something that not everyone has a chance to own is why collectors collect. You may ask yourself why pay more for MS70 coins? Perfect 70 graded coins are highly desirable because of their flawlessness and rarity. Very few coins minted ever get submitted for grading and of those that do, a small percentage merit the flawless 70 grade. The natural minting, packaging and shipping processes leave way for small defects and scratches on coin surfaces. Any coin not in circulation will grade between 60-70.

It is extremely important to have an experienced advisor you trust to work with when collecting coins. This goes for new and veteran collectors. A good collectible coin advisor stays up to date with the market daily and has a better feeling for when great deals become available. At CoinAdvisor.com, we specialize in just that, offering each collector a person advisor to inform you of market updates, great deals and answer all of your collecting questions. To get in contact with one of our friendly advisors, fill out this contact form and we will be in touch same day.

Enjoy Discount Pricing on Your Collectible Coins

There is no worse feeling that finding out you paid way too much for a rare coin. This is another benefit of having an advisor you trust that proves themselves time and time again to you. There are many choices a collector has when buying collectible coins; online dealers, auctions, coin/currency expos and TV network infomercials. Without knocking any of these medias directly, you must realize that if the production costs to promote a coin are high, than so are the premium added to the coin. Some large companies that sell coins on TV pay millions and millions of dollars in media costs to air their coins and pay their hosts. This overhead has to be accounted for somewhere, unfortunately it trickles down to the cost of your purchase.

On the other hand, great buys can be found more regularly online and at coin expos because of the low overhead to market their products. Auctions are also becoming more popular however they takes days of close watching to get a good deal and you have little recourse if you don’t receive exactly what you bought.

Our online store offers the coin market a low-cost option to buy rare collectible coins. Compare our pricing with the major coin catalogs out there and you will see the savings is significant. Browse our online coin store here and save up to 20% and even more shopping your favorite collectible coins. Enjoy FREE shipping and handling as well on all orders. We hope this guide is helpful for newer coin collectors. Remember, the more informed you are, the better collecting decisions you will make.

 https://www.coinadvisor.com/blog/coin-collecting-101/

American Eagle Coin Program

American Eagle Coin Program

american eagle platinum, gold, and silver coins
In 1986, Liberty, as depicted by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, was selected as the design that would grace the obverse of the American Eagle Gold Coins. The Saint-Gaudens design first appeared on the United States’ $20, or double-eagle, gold piece in 1907, where it remained until 1933.

Like their gold counterparts, American Eagle Silver Coins have been produced and sold in both proof and bullion finishes since 1986. They have always featured a rendition of sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s magnificent Walking Liberty design, originally prepared and executed for the half-dollar coin in 1916.

American Eagle Bullion Coins for Investors

Congressionally authorized American Eagle Bullion coins provide investors with a convenient and cost effective way to add a small amount of physical platinum, gold, or silver to their investment portfolios. The American Eagle Bullion program was launched in 1986 with the sale of gold and silver bullion coins. Platinum was added to the American Eagle Bullion family in 1997.

A bullion coin is a coin that is valued by its weight in a specific precious metal. Unlike commemorative or numismatic coins valued by limited mintage, rarity, condition and age, bullion coins are purchased by investors seeking a simple and tangible means to own and invest in the gold, silver, and platinum markets. American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins are available in four denominations: one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce while the American Eagle Silver and Platinum Bullions Coins are only available in the one ounce size.

Watch the video below to see how the West Point Mint makes a gold bullion coin.

American Eagle Bullion Coins

How to Buy American Eagle Bullion Coins

Aside from the proof version, the United States Mint does not sell American Eagle Bullion coins directly to the public. Instead, the Mint distributes uncirculated Bullion coins through a network of wholesalers, brokerage companies, precious metal firms, coin dealers, and participating banks, a network known as Authorized Purchasers.

This method provides effective and efficient distribution, which maximizes the availability of the coins in retail markets as well as major investment markets. For more information about American Eagle Bullion Coins, call 1-800-USA-GOLD.

American Eagle Bullion coins are sold based on the current market price of platinum, gold, or silver plus a small premium to cover minting, distribution, and marketing costs. A portion of this premium is often recoverable upon resale. Prices between dealers will vary. Volume discounts often apply.

American Eagle Proof and Uncirculated Coins for Collectors

The United States Mint produces proof versions of the American Eagle Coins for Collectors. The American Eagle Proof program was introduced in 1986 with the sale of gold and silver proof coins. Platinum was added to the American Eagle Proof line-up in 1997.

The term “proof” refers to a specialized minting process that begins by manually feeding burnished coin blanks into presses fitted with special dies. Each coin is struck multiple times so the softly frosted, yet detailed images seem to float above a mirror-like field. After scrutiny by white gloved inspectors, each American Eagle Proof Coin is placed in a protective plastic capsule and mounted in a handsome satin-lined velvet presentation case.

An official Certificate of Authenticity accompanies each coin. American Eagle Proof Coins sell at a fixed price and can be purchased directly from the United States Mint.

American Eagle Proof Coins

American Eagle Uncirculated Coins

The United States Mint also offers collectible, uncirculated versions of the popular gold and silver American Eagle Coins. These coins are sold directly to the public, and all American Eagle Uncirculated Coins feature the same stunning designs found on their proof counterparts.

The term “uncirculated” refers to the specialized minting process used to create these coins. Although they are similar in appearance to American Eagle Bullion Coins, uncirculated quality coins are distinguished by the presence of a mint mark, indicating their production facility, and by the use of burnished coin blanks, which are hand-fed into specially adapted coining presses one at a time.

Each American Eagle Uncirculated Coin is carefully inspected before it is encapsulated in plastic. With its pristine finish now protected, each American Eagle Uncirculated Coin is placed in a protective outer box. A Certificate of Authenticity is included with each coin.

These magnificent coins sell at a fixed price and are available directly from the United States Mint. American Eagle Gold and Silver Uncirculated Coins are only minted and sold in the one ounce size.

Content last updated on July 17, 2017

 

 

https://www.usmint.gov/learn/coin-and-medal-programs/american-eagle

How to Choose Jewelry That Looks Good With Your Skin Tone

Jan 19, 2015 11:30:00 AM / by Denise Joyce

How to Choose Jewelry That Looks Good With Your SkintoneIf you’re looking for a piece of jewelry that will look the same on everyone who wears it, you’re going to have a very hard time finding one. There are many different reasons that jewelry looks different on different people, but one of the biggest factors is skin tone. Certain metals and gemstones look better against different skin tones. By understanding how different metals flatter different skin tones, you’ll be able to find more pieces of jewelry that you feel confident wearing.

Determining your skin tone

To determine your skin tone, it’s best to look at your skin in natural light. Try finding a spot where the veins are noticeable. For most people, their wrists are usually a good choice. If your veins appear blue or purple in color, you have a cool skin tone. If your veins appear green in color, you have a warm skin tone. If your veins appear blue in some areas and green in others, you have a neutral skin tone.

It’s important to remember that skin tone is not the same as skin color. It’s possible to have darker skin and a cool skin tone, and you can also have light skin and a warm skin tone. Skin tone is closely related to your ethnic background where as skin color has more to do with the environment.

Matching skin tone to metals

Once you’ve determined whether you have warm or cool undertones, it’s easy to find a metal color that will flatter your skin tone. People with cool skin tones look good in light or white metals such as white gold, platinum and silver. People with warm skin tones look good in yellow and rose gold, copper and brass jewelry. If you have a neutral skin tone, you’ll look good in both white metals and yellow metals.

Matching skin tone to gemstone colors

Matching metal colors to your skin tone help to make sure that your jewelry isn’t distracting, but the metal itself usually isn’t the focus point of a piece of jewelry. Gemstones that match your skin tone help to create a more cohesive look. Cool skin tones look good against bright colors such as red, blue, purple and green because they bring liveliness to cool skin. Earth tones such as orange, brown, yellow and turquoise are ideal for warm skin because the yellow undertone in the skin is earthy as well.

Does skin tone really matter?

When it comes to jewelry, there’s no concrete set of rules about which metals you can and cannot wear. If you have a cool undertone to your skin but you love rose gold, go ahead and wear it. Most people fall somewhere between warm and cool, giving you the ability to bend the rules to your liking. The skin tone rule is really just a guideline, and your personality and style are important factors to consider too.

These days, mixing metals, stones or textures isn’t something you have to avoid. Don’t be afraid to try new pieces of jewelry to find something that you love, even if it isn’t necessarily “right” for your skin tone. If you like something and it makes you feel confident, don’t be afraid to wear it.

https://www.gulfcoastcoin.com/blog/how-to-choose-jewelry-that-looks-good-with-your-skin-tone

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