Precious Metals & Gems

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The most common diamond cuts, as of 2014, include round, emerald, princess and radiant. A diamond’s cut is normally determined by the size and shape of the original, rough stone.

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  • What Are Diamonds Used For?

    Q: What Are Diamonds Used For?

    A: Diamonds are worn as jewelry and used in a variety of industrial applications. Diamond is the hardest natural substance in the world, and stones that are too small or do not have the requisite quality for jewelry mounting are often used as drill bits or ground into abrasive powder. Others become tools used to cut and polish gem-quality diamonds.
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  • How Is Nickel Obtained?

    Q: How Is Nickel Obtained?

    A: Nickel has to be mined from ore. It is mined in 23 countries around the world and refined in 25 countries. Some of the countries where nickel is easiest to obtain are Canada, Russia, Cuba, China, Australia and Greece. Major countries that refine or smelt nickel include France, Japan, Norway, Finland and the United Kingdom.
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  • What Is Brass?

    Q: What Is Brass?

    A: Brass is an alloy that is a mixture of the metals zinc and copper. Using brass makes sense for many manufacturers since it is durable and easily transformed into objects.
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  • How Is Silver Made?

    Q: How Is Silver Made?

    A: Silver is usually obtained as a by-product of the process of purifying other metals such as copper, lead and zinc. Silver can also be collected from refining gold or from silver ores. It is usually separated from its ores using a flotation process and then purified by smelting.
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  • What Is the Difference Between Platinum and Silver?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between Platinum and Silver?

    A: Platinum weighs more than silver and is much denser. Platinum also has a much whiter and shinier appearance, where as silver appears to have a duller gray appearance. Platinum is much more expensive than silver, because it is more difficult to extract it from the ground,
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  • What Does DWT Stand For?

    Q: What Does DWT Stand For?

    A: The acronym "DWT" stands for "diamond weight total," which means the total weight of all diamonds comprising pieces of jewelry, such as rings, bracelets, pendants, watches and necklaces. Due to deviations in diamond weights, some jewelers use other notations, including "CWT" for "carat weight total" and "CTW" for "carat total weight."
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  • What Is Gold Overlay?

    Q: What Is Gold Overlay?

    A: Gold overlay is a thick coating of gold that jewelers lay over metal jewelry. The process has been around for thousands of years, and jewelry that undergoes this process is more valuable than other types of jewelry that has gold added to it in a different way. In gold-plated jewelry, the gold is plated on top of the metal and doesn't last as long as gold overlay.
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  • How Can You Buy Conflict-Free Diamonds?

    Q: How Can You Buy Conflict-Free Diamonds?

    A: In order to purchase conflict-free diamonds, a buyer should be knowledgeable about what constitutes non-conflict diamonds, ask questions about a stone's origin and request written proof of a stone's status. Utilizing a checklist of questions can aid in the process.
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  • Can You Break a Diamond?

    Q: Can You Break a Diamond?

    A: Yes, you can break a diamond. Hitting a diamond with a hard blow from a hammer, for instance, is liable to crack, split or outright shatter the diamond.
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  • Why Does Silver Turn Your Finger Green?

    Q: Why Does Silver Turn Your Finger Green?

    A: Silver may turn your finger green if the silver reacts to acids in the skin or other substances on the skin. This problem arises mostly with inexpensive jewelry, or silver-plated jewelry, as opposed to pure sterling.
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  • Is All Silver Considered Sterling?

    Q: Is All Silver Considered Sterling?

    A: A silver alloy is considered sterling silver if the alloy contains at least 92.5 percent silver but less than 99.9 percent silver, which is considered fine silver. Sterling silver contains a minimal amount of other metals that increase durability while maintaining the beauty and value of silver, according to Zales.
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  • How Are Rubies Formed?

    Q: How Are Rubies Formed?

    A: According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, rubies are formed when the mineral corundum is exposed to chromic oxide in metamorphic environments between 1148 to 1238 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also two prominent methods of making synthetic rubies in a laboratory. The flame-fusion method produces a gem with notable imperfections. The flux-growth method produces a synthetic ruby that is nearly indistinguishable from a real one.
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  • What Is a Solitaire Diamond?

    Q: What Is a Solitaire Diamond?

    A: A diamond solitaire refers to any piece of single-diamond jewelry, though it often refers to engagement rings. Round shapes are popular for solitaires, though many cuts and colors are appropriate for such jewelry, according to About.com Jewelry expert Carly Wickell.
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  • What Are the Birthstones for Each Month?

    Q: What Are the Birthstones for Each Month?

    A: The gemstone for January is garnet; for February, amethyst; for March, aquamarine; for April, diamond; for May, emerald; for June, pearl and Alexandrite; for July, ruby; for August, peridot; for September, sapphire; for October, opal and tourmaline; for November, topaz and citrine; and for December, tanzanite, zircon and turquoise. A birthstone is a gem linked to a particular month of the year.
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  • What Is a Diamond's Streak?

    Q: What Is a Diamond's Streak?

    A: "Streak" is the word used to describe the color of a diamond when it is reduced to powder form. It has nothing do do with an actual streak.
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  • Why Is Gold so Valuable?

    Q: Why Is Gold so Valuable?

    A: The high value of gold is driven by three factors: its practical applications, the largely aesthetic desire people have for it and the perceived protection it grants investors as a hedge against currency fluctuations. According to Jerry Bowyer for Forbes magazine, the cash value of all the gold that has so far been extracted amounts to roughly $10 trillion.
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  • How Can I Tell Real Turquoise From Fake?

    Q: How Can I Tell Real Turquoise From Fake?

    A: To determine whether or not turquoise is authentic, check for uniform color throughout the piece, opaqueness and low shine. Fake turquoise is often made from pale stones injected with dye, which appear overly shiny, clear and streaked, according to BJBead.com.
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  • What Can You Clean Gold With?

    Q: What Can You Clean Gold With?

    A: One can clean gold jewelry at home with everyday materials, including a toothbrush, dish detergent and water. The overall process is simple and only takes 15 minutes.
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  • What Does a Ruby Look Like?

    Q: What Does a Ruby Look Like?

    A: Rubies are bright red precious stones which can be anywhere from transparent to opaque. They are the red version of corundum. According to Minerals.net, rubies get a nine on the hardness scale.
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  • How Hard Is a Diamond?

    Q: How Hard Is a Diamond?

    A: Diamond is the hardest mineral on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with a rating of 10, and is four times harder than the next mineral on the chart, corundum, of which sapphire and ruby are varieties. The Mohs scale is the most common system used for this measurement. It is a relative scale, grading the comparative hardness of 10 common minerals and their resistance to scratching.
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  • What Is the Difference Between Gold-Filled Jewelry and Gold-Plated Jewelry?

    Q: What Is the Difference Between Gold-Filled Jewelry and Gold-Plated Jewelry?

    A: Gold-plated jewelry consists of a lower-quality base metal coated with a very thin layer of gold through a chemical process, while gold-filled jewelry has a thicker layer of gold bonded to a base metal through heat and pressure. Although both gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry consist of a base layer covered with gold, they differ in the process used to attach the gold and the thickness of the gold.
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