Precious Metals & Gems

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The most well-known varieties of green gemstones are emerald and jade, both of which have high values for translucence and vivid, rich colors. A more uncommon green gem is the green diamond. Alexandrite is an interesting green gem that can also shine pink, yellow or red depending upon environmental lighting.

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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 are five ways to choose a diamond and determine quality?

    Q: What are five ways to choose a diamond and determine quality?

    A: Determining the quality of a diamond involves the consideration of its cut, clarity, color, carat size and certification. Certification through an accredited organization, such as the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America, lets the buyer know that the diamond being purchased has the qualities that the seller claims that it has.
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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 are the common diamond cuts?

    Q: What are the common diamond cuts?

    A: 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • What are Olympic gold medals made of?

    Q: What are Olympic gold medals made of?

    A: Olympic gold medals are required to be made of sterling silver covered with at least 6 grams of pure gold, according to About.com. Each gold medal must have a diameter of at least 60 millimeters.
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  • What makes brass dull?

    Q: What makes brass dull?

    A: While brass tarnishes over time, especially if it is unvarnished and exposed to the air, special compounds, such as Rocker's Brass Darkening Solution or Brass Ager, can be used to create the look of aged, dull brass quickly. Lacquer must be removed before using a brass-dulling solution.
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  • What are the names of green gems?

    Q: What are the names of green gems?

    A: The most well-known varieties of green gemstones are emerald and jade, both of which have high values for translucence and vivid, rich colors. A more uncommon green gem is the green diamond. Alexandrite is an interesting green gem that can also shine pink, yellow or red depending upon environmental lighting.
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  • Where can I find the price of copper?

    Q: Where can I find the price of copper?

    A: As of January 2015, one place consumers can find the price of copper is NASDAQ, and another is Investment Mine. NASDAQ states that its quote is based on end-of-day commodity futures, and it is focused on high-grade copper. Consumers can also change the time frame reported to view past quotes.
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  • Where do Swarovski crystals come from?

    Q: Where do Swarovski crystals come from?

    A: Swarovski crystals are machine-cut crystal beads made in Austria. Daniel Swarovski developed the formula in the 1800s. Swarovski crystals are silver in color and are used in necklaces, rings, watches, earrings and bracelets.
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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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  • 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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  • How can one tell if something is real gold or gold plate?

    Q: How can one tell if something is real gold or gold plate?

    A: The easiest way to tell if something is real gold or gold plate is by holding a magnet up to the piece and waiting for the metal inside the piece to attract to it. If the piece is gold-plated, it is instantly connected to the magnet. If the piece is solid gold, it does not connect.
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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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  • 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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  • Where can I sell my used gold jewelry?

    Q: Where can I sell my used gold jewelry?

    A: Gold jewelry can be sold to direct buyers, mail-away operations, pawnshops, gold parties and traditional jewelry stores. Businesses that are Better Business Bureau accredited are the safest type of business to sell to, according to ABC News.
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  • What is a mystic topaz?

    Q: What is a mystic topaz?

    A: A mystic topaz is a chemically treated clear topaz with a shiny, multicolored luster that flashes blue, green, purple and pink. According to Gem Select, some retailers sell mystic topaz labelled as "fire topaz," "Alaska topaz" or "mystic fire topaz." It is inexpensive and durable but prone to cracking when hit with significant force.
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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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