Precious Metals & Gems

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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 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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  • 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 type of diamond cut is the most expensive?

    Q: What type of diamond cut is the most expensive?

    A: Heart-cut diamonds are the most expensive style due to the cost and expertise required to manufacture diamonds in this shape. The process of cutting a diamond into a heart shape is difficult and demands a skilled diamond cutter. A heart-shaped diamond is usually larger than one carat because the cutting process is easier with a bigger diamond.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 is a canary diamond?

    Q: What is a canary diamond?

    A: A canary diamond is a bright yellow diamond. Though people think of a clear or white diamond when they think of a quality diamond, colored diamonds can be even more expensive.
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  • Where does jade come from?

    Q: Where does jade come from?

    A: Jade is derived from a naturally occurring mineral called jadeite, which is collected in locations all over the world, from Alaska to Guatemala and Central Asia. Jadeite comes in several different colors and forms, and it is only known as jade when used as a gem for carving or jewelry.
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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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  • 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 are baguette-cut diamonds?

    Q: What are baguette-cut diamonds?

    A: Baguette-cut diamonds are step cut diamonds with a long, rectangular shape. They are mainly used as side stones and come in small weights, usually less than one carat.
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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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  • 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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  • What are types of gold?

    Q: What are types of gold?

    A: The primary types of gold contain different purities, which are measured in karats. Gold overlay refers to items that are made from a non-gold metal that is permanently coated with gold. To be considered gold overlay, the gold weight must equal at least 10 percent of the total weight. Gold is available in yellow, white and rose colors, which are created by mixing it with other metals.
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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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