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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  • 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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  • 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 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 gold come from?

    Q: Where does gold come from?

    A: Gold comes from almost every continent, with China and Australia the largest producers as of 2015, according to Mining Technology. A team of Harvard scientists believes that gold is formed when two neutron stars collide, according to a report by USA Today.
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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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  • 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 in the world was gold first discovered?

    Q: Where in the world was gold first discovered?

    A: Gold was first discovered in Asia Minor around 6000 BC. One area where gold was found in Asia Minor was ancient Lydia, which is modern-day Turkey.
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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 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • Why does sterling silver turn black?

    Q: Why does sterling silver turn black?

    A: Sterling silver turns black or tarnishes due to a chemical reaction caused by contact with sulfur or hydrogen. Some foods or everyday items containing sulfur can cause tarnishing, but even polluted air can turn sterling silver black.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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