All that glitters is not gold. No, in fact it might even be platinum or a bloody red ruby. So what exactly are the characteristics of the metals and stones we call 'precious'? Here are a few basic facts.


PLATINUM
Beneath its subtle beauty and understated elegance lie the properties which make Platinum truly unique. It is the heaviest of the precious metals, weighing almost twice as much as karat gold. Its strength ideally secures diamonds and other precious gems. Even after many years, platinum will not wear away or wear down. Also, with platinum, there is actually no material lost from a scratch as there is with gold. Platinum will never tarnish or lose its rich white lustre.

Platinum is pure and rare. Ten tons of ore must be mined to produce a single ounce of platinum. It takes five months to process platinum ore into pure platinum. Only after this can it be transformed into wearable pieces.

GOLD
Gold has been known and highly valued since prehistoric times. It may have been the first metal used by humans and was valued for ornamentation and rituals. It has been used as a symbol for purity, value, and royalty.

Gold has been associated with the utmost evil like in the Book of Exodus from the Holy Bible; the Golden Calf is a symbol of idolatry and rebellion against God. On the other hand, human achievements are frequently rewarded with gold, in the form of medals and decorations.

Although the price of platinum can be much higher, gold has long been considered the most desirable of precious metals, and its value has been used as the standard for many currencies. The high price of gold is due to its rare amount. Only three parts out of every billion in the Earth's crust is gold.

Heat, moisture, oxygen, and most corrosive agents have very little chemical effect on gold, making it well-suited for jewellery.

Like other precious metals, gold is measured by troy weight and by grams. When it is alloyed with other metals the term carat or karat is used to indicate the amount of gold present, with 24 karats being pure gold and lower ratings proportionally less.

Gold is ductile and malleable, it can be drawn into very thin wire and it can be beaten into very thin sheets known as gold leaf and used on and in some gourmet sweets and drinks as a decorative ingredient. Gold can be made into thread and used in embroidery. Gold alloys are used in restorative dentistry, especially in tooth restorations, such as crowns and permanent bridges.

White gold (an alloy of gold with platinum, palladium, nickel, and/or zinc) serves as a substitute for platinum.


SILVER
Silver has long been valued as a precious metal and used in currency, ornaments, jewellery, and utensils (silverware) . The major use of silver is as a precious metal. Sterling silver is 92.5 % silver, alloyed usually with copper. Jewellery and silverware are traditionally made from this.


Silver is very ductile and malleable and only slightly harder than gold. It is used in medals and some high end musical instruments like the flute are made from sterling silver. It has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, even higher than copper, but its greater cost has prevented it from being widely used in place of copper for electrical purposes. In India, sweets are decorated with a thin layer of silver. It is also used worldwide solely for external decoration, such as on chocolate confectionery.

According to European folklore, silver was believed to be a repellant against vampires and werewolves. It was believed that these could only be killed by a weapon or bullet made of silver.

Silver is currently about 1/50th the price of gold.


EMERALD

The name Emerald originates from the Greek word smaragdos which meant green stone. Legend has it that emeralds protect the wearer from bad spirits and eye diseases.

Emeralds are usually valued between 7-8 on the Mohs scale. If one needs to put a price on the value of an emerald, the colour factor is of largest importance. The more intensive the green, the more valuable the stone. Fine emeralds in sizes over 2 carat are very rare.

The most precious emeralds come from Colombia.



SAPPHIRE
Blue like the colour of the sky, Sapphires have been used for centuries as talismans. It gets its name from the Latin word sapphirus, meaning blue.

In the Mohs scale the hardness of this mineral is evaluated exactly like the Ruby with 9. The more pure the blue of a natural sapphire is, the more precious it is considered. Stones, which are too dark or too pale, are not worth as much.

Sapphires are mostly blue, but there are also white, yellow, rose coloured and green sapphires. Large sapphires are rare.



A Women's Best Friend..
DIAMONDS


The hardest and brightest of all gems, the diamond is considered the King of gems. No wonder then that most women aspire to own a few of these precious rocks to adorn their fingers, ears or arms. But beware; on your quest you will encounter many Jokers out there posing to be the King.

So how do you find a genuine diamond that will last "forever"? Here are a few FAQs to help when you go shopping.
What is a diamond?
A diamond is pure carbon, but with three extraordinary characteristics. It has the unique power to reflect light. It is the only mineral, whose consistency is based on one element, and therefore the purest of all gems. And, it is the hardest, transparent substance known to man.
Who produces diamonds?
80% of diamond production and trade worldwide is managed/controlled from a company known as 'The Diamond Corporation' or 'De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited'.
What are the 4 C's?
The 4 C's are colour, clarity, cut and carat.
The whiter or more colourless a diamond (Colour), the more beautiful is it.
The more purely a diamond (Clarity), the more valuable is it.
The better the cross section (Cut) of a diamond, the more strongly is its brilliance, its fire.
The more largely a diamond (Carat), the more rare is it.

COLOUR:
The purest and rarest diamonds are virtually colourless. Although many diamonds may appear colourless to the untrained eye, the majority contain very slight traces of yellow, brown or grey. A stone's beauty and value usually increase dramatically the more colourless it is. The spectrum ranges from light yellow, 'Z,' to totally colourless, 'D.'


CLARITY:
It is possible to find some imperfections in almost every diamond: tiny feathers and clouds - inclusions - that affect a diamond's value. Clarity grades range from 'I' (imperfect) to 'FL' (flawless). A diamond is said to be 'flawless' if no inclusions or superficial blemishes can be seen under a standard 10-power jeweller's loupe. Truly flawless diamonds are extremely rare.
CUT:
More than any other quality, cut determines the fire and brilliance of a diamond. In order to maximize this fire and brilliance, the diamond cutter must place each of the stone's facets and angles in exact geometric relation to one another. On a classic round brilliant-cut diamond, for instance, 57 or 58 facets must be precisely aligned. The seven most popular cuts are:
Round
Princess
Heart
Marquise
Emerald
Pear
Oval
CARAT:
Carat is the gemologist' s standard measure of a diamond's weight. But size alone is almost meaningless unless you consider Cut, Clarity and Colour. However, size does increase the value of a good quality diamond for the simple reason that large stones are rarer than small ones. In one million mined stones, only one weights a carat or more.
It is the combination of these 4 criteria, which determines the quality and the brilliance of a diamond - and its value.
How does one evaluate the quality of a diamond?
Only 20% of all mined diamonds are suitable for the jewelery industries. The quality evaluation of jewellery-diamonds requires lots of expertise and experience. The four C's make the value of a diamond.


How does one identify fake diamonds?
You can see through zircons (glasslike stones) as you can through a window. If you place zircons on paper, you allow the print to be seen. When you place it on something black, you can see the black colour through it. This does not happen with diamonds. The reflection from the facets scatters light everywhere.

If you look at the stone through a 10x magnifying glass and see numerous air bubbles, the stone is glass.

Reputable jewellers will give an honest answer when you ask them about the authenticity of the stone. Ask whether it is a genuine diamond, cubic zircon, maisonette or another synthetic substance.

Zircon and other cheap stones are sometimes set in inferior metals.

The stone should be certified by an official grading institution. It should also have a certificate which indicates the value and characteristics of the stone.


Gems & Zodiac...
Every Zodiac sign has their ruling planet, and their lucky gem stone. Find out which stone is the one that rules your sign of the Zodiac.
ZODIAC SIGN RULING PLANET GEMSTONE
Aries Mars Diamond
Taurus Venus Emerald
Gemini Mercury Perl
Cancer Moon Ruby
Leo Sun Jade
Virgo Mercury Sapphire
Libra Venus Opal
Scorpio Mars Topaz
Sagittarius Jupiter Turquoise
Capricorn Saturn Garnet
Aquarius Saturn Amethyst
Pisces Jupiter Aquamarine.

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