Precious metals are rare high-value metals extracted from nature and used in the jewel industry and others, like pharmaceutical, glass, and chemical industries. Gems, on the other hand, are mineral crystals that can be cut and polished to make jewelry and other adornments. Metals and gems tend to be very valuable due to various factors. For one, they’re scarce and can be used for many industrial purposes. Moreover, precious metals and gems can be used to store value, so they’re popularly accepted as investment options.
If you’re dealing with jewelers, like Precious Metals and Gems and others, or thinking about investment options, it’s best to know a thing or two about precious stones. Here’s a guide on precious metals and gems to help you with this.
Understanding Precious Metals
Precious metals can be said to be one of the most sought-after investment options. They offer diversity to investment portfolios, and they’ve stood the test of time as a store of value, especially against inflation and financial uncertainties. For some, precious metals may also be an essential part of objects, like jewelry or electronic components.
The most popular precious metals in investment circles and jewelry are believed to be gold and silver. In industrial processes, metals, including iridium and palladium, are used in chemical applications and electronics.
Gold is no doubt one of the most popular precious metals. It comes in different colors and carats. Carats refer to the density of gold in the metal. Pure gold is too soft to form jewelry designs, so it’s typically mixed with other metals to harden it. Therefore, the less the amount of gold in the material, the fewer carats it has and the less expensive it is.
The least carats in gold are nine carats (9ct gold). The number of carats is typically stamped with a hallmark of an octagon with a number inside it. If a piece has 375, it means the material has 375 parts gold per 1,000 parts.
On the other hand, the most carats in gold are 24ct gold. This is the purest and most expensive piece and is favored by many jewelers. The 24ct gold has a hallmark of 999, which means it has 999 parts gold per 1,000.
Just like gold, silver can be mixed with other metals to make different materials such as jewelry and other treasures. Silver jewelry is, however, exclusively made from what’s known as sterling silver. This creates a metal that’s 925 parts silver to every 1,000.
If a jewelry piece is fine silver, it will be 999 parts to 1,000. On the other hand, Britannia silver has 958 parts, and there’s a lower quality of silver with 800 parts. To easily identify the quality of silver, you can check the oval shape with the stamped number. The oval shape is the hallmark symbol of silver.
Platinum is the most expensive of all precious metals because of its rarity. The white metal is also a lot tougher than most other metals, so jewelers say it can endure more wear and tear than silver and gold jewelry. If you have a platinum ring, you’d notice it’s much heavier than a gold ring or silver piece of the same size. Although it’s not as shiny as silver and gold, platinum is resistant to tarnish and doesn’t need to be plated to maintain its color. This makes jewelry such as platinum rings popular among many.
Gems are pieces of mineral crystals cut and polished and typically used to make adornments and jewelry. Other stones and rocks and certain organic materials are occasionally also used for jewelry and are considered gemstones.
From its formation millions of years ago to its journey from the mines and stores and then to your home, each gemstone truly has a unique and rich history. For a stone to be classified as a gem, it has to meet three basic characteristics: beautiful, durable, and rare. Here are some of the top gems to note.
For a long time, diamonds have been known for their exquisite and exceptional beauty. Throughout history, they’ve been used as a symbol of love. Diamonds have been highly desirable among men and women throughout the ages because of the many legends and mysteries surrounding them.
Diamonds can be used with various other precious metals, like gold and silver, to make different forms of jewelry. They can be cut into different shapes and sizes, and this is called carat weights. Diamonds are said to be completely colorless and flawless in their natural form. Flawless diamonds are, however, very rare. Most diamonds will have inclusions known as nature’s fingerprints. These are what make each diamond different.
Corundum (Rubies And Sapphires)
Corundum is a very dense and compact gem. It’s said to be the second hardest mineral after diamond. Corundum is also quite rare and sought after. Rubies and sapphires are some of the popular and most valuable corundum gemstones. Large-sized gems are typically displayed in museums and special collections, but most corundum on the market can be quite small and modest. The big stones would be rare and quite expensive on the market today.
Rubies are the red varieties of corundum, while all others have a colorless or blue color and are known as sapphires. Comparatively speaking, rubies can be much more difficult to mine than sapphires. Nonetheless, sapphires that are over five carats, with perfect blue color, are also rare and quite valuable.
From time immemorial, precious stones and gems have had a place in human communities. Even the most savage societies still understood the significance of these treasures in decorating and beautifying humankind. Today, these stones are still celebrated and sought after for their beauty and rarity. Now that you know a thing or two about precious metals and gems, you can make an informed decision the next time you’re in a jewelry store or looking to store value through precious metals.