Treasures of the World
metals and stones thats our topic for today.
The Earth has hidden in it gems, jewels and
natural resources which has been highly sought
after by men of all classes and races down
through the years. From diamonds, to rubies
to coal have been mined from the earth through
the centuries by those fortunate enough to
finds them. They have made civilisations rich
and have been the causes of many wars.
were precious metals first used?
stone age man began the use of precious metals
as money. Until the invention of coins, metals
were weighed to determine their value. Eventually
they developed into using more precious materials
like gold, diamonds and other precious gems.It
is interesting to note that different civilisations
used different metals and stones to trade with.
Although they were often believed to have mystical
powers, precious metals was most attractive
as a store of value (money) and for its beauty.
Over time, precious metals started to symbolize
wealth, power, and strength. You may find that
virtually most of the civilisation used gold,
why? well later on as we look at where these
precious metals are located you will see that
gold is pretty much found in most countries
of the world.
Mayan Civilisation particularly those of the
Yucatan Penisula traded obsidian, jade, and
other precious metals like cinnabar and hematite
which could be found in the hills of those volcanic
higglands. Gold and silver you would find has
advantages over other precious metals. First,
they have universal purchasing power. That is,
everyone agrees they are valuable. Second, they
can be molded into a variety of sizes and shapes
to stand for a variety of different values.
Third, they are very durable; they will not
rust or decay; they can be stored for long periods
of time. Fourth, since even small amounts of
these metals are valuable, it is easy to carry
them around. Thats probably why they were highly
traded in early civilisation even today.
makes Precious metals, precious?
Precious metals are used as jewelry, in clothing
deigns, crowns and unique decorative pieces.,
They are used in a many industrial and technological
applications.Some civilisation would not exist
today if it were not for precious metals.
Precious metals are extremely scarce relative
to most other elements that occur in nature.
Virtually all the gold mined and refined since
the beginning of time still exists in some
Transporter easily in a briefcase, suitcase,
bag anything transportable basically
The worth of precious metal is innate
(it doesn't represent something else that
has value like stocks/bonds) Precious metals
are naturally valuable on their own.
Popular Precious Metals
proportion of gold in jewelry is measured
on the carat or [karat] scale. The word
carat comes from the carob seed, which
was originally used to balance scales
in Oriental bazaars. Pure gold is designated
24 carat, which compares with the "fineness"
by which gold is defined.
governments now hold more than 1/3 of
all gold in existence as national reserves.
Because of its popularity as monetary
metal, there are more forms of coins available
in gold than any other type of precious
As an industrial commodity, gold is used
extensively in the manufacture of jewelry,
and in electronics, dentistry and many
other commercial and scientific applications.
On average four tons of raw ore are required
to produce one ounce of pure gold. Gold
in its natural state is the familiar yellow
color. If it is alloyed with copper and
silver, it remains yellow. But if the
alloy is platinum, palladium, zinc and
copper, it becomes white gold. If copper
only is the alloy, the result is pink
gold, and by combining gold with silver,
copper and zinc, you'll see green gold.
use of silver in ancient civilizations
goes back about 5,000 years. The word
"silver" has become a part of
our everyday language - we celebrate 25
years of marriage with a Silver Wedding
Anniversary, and children of a wealthy
family are said to
have been born with silver spoons in their
gold, silver by itself is too soft to
use in jewelry, so it is alloyed with
other metals, such as copper. The best-known
silver is sterling, which is 92.5% silver,
and its primary use is in jewelry, flatware
and holloware. Flatware is commonly called
silverware - knives, forks and spoons
- while holloware refers to silver pieces
such as bowls, platters, trays and candlesticks.
If silver is stamped "sterling"
on the jewelry, it must contain 92.5%
silver. Occasionally you'll see a piece
marked "coin silver," meaning
that it contains 90% silver.
jewelry is made from base metal that has
been covered with silver, and this must
be labeled "silver plated,"
and the plating must be thick enough so
that the jewelry is durable.
is more precious, and more enduring than
gold. It is the hardest of the precious
metals and and very rare.The ultimate
stability of platinum over the years is
unmatched. It does not wear, and its extreme
level of durability offers a profound
guarantee of strength and longevity. Platinum
has an extremely high melting temperature.
In its purest form it melts at 3214 degrees
F, almost twice the temperature needed
to melt 14 kt gold.All the platinum ever
mined would produce a cube 17 feet on
each side, less than 5000 cubic feet.It
takes 10 tons of ore to produce on ounce
of platinum, more than twice as much ore
than it typically take for an ounce of
is a very hard gemstone said to be colored by
the glow of the sun. Topaz comes in a range of
colors from an amber like that of cognac to a
ripe peach, but it also is seen in varying shades
of brown, yellow, orange, pink and red. Blue Topaz
is also quite popular, and its pale Blue color
is enhanced by irradiation to become a medium
Location: Ouro Preto Brazil and Sri Lanka.
ancient Persian rulers believed it was the sapphire
that gave blue color to the heavens. Some thought
the heavens crystallized to form a huge Sapphire
upon which the earth rested. Red corundum is Ruby;
all other members of this mineral species are
called Sapphire. Virtually all sapphires are heat-treated
to improve either the clarity or color, or both
by getting rid of trace elements in the sapphire,
and it does not affect the sapphire in any other
Location: Ceylon, Kashmir and Sri Lanka
called "The King of Gems"
gemstone holds the record for the highest price
per carat ever paid for a jewel. Ruby
and sapphire are corundum, but only the red
corundum is referred to as ruby. All other colors
are known as sapphire. Corundum is one of the
hardest gemstones known, next to diamond. Ruby
is associated with red, and, in fact, the word
"red" comes from the Latin word "ruber,"
which means ruby.
is the most important factor in determining
the value of a ruby, but the size, cut and clarity
also play a major role.
Location: Ouro Preto Brazil, Sri Lanka,
Kenya and Tanzania.
are green, and green is symbolic of Spring. Emerald
is from the beryl family, a stone that is usually
colorless, but microscopic traces of chromium
in the beryl cause the rich green color of emeralds.
Color is the most important factor in choosing
an emerald - the more vivid green it is the more
valuable it is.
emeralds are cut in a rectangular step-cut shape,
and that shape has been given the name "emerald
cut" regardless of the gemstone. Ancient
emeralds were found in Egypt and Afghanistan.
It ranks with diamond and ruby as one of the
most precious stones.
Silicate . Zirconium metal is uesd in steel alloys
and wireless valves. Can be found in a variety
of colours. Zircon resembles diamond in luster
and fire and colorless zircons have been mistaken
for diamonds by experienced jewelers. Zircon can
make a very attractive and affordable gemstone.
It is found in browns and greens but can be heat
treated to beautiful blue and golden colors. Colorless
material is produced in this way as well. Location: Seiland, Norway and Pakistan.
crystal is the name given to all clear colorless
quartz. It is widely used as a popular ornamental
stone and is also used as a gemstone. Although
it is one of the lest expensive gemstones, cut
rock crystal has been used as imitation diamonds.
Rock crystal lacks the fire, color (of course)
and the rarity to be ranked as a fine precious
gemstone. None-the-less, rock crystal is in wide
use as a gemstone due to its beauty, affordability,
availability and ease of cutting.
has been a popular gem for many centuries and
has a very interesting structure. Opal is considered
a mineraloid because this structure is not truly
crystalline. The chemistry of Opal is primarily
SiO2 and varying amounts of water.The multicolored
flashes of light that Opal emits gives it a truly
beautiful and valuable look. Natural opals contain
a large amount of water and tiny spheres of silica.
These spheres cause interference with light that
enters the stone causing a wonderful play on color
and gives opal its ever-changing light show.
Location: Western USA; Mexico; Australia
word "garnet" is believed to have
come from the Greek word "granatum,"
or pomegranate seed, because ancient jewelry
makers grouped the tiny gemstones in a cluster
that resembled the seed-filled fruit. Because
the garnet is hard and durable, it is very suitable
for use in jewelry, and is a very popular gemstone. Although
garnets are generally thought of as being a
deep red color, they also can be found in many
other colors, including orange, green and soft
Blue, and more. Some garnets change color under
changing light, and some are almost translucent.
Location: Sri Lanka, India and Africa.