The Sterling Silver StoryWritten by Sam Serio
Silver is most common of Precious Metals. Itís working qualities are very similar to gold. Pure silver, which is seldom used for jewelry because it is too soft. Silver weighs about half as much as gold and has greater flexibility. Though silver is not as malleable as gold it can achieve a more brilliant polish. In fact, silver shines above all other metals in this respect. Silver has been used for many centuries, going back to ancient times, but because it tarnishes and decomposes; it has not survived as well as gold. Periodically, however, silver enjoys great popularity as it does currently. As far as price goes, silver generally lags behind gold by about four or five times. The price of silver jewelry follows price of gold jewelry, however, so as gold rises, silver inevitably does too. The words silver or sterling silver describe a product that contains 92.5% silver. Silver products sometimes may be marked 925, which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver. Some jewelry may be described as silver plate: a layer of silver is bonded to a base metal. The mark coin silver is used for compounds that contain 90% silver.
Precious Stones -The Big FiveWritten by Sam Serio
The emerald is probably most rare of all precious stones and is considered by some to be even more valuable than diamond. Compared with other precious stones emerald in its occurrence in nature is unique, for it is found in rock in which it was formed. Unlike diamonds, sapphires and rubies, it never occurs in gem gravels. The earliest known locality where emeralds were found was in Upper Egypt near coast of Red Sea. The best stones, however, are found in Columbia, South America. Fine specimens have also been found in United States in North Carolina.
While usual shade of color seen in emeralds is alluded to as emerald green, there are other shades, such as grass green, sea green and green slightly tinged with yellow. The shades most highly valued are those of an intense fresh green sometimes compared with that seen in a meadow in spring.
Beryl is a mineral known to gem lovers under several different names, most valued of which is Emerald. The mineral beryl composing various gems is practically same in composition, hardness, and other properties, and gems may be differentiated only by their color. In composition beryl is a silicate of aluminum and glucinum. On scale of hardness beryl is graded 7 Ĺ to 8, and is thus much softer than diamond, ruby, or sapphire. It is owing to this fact that emerald scratches easily and that care must be taken that when worn it is not subject to chafing by diamonds or other harder gems.
Beryl as a mineral is of quite common occurrence, and crystals of mineral in its cruder form often grow to enormous size. There is one such single crystal preserved in Boston Museum of Natural History, which is three and one half feet long and three feet wide and weighs several tons.
Beryl in this common form occurs in many localities, but mineral in its rarer form of emerald is comparatively of very rare occurrence. The emerald or green beryl, as it should be scientifically known, has long been most highly prized of green gems. In brilliancy it exceeds all other green gems excepting only very rare green sapphire. The most valuable specimens exhibit a vivid grass-green shade, and it is to this color that they owe their great value. Other considerations, such as freedom from imperfections, are quite secondary in determining value of stone. In fact a perfect emerald is almost never found, and this circumstance has passed into an Eastern simile which runs, ďAs scarce as a perfect emerald,Ē this being a symbol for acme of rarity. The emerald is light in weight and an emerald of a given size will be about a third larger than a diamond and forty-five per cent larger than a sapphire of equal weight. The distinctive color of emerald is probably due to a trace of chromium in its composition.