Metals - Overview

Metals Overview



WHAT IS A METAL?

Metal is a solid mineral element that usually has a shiny surface and generally a good conductor of heat and electricity, and can be melted or fused, hammered into thin sheets, or drawn into wires.
Many metals are quite hard, with high physical strength. When polished, metals tend to be good reflectors of light. Common metals include bronze, copper and iron whereas metals used for making jewellery, such as gold, platinum, and silver are called ‘Precious Metals’.

WHAT IS ALLOY?

An Alloy is a substance composed of two or more metals usually fused together when melted. For example, brass is an alloy of zinc and copper.

HISTORY

Currently there are 86 known metals but before the 19th century only 24 of these metals had been discovered. The discovery of the first metals date back to 6000 BC (Before Christ).
Four of these metals, arsenic, antimony, zinc and bismuth, were discovered in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, while platinum was discovered in the 16th century.

The Metals of Antiquity, were the remaining seven metals upon which civilisation was based.
These seven metals were:

1. Gold discovered 6000 BC (Before Christ)
2. Copper discovered 4200 BC (Before Christ)
3. Silver discovered 4000 BC (Before Christ)
4. Lead discovered 3500 BC (Before Christ)
5. Tin discovered 1750 BC (Before Christ)
6. Iron, smelted discovered 1500 BC (Before Christ)
7. Mercury discovered 750 BC (Before Christ)

WHAT IS A PRECIOUS METAL?

A precious metal is a metal with rare metallic chemical element and due to that high economic value. Precious metals are less reactive than most elements, have high luster, and have higher melting points than other metals.

Historically, precious metals were widely used in making jewellery, ornaments, idols, temples, currencies, and war equipments, but are now regarded mainly as jewellery, investment and industrial commodities. Following three metals are widely traded and considered as precious metals due to their rarity and beauty.

Gold
Platinum
Silver


Other Precious Metals
The Precious Metals Group (PMG) or Platinum Metals Group is a group of six metallic elements clustered together in the periodic table.
The other five platinum-group metals are:
Ruthenium
Rhodium
Palladium
Osmium
Iridium


They have similar physical and chemical properties and tend to occur together in the same mineral deposits.
Palladium (Pd) is used more and more in jewellery today. Mainly due to its unique properties and hardness to resist wear. It is a more affordable alternative to Platinum and serves as substitute to 18K White Gold in some jewellery lines.
Diamond Corporation, South Africa produces pieces in Palladium, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Argentium.