Precious Metals and Gems
Precious stones are distinguished by their high quality, scarcity, and colour appeal. Because diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald are the only four precious stones, all other gemstones are classified as semi-precious. Their hardness, which translates to scratch resistance, also helps to distinguish them.
Read More: Cobalt Ore
Precious Metals and Gems Examples
Here are the examples of Precious Metals and Gems given below:
|Precious metals Examples||Gems Examples
Read More: Copper Ore
Gold Precious Metal
Gold is a precious lustrous yellow metal. It is highly malleable and ductile. It is a good heat and electrical conductor. Gold is found in a relatively pure form. Gold is typically discovered in metamorphic rock. It is found in underground rock veins where the Earth’s interior heats the water that flows through the rock. Gold has been important throughout history; the ancient Egyptians used it in important events, and it was important in Bronze Age Ireland. Because of its beauty and durability, it is frequently used in jewellery and as a form of currency.
Trace amounts of gold can be found almost anywhere, but large deposits can only be found in a few places. Gold has been discovered on the slopes of Croagh Patrick in Ireland, but it has not been mined due to the mountain’s religious significance. The first gold mine in Ireland is now operational near Omagh in County Tyrone.
Read More: Minerals
World Wide Distribution of Gold
The top gold producers are China, Australia, South Africa, Russia, and the United States. China accounts for 11% of the total world production of gold.
|Canada||Yellow Knife, Red Lake, Timmins|
|USA||South Dakota, Nevada, California, Alaska|
|CIS||North-eastern Siberia, Lake Baikal|
|South Africa||Witwatersrand, Lydenburg|
|India||Kolar and Hutti -Karnataka
Ramgiri -Andhra Pradesh
Read More: Types of Resources
Uses of Gold
- It is used as an international reserve asset.
- It is used to make jewellery.
- Gold is also used as dental fillings.
- Additionally, it is a crucial industrial metal used in jet aircraft engines, satellites, computers, and communications equipment.
It is a precious stone, not a metal. They are the hardest naturally occurring substances. Natural diamond is composed of carbon crystals. High temperatures and pressures are required for its formation. It is usually 99.95 per cent carbon.
World Distribution of Diamond
Diamond is found only about 100 miles beneath the earth’s surface. Russia has the most diamond reserves, followed by Congo, Australia, and Botswana. India was the only place to get diamonds up until 1726.
|Russia||Aikhal- the world’s largest diamond mine|
|Others include Botswana, Canada, Congo|
Read about: Chromium Ore
Uses of Diamond
- Almost 30% of diamonds taken from the earth’s interior are used in the pure gem trade.
- Diamonds are a common metal in addition to being used in jewellery.
- Poor-quality diamonds are used in industries in cutting instruments, as abrasives, etc.
- Diamonds are also used in the manufacture of automobiles. Every high-tech vehicle contains 1.5 carats of diamonds.
Read More: Aluminium Ore
Pure silver is almost white, glossy, soft, highly ductile, and malleable. It is a good heat and electricity conductor. Its principal ore is argentite.
World Distribution of Silver
Mexico is the world’s largest producer, followed by Peru.
|Mexico (largest producer)||Penasquito|
|USA||Idaho, Arizona, Utah|
|Canada||Timmins, Yukon area|
|CIS||Kazakhstan and western Siberia|
|Peru||Cerro de Pasco|
Uses of Silver
- It is utilised in the production of jewellery and silver dinnerware.
- Because it is the best material for reflecting visible light, silver is used to make mirrors.
- It is also used to create dental alloys, solder and brazing alloys, electrical connections, and batteries.
- Silver paints are used to create printed circuit boards.
- Silver iodide is used for cloud seeding.
Read about: Iron Ore
Platinum is a silver-coloured, smooth and shiny metal. Platinum is an expensive grey-white metal. It is one of the rare elements found in the earth’s crust. Additionally, it has a high boiling point and is corrosion-resistant. Platinum is one of nature’s most stable elements. It is known as a Noble metal due to its high stability. It is a dense, malleable, ductile, and chemically inert metal. It has a wide range of applications, including catalytic converters, electrical contacts, dentistry equipment, and jewellery.
Platinum was recently found in stream samples collected by the Geological Survey between 1986 and 1990. The Tellus team reanalyzed the samples in 2015 using modern laboratory techniques. The samples revealed a large area of high platinum concentration in Co. Wicklow.
Read More: Cobalt Ore
World Wide Distribution of Platinum
The majority of the platinum produced globally comes from South Africa. Other producers are Russia, Zimbabwe, Canada, and the United States
|South Africa||Rustenburg region|
Uses of Platinum
- Platinum is widely used in jewellery.
- Its primary application is in catalytic converters for automobiles, lorries, and buses.
- Platinum is also utilised in the production of optical fibres, LCDs, turbine blades, spark plugs, pacemakers, and dental fillings.
- Chemotherapeutic drugs called platinum compounds are used to treat cancer.
Read More: Manganese Ore
Precious Metals and Gems UPSC
- Historically, investors have valued precious metals as rare commodities.
- Although historically they served as the foundation for money, they are now mostly traded as an inflation hedge and portfolio diversifier.
- Precious metals can be purchased by traders and investors in a variety of ways, such as through physical bullion or coin ownership, derivatives markets, or precious metals ETFs.
- More valuable metals exist than just gold, silver, and platinum. Investing in them is risky due to their low liquidity and practical application. The fact that some precious metals are employed in cutting-edge technology has spurred interest in precious metal investments.