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Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

Vladimir Bukanov. Russian Gemstones Encyclopedia

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

NATIVE METALS, GROUP: GOLD, PLATINUM, PALLADIUM, SILVER, COPPER, IRON


NATIVE METALS group (Gediegenen Metale—Métaux natifs—Самородные металлы)

Native minerals of the class of elementary substances: gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and copper form rows of constant miscibility. Here also native iron is described. Precious metals are used for manufacturing of jewelries. As adornments the most beautiful nuggets are used.

Native gold (Gediegenes Gold—Or natif—Золото самородное), Anglo-Saxon – “gold”; Germ. – “geld,” and ultimately from Sanskrit, “jyal”; Russ. term zoloto, from Old-Slavic “solntse” (“sun”) with the basic part of the word – “sol”; according another version, from the name of a Byzantium coin – gold solid. Known from the antiquity.

Composition & Properties. Chemical symbol – Au, from Lat. “aurum”; cubic system. Hardness 2-3. Density 15.6-18.3. Melting temperature 1063°C. Noble metal. Ductile and malleable. Chemically inert, but easy dissolved in a solution 3:1 of concentrated HCl+HNO3. Admixtures of platinum, tin and copper increase its hardness, admixtures of bismuth, lead and others weaken its plasticity. Native gold in rocks and ore veins is found as small grains – mineral gold, more rare as well-formed cubic crystals not more than 3 cm., or in dendrites up to 10 cm. long. At collectors, samples of gold vein are especially appreciated. At placers, alluvial gold exists in small grains or rolled nuggets from 5 gm. and more. Not rarely, gold films on other minerals are found as a result of natural galvanization, for example, in magnetite jade. Gold is non-transparent, fine flakes are translucent. Color is golden-yellow, but it changes because of admixtures. Silvery gold with the content of silver up to 15-20% has light yellow to silver-white color; sometimes it has slight greenish tone. It is wide known under the name of electrum or white gold; it differs from gold with less density. It can be found in nuggets up to 400 gm. Palladium gold (5-10% palladium), or porpezite (porpecita), called so after the discovery location in the region of Porpec, Brazil, looks like gold in color, but it has bronze or grayish tone, that’s why it is also called rotten gold. It forms spongy accumulations – spaniolite, round concretions, more rare – crystals. Copper goldcuproaurite or auricupride of yellowish-rose color doesn’t differ from gold in the character of isolations. Its accumulations can weight up to 100 gm.

To increase stability of jewelries to corrosion and reducing, as well as to give desirable tones to the color of gold, admixtures of other metals are put into it. Such alloys with admixtures of palladium, platinum, indium, and nickel are known as white gold. Silver gives greenish tone to gold – green gold, copper – a red one – red gold. In the alloy called electron the content of gold is 60-70%, and silver – 30-40%. The highest mark of alloy in jewelries is Arabian gold, which contains 90% of gold, and the lowest one is easy gold, which is equal to 333 or 375 mark. Among new alloys for jewelries we should mention blue gold with stripped play of color, and recently appeared black gold of 750 mark. For gold goods also such marks are used as 583, 916 and 999. In some countries, also, 500, 840 and 920 marks are acceptable. For gold and other noble metals marks of alloys is calculated in metric system in gm./kg. or per mille, a content of metal in 1000 parts of an alloy. According this system pure gold is equal to 1000 mark. Besides, in Great Britain, the U.S.A., Switzerland and Spain, a carat system was accepted till 1983. According it 1000 mark is equal to 24 points, which are called carats (from the weight of Ancient Roman coin solidus). In Russia, zolotnik system existed. According it, 1000 mark is equal to 96 points of an alloy (from 96 zolotnik in one Russ. pound). To transfer from metric system to a carat one they use an equation 1000/24 = x/y, where x is a metric mark, and y is a carat one. Acoefficient of transfer between metric and zolotnik systems is equal to 0.096. To transfer zolotnik mark to a metric one, you should divide it by 0.096. A method of checking a mark of gold at the probing stone was known in Ancient Greece in the 6th cent. B.C. There was a classic experiment by Archimedes (about 228-212 B.C.) in checking of a mark of a gold crown of the Syracuse’s ruler Herons II. An assay of gold goods was established at first in France, in 1260; a bit later in England – in 1300. In Russia, a primitive probing of gold and silver with fire-method has existed since 1613: according changes of color in the process of cooling of incandesced metal. Only in 1710, by the Edict of Peter the Great, a system of hallmarks and a procedure of assay of gold produce were established. In the U.S.S.R. metric system was accepted; the procedure of assay was established anew in the end of 1927 including platinum. Since 1953, beside a hallmark, they have been putting a trade-mark and a year of manufacturing. On restored produce near the mark they put a letter “P”. Hallmarks are not put on the orders, medals and coins. Hallmarks were accepted in England and Italy in the 15th cent., in France – in the 16th cent., but in some countries only in the 20th cent. (Canada – since 1913, Austria – since 1923).

Deposits. More than half of the gold reserves are concentrated indeed at the gold-ore deposits. Among them 20% are placers, which give 85% of extracted gold. The most perspective types of rock deposits are gold-containing conglomerates – there are 52% of the world reserves. Then copper-porphyry deposits can be called – 15%; greenstone zones – 10%. Up to 2,000 ton of gold and even more are extracted in the world every year. The main extractors are South Africa, the U.S.A., Australia, China, Russia and Canada. In 2002, in Russia, they extracted 130 ton of gold.

In Russia, extraction of native gold was opened at the Nerchinskiy mines of Transbaikalia in 1704. In 1721, from such gold a medal was founded in honor of the victory over Sweden. In 1744, they began to extract gold at the Voitskiy mine in the Olonets area; at the same time in Altai, at the Kolyvanskiy mine- they produced golden silver. Since 1745 extraction of gold has begun in the Urals at the Berezovskiy mine. In 1829, gold was found on the Yenisey River, in 1846 – on the Lena River, in 1846 – on the Amur River. However, in the South Urals, according the data by archaeologists, traces of the goldextraction are dated with the end of the 2nd cent. B.C. Among the modern rock gold-deposits we should mention: Berezovskiy in the Middle Urals, Kochkar’ and Mindyakskoye in the South Urals. In the Krasnoyarsk Region. there are famous mines: Artemovskiy, Berikul’skiy and Kommunarovskiy; deposits: Olimpiadninskoye and North-Yeniseyskoye. In Buriat Rep. there is the Kholbinskoye deposit; in the Irkutsk Region – the Sukhoy Log deposit, in the Chita Region – the deposits: Darasunskoye and Baleiskoye. In the Amur Region the Pokrovskoye deposit was opened; in the Khabarovsk Region – deposits: Kuranakhskoye and Tokurskoye. In Rep. Sakha (Yakutia), the deposits: Nadezhdinskoye, Kuranakh, Kyllakhskoye, Lebedinskoye and Aldanskoye are being extracted. In the Magadan Region, the most perspective deposits are: Amethystovoye, Dukat, Igumenkovskoye, Kolymskoye, Kubaka, Utinskoye and Khakanja. On the Chukchi Penin. the most well known deposits are: Karalveem Karamken,, Maiskoye, Mnogovershinnoye and Omolonskoye. At the Karalveem mine, cubic crystals of native gold up to 1 cm. in size were found in a crust of rock crystal. On the Kamchatka Penin. there are gold deposits: Aginskoye and Ozernovskoye. Besides, gold placers are known in some regions of Yakutia, the Chukchi Penin., the Yenisey Ridge and the Amur River valley, as well as in the basins of the rivers Aldan, Lena and Kolyma.

In Kazakhstan, the largest gold deposit is Banyrchik; in Kyrgyzstan – Kumtor, Kamiko and Dzheruy; in Tadzhikistan – Taror; in Uzbekistan – Amantaytau, Zarafshon and Muruntau. Among other deposits the largest ones were discovered in Ghana in 1471; in Mexico in 1500; in Peru and Chile in 1532; in Brazil in 1577; in Canada, Québec Prov., in 1823; in the U.S.A., the California State, in 1842; in Australia in 1851; in South Africa in 1884. Among the largest deposits in South Africa there is Witwatersrand, Gauteng Prov. Gold reserves of this country take 40% of the world ones. The second is Australia with its deposits Coolgardie – Western Australia, and Bendigo – Victoria; then, the U.S.A. with the deposits California, where found nuggets in weight up to 35 kg., Comstock Lode in Nevada and Juno in Alaska. In Canada – Goldstrike deposit; China with deposits of the Qinghai Prov.; Venezuela with the Las Christina’s deposit.

Unique nuggets. During all the history of gold excavations about 10 thousand nuggets more than 1 kg. weight was found. The biggest nugget was from the Zaruban deposit in Afghanistan, which was mentioned in the “Mineralogy” by Al Birouni. On the size it has received the name the “Cubit on a Cubit”, that in translation on a modern measure is equaled no more than 55 kg., but in any way 2,500 kg. as it is marked at this book. Modern times in Brazil a nugget, 193 kg. weight with rock, was found, and another one in Chile, on a placer – about 153 kg. The biggest nugget from rock deposits of Australia was “Plate of Haltermann”, a plate 140x66x10 cm. in size. It was extracted at the Hill End mine, New South Wales in 1872. It weighted with rock 285.76 kg., and after melting 93.3 kg. of pure gold was received from it. Among more pure nuggets from Australia, the biggest one was “Desired Stranger”, 70.9 kg. weight, which was found at the Moliagulo deposit, Victoria State, in 1869. It also was not kept in the initial form; after melting 69.2 kg. of pure gold was received from it. In the same state, in the region of Wedderburn, the nugget “Glory of Australia”, 15.5 cm. in size, was found. In Congo (Kinshasa), at the Kamitunga deposit, the Bukavu Region, a nugget, 60 kg. weight, was found. The list of the most significant nuggets is in the App. 13. Among the nuggets unusual in shape we should mention the nugget “The Dragon”, which was found at the Colorado Quartz mine in California, the U.S.A. Nor far from there, at the Grit mine, the nugget “Fricot Nugget”, 6 kg. weight, was found in 1865. In 1997, in China, Qinghai Prov., a nugget, 6.578 kg. weight, was found. It looks like monkey which is holding its baby near the breast. A nugget from Venezuela looks like garnet crystal in shape. Its cross-section is 2.1 cm.; at the exhibition in Tucson, the U.S.A., it was called the “Gold Garnet”. In South Africa, at the Witwatersrand deposit, findings of skeletal crystals of gold are not rare.

According the Order of 1825, in Russia all the nuggets of gold more than 400 gm. weights were sent to museums. Thanks to that fact, in the D.F.R., Moscow we can observe the biggest between the existing in the world and the biggest ever found in Russia nugget – “Big Triangle”, 36,015.7 gm.. weight, 39.05x33.02x 25.4 cm. in size. It was extracted in the South Urals, at the Tsarevo-Alexandrovskiy placer on the Tashkutarganka River, the basin of the Miass River, in 1842. At the Kochkar’ deposit, the Chelyabinsk Region, nuggets up to 2 kg. were found. In the same region, near Gumbeyskiy, at the Midkhadskaya placer nuggets 24 kg., 9.6 kg. (5.6 kg. of pure gold) and 5.2 kg. weight. In 1881, on the Lena River the biggest nugget, 26 kg. weight (22.45 kg. of pure gold), was extracted. In 1898, in the East Sayan Mts., in the Upper Chibizhek River, a nugget, 30 kg. weight was found; and in 1934 at the Artemovsk mine – another one, 23.64 kg. weight. In 1905, in Gornaya Shoriya, on the river Lebed’, a nugget, 24 kg. weight, was found; and in 1936 at the Jelesaiskoye deposit – another one, 3 kg. weight. The biggest nugget from Yakutia was found in the Verhneindigirskiy Dist.; it was 19.2x15.3x9 cm. in size and 9.609 kg. weight and contained 7.741 kg. of pure gold. The most original in shape the nuggets from the D.F.R., Moscow are: “Camel”, “Hare’s Ears”, “Little Highboot”, “Little Fir-tree” and “Mefisto” (See App. 15).

Treatment. Since the ancient times, gold has being used as adornments and means of saving wealth. Among the first adornments there were, perhaps, beads from slightly flattened gold nuggets. In Ancient Egypt, gold has been extracted in Nubian and Arabic deserts since the 16th cent. B.C. People were able to make gold bracelets, rings, diadems and beads. The art of ancient civilizations reached high level of development. Jewelries, which were found during the archaeological excavations of the Sumer city of Ur, are dated to the 3-d millennium B.C. Numerous gold produce were found by H. Schliemann during his excavations of ancient Troy – “Treasures of King Priam”, among the treasures of ancient Mycenae, as well as in Egypt, in the tomb of Tutankhamen (1392 B.C.). In the British Museum, London, many treasures are being kept: “Aegean Treasury” from the Crete Is., with the depiction of the “Master of Animals” (1700-1600 B.C.); adornments from the Rhodes Is. – rectangular plates with relief, made in the grain technique (700-600 B.C.); an Hellenistic necklace (380 B.C.) made in the filigree technique with incrustation with gemstones and glass. In the collection of the State Hermitage, SPb., there are similar in the level of work gold adornments from Scythian burial mounds (400 B.C.): a unique gold comb, 294.1 gm. weight, 12.3 cm. height, from the burial mound Solokha; earrings, which are not surpassed in technique.

Till nowadays, they may call an unsurpassed masterpiece the statue of the god Marduk from pure gold, which was established in the “Down Temple” of the 90-metres Babylonian tower in 539 B.C. Together with the throne and a bench for feet it had weight 23.7 ton. A real flourishing of the art of jewelry was reached in Ancient Rome, where a gold table-set for 1000 persons was made for Pompeus the Great. In the medieval Europe, the main customers of gold produce were royal persons and the Church. In the Grün. Gew., Dresden, many masterpieces of jewelry of that epoch are kept. Another example of perfect technique of gold processing is the collection of “Inca Gold” in Peru. In the “Sun Temple” in Cuzco statues of all the gods were made from gold. The central square of the city was circled with a gold chain, 250 m. long; its weight reached some tons. Even more wonderful masterpiece of Inca masters was the “Gold Garden”, where castled from gold and silver trees, flowers, grasses, various animals and insects were represented. All those treasures were plundered and destroyed by the Spanish conquerors. Now, the most expensive cult object is the statue of the “Gold Buddha” in Bangkok, Thailand. Its height is 3.04 m., its weight is about 5.5 ton. It was evaluated in 28.5 million pounds. A sample of unique modern gold work of art can be the “Durian Fruit”, 10 kg. weight, which was exhibited at the jewelry fair in Bangkok in 1998, and an advertising giant ring, 57 kg. weight, from 21-probe gold, 2.5 m. in diameter, decorated with seven gemstones, joint weight of which was 25 ct. The value of this ring was valued in $1.3 million in 2000.

T. Gotier in his book “Travel to Russia” was delighted with decoration of the Uspenskiy (Assumption) Cathedral in Moscow. “Icon wall was with 5 levels, it was made from gold and silver covered rows of icons. It looks like a front of a gold palace, it strikes with its fairy grandeur.” The Church stimulated the development of gold-embroidery. The second consumer after the Church was the authority. Dishes, armaments, tsar’s chambers and palace interiors were gilded, but also cars, boats and yachts. Unique gold masterpieces in the D.F.R., Moscow are symbols of the state authority of imperial Russia: the “Imperial Scepter” and the “Imperial Globe”. The “Imperial Globe”, which was made in 1762, is the polished gold ball, 48 cm. in circle, 861 gm., with a diamond band around it and on the upper half-circle. In the point of connection of two lines of the band an Indian diamond of high quality is put, 46.92 ct. The “Imperial Globe” is crowned with a diamond cross, in the base of which a Ceylon sapphire 200 ct. is put. The scepter, made in the early of 1770-s, is 59.5 cm. long; it is crowned with the two-headed eagle, decorated with a brilliant. Below the eagle the famous diamond “Orlov” is set, 189.62 ct. Another sample of the same epoch in the D.F.R., Moscow is the gold Field-Marshall baton, decorated with brilliants and enamel. It length is 53 cm., the diameter is 5 cm. The firm of K. Fabergé made many unique gold works of art in Russia. In 1885, among the Easter souvenirs, a gold egg with a little hen inside it, made from colored gold, was the first one. Decorative possibilities of gold were used broadly in the other Eastern Eggs as well: “Gatchina Palace” (1901) – with all its architectural details, even with the monument of Pavel I before the palace; “Trans-Siberian Railroad” (1900) – with a working model of a train, which contained a platinum locomotive with head-lights from diamonds, a lantern from ruby and five gold wagons with rock crystal windows. Since the second half of the 19th cent., in Russia, the flourishing of gold and silver craft has been beginning. Fashion on gold and silver embroider in silver returned. To the end of the 19th cent., 16 factories of gold and silver tissue were working in Russia.

Gold is used in a big quantity for manufacturing of adornments. A share of the jewelry industry in the world usage of gold is up to 83%. Cut stones are covered with fine gold films to produce special color effects. As an admixture, gold is put into in the process of manufacturing of dark red ruby glass. Gold and silver can be pulled as a long thread, that’s why they are used in the technique of the Russia “skan” (from Old-Russ. “skat’” – to twist a thread, a European synonym is filigree). From such smooth or twisted threads masters make exquisite filigree ornaments for jewelry work of art. Seldom this filigree is enriched with tiny smooth balls from the same metal. This method is named “zern’” (from Russ. “zerno” – grain). Such tiny balls are put on the main ornament or collected in small pyramids and clusters. In Russia, this technique has been known since the 11th cent.; it has reached the perfection in the 15th cent.

Legends. Astrologers see a link between gold and Sun. Gold if a symbol of belief and constancy. Its sign of Zodiac is Leo, its month is June, and its day is Sunday. Better to hold gold for the people, who are born under the signs of Fire and Air. The others are recommended to hold it from time to time. But if the Moon, the Neptune or Saturn dominate in your horoscope, gold adornments are nor for you. In the U.S.A., native gold is an official symbol of two states: Alaska and California.

Similarity. In small grains pyrite and chalcopyrite look like gold – they are called sometimes fool’s gold or apache’s gold. Wet flaky biotite of golden color looks like alluvial gold – it is also called cat’s gold. Pyrite differs from gold with its hardness, chalcopyrite – with its fragility, biotite – with its lightweight.

Native platinum (Gediegenes Platin—Platine natif—Платина самородная) (A. de Ulloa, 1748), from Span. “platina del Pinto”, metal from the Pinto River, Colombia, and from Lat. “plata”, a fine plate of metal.

Composition & Properties. Chemical symbol – Pt. Cubic system. Admixtures are usual. Hardness 4-4.5. Density 13-21, without admixtures – 21.5. Ductile, exclude iridic platinum. Melting temperature 1773.5°C. Stable to oxidation. Mixture of HCl and H2NO3 can act only under heating. Native platinum is a collective term for some mineral kinds. Among them: platinum (>80%), ferrous platinum – iron 20-50% or polixen, isoferroplatihum – Pt3Fe, tetraferroplatinum – PtFe, iridic platinum – iridium 10.4-37.5%, palladic platinum – palladium 14-40%, palladic stannoplatinum – palladium 16-23%, tin 17.2-20.9; and also cuproplatinum, nickeliferous platinum and rhodic platinum, black magnetic ferroplatinum, ferronickelplatin. It is found as nuggets and small grains of different shapes, skeleton or spongy accumulations, more rarely as cubic crystals. Metall luster, especially obvious for iridic platinum. Color is steel-gray and silver-white, with yellow tone for palladic platinum. Since 1927, in Russia, a hallmark for native platinum and produce from it has been established in the metric system – 990, and for its alloys – 950, 900 and 850. (See gold).

Deposits. Native platinum is found in rocks of basic and ultra-basic content; it is accumulated in placers, often together with native gold. Platinum occurs in several forms on composition rock-forming minerals: dunite platinum as compact aggregates up to 80gm.; chromite platinum represents 80% all platinum; pyroxenite platinum formed among grains augite; and magnetite platinum. In Russia, native platinum was discovered in the Middle Urals, at gold placers near Verkhne-Neyvinsk in 1814; it was called there white gold. In 1824, it was found on the Orulokha River in the Gornoblagodatnyy mine, which was called later Tsarevo-Alexandrovskiy. The year after it, the industrial extraction was opened at the placers near Nizhniy Tagil. Till 1845, about 40 ton of platinum was extracted there. In 1892, in the same region, in the Krutoi Log deposit, a rock with native platinum was discovered. The biggest nugget from rocks had weight 427.5 gm. Nowadays the most significant source of platinum are the Noril’sk copper-nickel deposits, where it is exist as admixture. In the Khabarovsk Region crystals of native platinum, up to 2.5 cm. in cross-section, were found at the Kondior deposit, near Nel’kan, Khabarovsk Region. It is also known at the placers of the Inagli deposit, on Aldan, Yakutia.

In 1991-1995, the world extraction of platinum has reached 680.5 ton, and 60% come from South Africa, where the Insizwa deposit, in gabbro-dolerites, and the largest deposit in the Bushveld intrusive complex are situated. Russia is at the second place: 22%. The third extractor of platinum is Zimbabwe, because of the unique “Great Dyke” deposit. Among the other sources of platinum we should mention: in Ethiopia – Yubdo placers on Birbir River, in Egypt – Abü Suwagel, in Congo (Kinshasa) – Shinkolobwe. In Canada finds of native platinum are known in the placers in the Québec Prov.; and in British Columbia; in the Ontario Prov. the Sudbury deposit; in the Manitoba Prov. – the Thompson deposit. In the U.S.A. – in California on Sierra Nevada deposits and Trinity River placers, Trinity Co. In Colombia – the oldest placers in the rivers valleys near Condofa, San Juan, Coho Dept., and Attrite, Carignio Dept., the where of platinum nuggets up to 3 cm. in cross-section are found.

Unique nuggets. The biggest platinum nugget, which was found at the Urals, at the Syrkov Log mine in 1843, had the weight 9,624.5 gm. and the size 10x18 cm. At the Akexandrovskiy Log, another large nugget was found – 8,335 gm. weight. Another one nugget, 8,200 gm. weight, was found at the placer on the river Is, not far from Turinskiy mines, at the same time. Among the platinum nuggets of the D.F.R., Moscow the biggest is: “Urals Giant”, 7,860.5 gm. weight, and another one, 5,918.4 gm. weight. In the Mining Museum SPb. there is a platinum nugget, 5,112 gm. weight. At placers of the Khabarovsk Region, at the Kondior deposit, the biggest nugget was found in 1993; its weight was 3,519 gm. In the Kunst. Hist. Museum, Vienna, there is a platinum nugget, 6 kg. weight.

Synonyms. Frog gold | Platinite.

Treatment. In South America, Ecuador was the first country, where native platinum has been used as a precious metal since the 1st cent. A.D. They knew how to process it. Even in 1520, the Spanish King has received polished platinum mirrors as a gift of the Aztec ruler Montezuma. In 1520, Spanish conquerors found platinum nuggets in Colombia, at the placers on the Pinto River. The Ital. astronomer Antonio de Ulloa delivered platinum to Europe in 1737. Soon after the discovery of platinum, counterfeiters began to admix it to gold. Because of this fact, in 1735, according the royal order in Spain about 4 ton of this metal was drowned in the sea; it was prohibited to take it from Colombia to Europe. Only in 1751, the Sweden researcher T. Scheffer studied platinum as an independent metal. After the establishment of the metrical system in France in 1789, but before platinum became a precious metal, standards of length and weight was made from it. In 1790, platinum was at first used for jewelries by a jeweler from Paris – Marc-Etienne Jeannette. He made a coffeepot and a sugar-basin from this metal for Louis XVI. This sugar-basin with relief of an exquisite work is kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y., the U.S.A. In 1853, a Fr. jeweler L. Cartier made decorative platinum buttons, and two years later another jeweler E. Fonteney made an adornment for a hairdress with a platinum frame.

In Russia, at first at the extraction of gold they threw platinum into a dump, and sometimes this metal was used for making bullets or instead of small shots. In 1827, Russian engineers P.G. Sobolevskiy (1782-1841) and V.V. Lyubarskiy the method of processing of platinum is invention. The first produce, kept in the Mining Museum, SPb., were chains and hoops for casks. Since of 1828 to 1844, after the initiative of the Minister of Finance E. Kankrin, platinum coins in the denomination of 6 and 12 rubles have being minted in Russia.

Jewelry alloys of platinum usually contain up to 5% of palladium or 9% of gold – white gold, and also ruthenium or iridium. They are used for settings in adornments with brilliants and pearls, as well as for manufacturing of orders. Russian masters from the firm of K. Fabergé valued the merits of platinum as a precious metal. In the Easter Eggs platinum was used for mechanic model of a cruiser “Memory of Azov”, a locomotive, figures of a swan and doves in the “Colonnade” Egg. In the famous “Winter Egg” a basket of flowers is made from platinum and decorated with 1,378 brilliants and nephrite leaves. In 1906, a French jeweler L. Cartier created a model of watch-bracelet from platinum and a brooch in the shape of a panther with brilliants and emeralds, lying on a branch of coral. In 1912, after the shipwreck of the “Titanic”, platinum adornments of the firm “Cartier” came into fashion; they were made in the Art Deco style with black enamel and rock crystal. Platinum became an adequate setting for brilliants, too. Tiffany & Company in the U.S.A. created the famous necklace: a platinum hoop with multicolored sapphires and about a thousand of brilliants, general weight of which was 50 ct.

Till the World War II more than a half of all the extracted platinum was used for jewelries. In 1940, in the U.S.A. platinum was declared a strategic metal; it was prohibited to use it in the jewelry industry. In 1943, in the U.S.S.R., the Order of “Victory” was created in the shape of a platinum star with ruby rays, incrusted with brilliants, general weight of which was 16 ct. The distance between the opposite sides of the star is 72 mm. In the D.F.R., Moscow, jewelries from platinum are exhibited: a brooch with brilliants by V. Nikolaev and G. Alexakhin (1970) and a platinum diadem with pearls by the same authors (1987). In 1995, in Malaysia, for an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur a platinum copy of the ship of Christopher Columbus “Santa Maria” was made; it was decorated with gold and 1,408 brilliants. Recent years, in the U.S.A., there is a growing interest to the jewelries from platinum. Rings from this metal are chosen by the 15% of persons, who are getting married. In the Moslem countries, men couldn’t wear gold adornments. However, platinum was not known in the epoch of Mohammed, that’s why it was not prohibited. As a result, platinum became the favorite material for male accessories.

Legends. Astrologers suppose platinum to be wise metal, it pays for good deeds and softens punishment for sins, but it punishes severe for theft.

Similarity & Imitations. Nuggets of native silver, iron, palladium, osmium, iridium look like platinum. Sometimes, as an imitation of platinum in jewelries an alloy of iron, chromium and nickel – belgica is used.

Native palladium (Gediegenes Palladium—Palladium natif—Палладий самородный), named after the discovery of the asteroid Pallas in 1803. discovered by English chemist and mineralogist W.H. Wollaston (1766-1828) in 1804.

Composition & Properties. Chemical symbol – Pd, cubic system. Hardness 4.5-5. Density 10.8-12.0. Noble metal. Ductile and malleable. Color: steel-gray. Metall luster. Melting temperature 1552°C. It is dissolved in the concentrated HNO3 and in aqua-regia – a solution 3:1 of concentrated HCl+HNO3. Rare mineral. It is usually found as a hard solution in native platinum. Sometimes it is found on platinum placers as gravel grains. In Russia, palladium is extracted together with platinum at deposits linked with ultra basic massifs. In the Middle Urals, they are known in the region of Nizhniy Tagil and in the Khabarovsk Region – in the Kondior Ridge. Another source of palladium are copper-nickel deposits around Nora’s, Krasnoyarsk Region. In South Africa the main source of palladium is the oxidation zone of platinum deposits of the Bushweld massif, Wesern Cape; in Zimbabwe – chromites of the Great Dike; in Australia – nickel deposits of the New South Wales State; in Canada – the copper-nickel deposits Sudbury, Ontario Prov., and Thompson, Manitoba Prov.; in Colombia – placers on the San Juan and Atrato Rivers; in Brazil – placers of Minas Gerais State.

Palladium, as an analogue of rhodium and ruthenium, is used in jewelry. According its appearance, it takes an intermediate place between silver and platinum. It is silverfish in color and doesn’t tarnish in the air. In comparison with platinum, palladium is more easily melted and easier in processing; it is easily rolled and pulled into wire. Usually, it was used as an addition to gold to receive white gold. However, the invention of modern technologies gives a chance to regard it as a competitor to platinum. In Russia, where 60% of the world output of palladium is made, it is used for exclusive adornments and male accessories especially popular in the Moslem world (see platinum). For the produce from palladium hallmarks has been used since 1956. There are following marks: 550 and 850.

Native silver (Gediegenes Silber—L’argent natif—Серебро самородное), from Anglo-Saxon “siolfor”, exact meaning lost; from Assyrian “sarpi” – white metal; Russ. name from “serp” – sickle (Moon sickle).

Composition & Properties. Chemical symbol – Ag, from Lat. Argentumsilver, cubic system. Hardness 2.5-3. Density 9.6-12. Metal luster. Ductile, with splinters fissure. Melting temperature 960.5°C. In the nature, native silver is found more rarely, than native copper and gold, but sometimes nuggets are bigger. Non-transparent. Color is silver-white. It is found in the shape of flakes, dendrites and wires. It contains admixtures of gold – golden silver or küstelite, or copper – copper silver. Silver joint with azurite, turquoise, malachite and other minerals is an ornamental jewelry stone, which is called stellerite. In jewelry alloys different quantities of copper is added to silver: sterling silver – 7.5% copper, British silver – with less percentage of copper; monetary silver – silver to copper is 9 to 1. To protect silver from blackening under the action of H2S, palladium is added to the alloy – up to 17%; if its content reaches 30%, silver is completely protected from oxidation. For bijouterie an alloy of silver and aluminum 1 to 2 or 5 to 17 is used. A content of silver in the alloy is shown in its hallmark. In the expertise of silverware solutions of AgNO3 or K2Cr2O7 with H2SO4 are used. The last reactive is used more often, because it gives the reaction of orange-red color, brightness of which is growing with the mark of silver. In Russia, such metric marks of silver are accepted: 800, 875, 925 (See gold). In other countries marks 999, 960, 830, 750 and others are accepted. In the ancient times, there was a lot mark, which was written with Roman figures from 1st to 16th . Pure silver in this system was taken as 16 lots, the mark I was equal to 62.5 of metric system or 6 of zolotnik system (see gold). Since the antique times, the method of decoration of silver produce with niello has been being known. The process of making niello is following: an engraved picture on the product is filled with mixture of silver and copper with admixture of borax, then they App admixture of silver with sulfur. In Russia, nielloed silver was known in the 10-13th cent., but the prosperity of this method came in the 18th cent.. Nowadays, in Russia, the center of manufacturing of nielloed silver is Velikiy Ustiyug, in the east of the Vologda Region.

Deposits. It is found in hydrothermal veins, but more often in the zones of cementation and oxidation of sulfide-polymetalic deposits. Even in 1669, in Russia, the amateur exploiting of a deposit of native silver was opened on the Medvezhiy Is. in the White Sea. It was used for the manufacturing of church utensils by masters of the Kirillov monastery on White Lake. In 1732-1742, they extracted about 50 kg. of silver there. It was used for coinage and for manufacturing of “The First New Table-set”, which has been exposing in the State Hermitage, SPb. In 1714, silver was discovered in the Rudnyi (Ore) Altai, at the Zmeynogorskiy mines, and then at the Nerchinskiy. The illustration of it can be the silver soldier medal founded in 1721; it was made from Nerchinskiy silver. In the Urals, native silver is found in the zones of oxidation of ore deposits. In the North Urals, it was found at the Turinskiy mines, in the Middle Urals – at the Gumeshki, Nizhnetagil’skoye and other mines, in the South Urals – at the Karabash mines in dendrite joints and nuggets up to 17 kg. weight. In the Kemerovo Region, it was found at the Salairskoye deposit, in Khakassia – at the Sorskiy mine; in the Magadan Region – at the Dukat deposit, 30 km. to the northwest from the Omsukchan.

In Northern Kazakhstan, the most significant findings of wire silver are known at the Zhezkazgan, Sokolovskiy and Sarbaiskiy mines. At the Sarbaiskiy mine, geode with native silver – to 300 kg in calcite veins were found, up to 1.5 m. in cross-section. Its wires are significantly pulled along one axis cubic crystals, usually twisted, sometimes flattened, looking like bands. The length of such wires can reach 45 cm., the cross-section is often not more than 1 mm. Sometimes, wires are joined in “bushes” or hooked into rings of threat-shaped crystals – silver fleece. Such aggregates, conserved in transparent crystals of gypsums, are called “aquariums.” Among the other countries deposits, with wired forms of silver are known in Germany, at the Schneeberg mine, where such aggregates reached 40 cm. length; near the Wernegerode, in the Harz Mts., Sachsen-Anhalt, where the silver pseudomorphs on a fossil fish was found. In France, at Sainte Marie-aux-Mines, Vosges Mts., a nugget 500 kg. weight, was extracted in the 17th cent.. In Norway, at the Kongsberg deposit, aggregates of silver up to 100 kg. reached. It formed here thick wires up to 40 cm. and cubic crystals up to 4 cm. For the period from 1623 till 1957, here have been extracted 1,300 tons of silver, thus, there were nuggets up to 500 kg. in weight. In Czech, large accumulations of silver were found at Jáchymov deposit, Bohemia in the 16th century. In Morocco, silver in plates up to 25x15 cm. mined from ore veins at the Imiter mine, in area Ouarzazate. In Australia, at the Broken Hill and Eleura mine, dendritic crystals of native silver reached 1 m. length, and weight of the biggest nugget was 45 kg., New South Wales. Large deposits of silver are situated mainly in the countries of America, where the largest volumes of this metal are extracted in Mexico, in the Guanojuato at deposit El Oro; in the Chihuahua – Batopilas. In Chile, in the Chañarcillo Region a finding of a nugget, 1,420 kg. weight was registered. In the U.S.A. unique occurrences of native silver represent famous deposits of native copper on Keweenaw Penin., northern Michigan; also in Nevada, at the Hale-and-Norcross deposit, near Virginia Site, spectacular aggregates of wire silver were found. In Colorado, in the Pitkin Co., there is the Smuggler deposit of silver. In Canada, there are also silver deposits in the North-West Territories. In Ontario, at the Cobalt deposit, accumulations of silver, to 800 kg., were found. At the same region, calcite with inclusions of dendrites of native silver are used as ornamental material in cabochons.

In 2002, in Russia, 450 tons of silver was extracted. The world output of silver is 11,000 tons per year. A third part of this volume comes to jewelry. The output of native silver takes 20%. The biggest consumers of silver are the U.S.A., India and Japan. Athird part of it is used in the jewelry industry.

Unique nuggets. In 1477, in Germany, at the St George mine, near the Schneeberg Mt., the biggest silver nugget was found, 40-ton weight. In 1857, there another giant nugget was found, about 5 ton weight. In Chile, in the Chañarcillo Region, weight of some nuggets reached 20 ton. In Canada, at the Cobalt deposit, Ontario Prov., a nugget, 30 m. long, was found; it was called “Silver Pavement”. 20 ton of silver was received from it. In Toronto, in the parliament building a nugget, 612 kg., from the same deposit is exhibited.

Treatment. From the deepest antiquity, silver was used for talismans, adornments, ritual objects, dishes and coins. In Ancient Egypt, the correlation of silver to gold was established as 13.5, according the length of the Sun year (gold) and the Moon month (silver). In Greece, according to Strabon (about 63 B.C. - 20 A.D.), silver coasted twice bigger than gold and was called white gold. However, even in the ancient times, because of the development of mining, it became 12 times cheaper than gold. In the Middle Ages, after the discovery of America and intensive works at the silver mines of Mexico and Peru, the price of silver became 14 times lower in correlation with gold. Nowadays, this correlation is 40 times. In one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the temple of Artemis in Ephesus, two silver statues of Artemis were erected. In the collection of the State. Hist. Museum, Moscow, a wonderful sample of silver filigree is exhibited – a Venetian casket of the 16th cent., 19x20.3x15 cm. in size. In Germany, in the Grün. Gew., Dresden, there is many unique works of art from silver, made by German masters of the 16th cent., including the bowl “Elephant”, 52 cm. height. It is gilded and decorated with precious stones.

Among the unique silver pieces by Russian masters, we should mention the tomb of St Alexander Nevskiy, which is kept in the State. Hermitage, SPb. now. In 1752, to create it all the silver extracted for the reign of the Empress Elizaveta Petrovna at the Kolyvan’ mines was used (86 poods 30 pounds – or 1,420 kg.). For the tableset of Count Orlov, the favorite of the Empress Catherine the Great, 2 ton of pure silver were used; 3,275 pieces were made from it. Recently, the similar table-set for the Kremlin, which includes 6 thousand pieces, was ordered in Germany. Since the second half of the 19th cent., in Russia, the flourishing of gold and silver craft has been beginning. Fashion on gold and silver embroidery returned by the end of the 19th cent. 16 factories of gold and silver tissue were working in Russia. Among the masterpieces of the 20th cent., we should mention two jugs, 242.7 kg. weight, which was made for the maharaja of Jaipur, India, in 1902. The height of such jug was 1.6 m., the diameter – 2.48 m., the capacity – 8,182 liters. In March 1998, at an auction in Paris, a silver samovar, made at the Moscow workshops of K. Fabergé, was sold for 400 thousand dollars. It was made in the shape of a “bohatyr” (Russ. strong warrior) with a beard and in a helmet, decorated with sapphires, rubies and emeralds. The height of this work of art is about 0.5 m.; the weight is about 9 kg. It is supposed, that the samovar was a diplomatic gift of the Russian Emperor Nicolas II to one of the French Presidents. In the Easter Egg by the firm of K. Fabergé, which was made for the gold-manufacturer A. Kelkh, a surprise was a silver elephant; it could move, twisting its trunk and tail.

Legends. In astrology, silver is connected with the Moon; female characteristics of this planet are transfer to the metal. Silver is a symbol of purity and virginity; it stimulates fantasy, acts at the emotional nature of a person actively, especially on his sub-consciousness. Silver teaches a person to overcome obstacles. It is good for people with deep, emotional soul, kind heart, for those, who are born under the signs of Water and Air, and for those, in whose horoscopes the Moon, the Venus, the Neptune are strong. Silver is linked with the zodiac signs of Scorpio and Pisces, with the months: October, November and also with Monday.

Similarity. In small grains silver looks like native platinum, but silver differs from it with less hardness.

Native copper (Gediegenes Kupfer—Cuivre natif—Медь самородная), from Lat. “cuprum”, after “cyprium” metal from Cyprus Is.; Old-Russ. “smida” – metal. Known from the Bronze Age. Here also nickel and tin are described, which are often being used in alloys with copper.

Composition & Properties. Chemical symbol – Cu, cubic system. Hardness 2.5-3. Density 8.5-8.9. Metal luster. Melting temperature 1083°C. Native copper is found in nature as crystals, dendrites and massive separations. Non-transparent, ductile, hooky fissure. Color is copper-red, often with silky effect. Inclusions of native copper in gemstones give them new decorative proprieties. In spherules aggregates of smithsonite they form purple zones, in labradorite and zeolites small inclusions of copper, growing into the stone, lead to aventurescence.

Among the metals, which are used in alloys with copper, here the following ones are described: nickel, tin and some others. According to their composition there are known: silvery copper – 3-4% of silver, ferrous copper – 2.5% of iron and golden copper or Nürenberg gold – 2-3% of gold. In the jewelry sometimes such alloys are used: yellow copper or brass with 30-40% of zinc; tombac with 15% of zinc and 2.6% of iron; Chinese white copper – an alloy of 40.4% of copper, 25.4% of zinc, 31.6% of nickel, 2.6% of iron; and also goldin – an alloy of copper and aluminum.

Nickel is a silver-white metal. In 1751, it was discovered by the Sweden mineralogist and chemist A.F. Kronstedt (1722-1765). It was called after a mountain spirit old Nick, who supposed to prevent miners. Chemical symbol – Ni. Cubic system. Properties: Hardness 3.8. Density 8.85-8.9. Metal luster, strong. Melting temperature 1452°C. It is easy to polish and weld, ductile. Under normal temperature it is not oxidized. In the nature it is found, mainly, in the combination with sulfur – minerals pentlandite and millerite, with arsenic – red nickel kies – copper nickel. Native nickel is found also in native iron and in meteorites – as toenite and kamacite. Nickel ores were often taken mist. for copper ores. In the jewelry its alloys are used: with copper: cupronickel – 1% of nickel; neusilber or German silver – 15% of nickel and 20% of zinc; Chinese white bronze – 31.6% of nickel and 25.4% of zinc.

Native tin in small quantities is found at placers as nuggets of grayish-white color and irregular form. Chemical symbol – Sn. Tetragonal system. Its properties: Hardness 2-2.5. Density 7.29. Metal luster, ductile. Melting temperature 173ºC. In the jewelry tin is used only in the alloys; with copper – bronze, brass – with admixtures of cooper and zinc; also pewter or British metal – coper alloy of copper with tin and antimony.

Deposits. Native copper is formed under the reduction conditions in different geological processes. In Russia, on the Novaya Zemlya Is. in the Barents Sea, there are known findings of native copper in the Propashchaya Guba and on the Mednyy (Copper) Penin. In Karelia, in the basalts of the Kondopoga deposit, spectacular dendrites of native copper, up to 20 cm. long, were found. In the North Urals, it was found at the Turinskiy mines; in the Middle Urals – at the Gumeshki, Nizhnetagil’skoye and other mines, in the South Urals, native copper was found at the Gaiskoye deposit copper-ore. Its accumulations were also discovered at the Karabash deposit near Kyshtym, in the layers of pyrites and in gold veins – golden copper. In the Priuralia Territory, in the coppers sandstones of the Perm’ Region, native copper pseudomorphs on timber were found. In North Ossetia, at the Sadon deposit, dendrites of copper, 5x15 cm. in size, were found along cracks in granites. In the northern part of the Chita Region, the Udokan copper deposit was discovered, where also native copper existed. In the Arylakhskiy trapp massif, to the north from Noril’sk, findings of isometric crystals and nuggets of copper, up to 25x20 cm. in size, were registered.

In the Ukraine, findings of native copper are known in hydrothermal transformed amygdaloidal basalt of Volhynia, where the weight separate it dendrites reached 1 kg. In Kazakhstan, native copper is known in the northern of the country, at the Ichkeulmes deposit, in the central part – at the deposits Kounrad, Zhezkazgan, Sayak and Uspenskiy mine, in the eastern part, in the Rudnyi Altai – at the Belousovskiy and Zyryanovskiy mines. In 1858, at the Stepanovskiy mine, a copper nugget, 842 kg. weight, was found. The owner of the mine gifted this nugget to the Emperor Alexander I, who gave an order to send it to museum in 1858. In Georgia, copper nuggets up to several kilograms are found at the Madneuli deposit. In Tadzhikistan, native copper was found at the Naukat deposit in the Fergana valley, where it is often represented with dendrites up to 50 cm. long, not rarely with crystals of cuprite at the ends of dendrites. In other countries, native copper in the shape of beautiful dendrites are found in Albania, at the Rubica deposit. In the copper zone of Central Africa more than 150 deposits of native copper are known; they are situated on the territory from Congo, Kinshasa Prov. and Katanga Prov. with Kipushi deposit, through Zambia up to Zimbabwe. In Western Australia, there are the following deposits of copper: Agnew and Burra Burra; in South Australia – Kapunda. High concentration of copper deposits is typical for South America – from Colombia to the Argentina. In Chile, the largest deposits are Chuquicamato and El Teniente, in Mexico – Cananea, in Bolivia – the Corocoro deposit, La Paz Dept., where copper pseudomorphs on crystals of aragonite were found. In the U.S.A., in Michigan, near Superior Lake, on the Keweenaw Penin, there is a large copper Calumet mine, and Phoenix mine. In 1857 the biggest nugget of copper 420 tons, 13.7x6.7x2.4 m. in size, was found there. In the Smiths. Inst. Wash., there is a block of native copper, 146 kg. weight. In New Mexico, at the Rose mine, Grant Co. copper pseudomorphs on azurite were found. In Utah, we should mention the copper Bingham deposit. In Arizona – at the Cole shaft, Bisbee, Cochise Co., crystals of copper up to 17 cm. in size, were found. Among the deposits of sulfide ores with nickel the largest ones are: Sudbury and Kambalda in Canada.

Treatment. Thanks to its ductility and bright color, native copper was one of the first metals used by human beings. That time is called Copper Age, when copper was the only metal, which was melted from the ore. Copper adornments were known in the Tigris riverheads in the 9,2-8,7th millennium B.C., in Asia Minor in the very beginning of the Copper Age, in the 7-6th millennium B.C. Those times, they were valued almost as gold. In the countries of the Tigris – Euphrates valley copper was mentioned in the 5th millennium B.C. On the Cyprus Is., it was known in the 4th millennium B.C. Hand-mirrors from copper were in fashion. Approximately in 2750 B.C., on the Crete Is. and later in Asia, bronze appeared – an alloy of copper with tin, and the so called Bronze Age began. The symbol of it was the “Colossus of Rhodes” – one of the wonders of the world, which was built on the Rhodes Is. in the Mediterranean Sea. About 18 tons of bronze was used for this statue, 35 m. height. In the epoch of Homer (12-8ss cent. B.C.) copper and produce from it were still rather expensive. “Copper Land” of the ancient world was Spain, which mines satisfied the demands of the Roman Empire in this metal. Copper has healing proprieties.

In the Middle Ages, copper and bronze things, including small stone carving and adornments, were extremely popular (so called “red castling”). In the 17-18ss cent., a leading role in bronze castling came to France, where an art of gilded bronze was created, in particular, with gemstones. In Germany, in the Grün. Gew., Dresden, there is a goblet by Ital. masters from jasper decorated with copper and bronze, 22.5 cm. height. In the modern jewelries not only bronze is used, but also such alloys with copper as goldin, cupronickel, neusilber, tombac. In the second half of the 4th and in the 3rd cent. B.C., at the territory of Russia, in the Priuralia Territory and in the Urals, manufacturing of copper from coppers sandstones was known. It is clear at the “Chudskye mines” (after the people Chud’ lived of the Copper Age on the Urals), where traces of extraction of copper, silver and gold ores are obvious. A workshop for copper adornments from native copper was discovered in the Zaonezhia Territory; it is dated with the 2nd cent. B.C. At first, there were simple forged things from native copper, then castled ones, and later gilded produce from copper.

In the jewelry industry aside with copper as a main element of many jewelry alloys, gemstones with inclusions of native copper are popular: labradorite, zeolites, prehnite and others. Aventurescence is typical for them; it becomes clear after processing. As an ornamental collection material, nuggets of copper and its crystals-dendrites in different rocks and minerals are recognized. In the Mining Museum SPb., a nugget of copper called “Bear’s Skin” is exhibited; it is from Kazakhstan, its weight is 860 kg. In the Archaeological Museum in Petrozavodsk there is a nugget, 200 kg. weight, which was found on the coast of Onega Lake.

Nickel in ancient Baktria was an element of an alloy for minting of coins even B.C. In jewelries it is used as anticorrosion covering and for alloys: cupronickel, neusilber, alpac and argentine, which contain 10-20% of nickel, 40-70% of copper and up to 13% of zinc.

Tin was one of the first metals melted from the ore, because of the low melting temperature. Thanks to its stability under oxidation, in ancient times, it was used for adornments and amulets. In the Middle Ages, tin was used widely for manufacturing of art objects for the church. In the 16-17ss cent., the art of tin melting was at the highest point; that time was called the epoch of noble tin. Tin dishes with relief ornament and city arms, decorated tin domestic and church produce were in fashion in Europe in the epoch of Rococo, and during all the 18th cent.. More than 2000 years B.C., an alloy of tin with copper was invented – it was bronze. In the history of the mankind, this invention opened the Bronze Age.

Legends. Astrologers connect copper with the planet of Venus. It is a metal of piece, harmony and art. It is supposed to act positively on the human biological field, which is very important if the blood pressure is too high, and also it helps in the psychological sense. However, there is an opinion that it is not good to wear copper for long, because it has sleepy effect, make human consciousness narrower. From the deepest antiquity healing proprieties of copper were known, that’s why there were copper bracelets, rings and discs. Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and noble people of Ancient Greece wore copper sandals for the tuning warm massage of feet. According the legend, Aristoteles (384-322 B.C.) liked to get sleep with copper balls in his hands. Nowadays, such palm massage is treated as a way of relaxation.

Bronze is an alloy of metals of the Venus and the Jupiter, that’s why it takes stresses away. It is good for the most zodiac signs. But it stimulates greedy in Virgo and Capricorn.

Cupronickel is an alloy of metals of the Venus and the Saturn; it helps to strengthen home, to come closer to culture. It develops the inner world of a human being, gives him patience, protects against mistakes. It is recommended for Leo, Taurus and Scorpio; it is excluded for those who were born under the Mars and the Jupiter.

Native iron (Gediegenes Eisen—Fer natif—Железо самородное) – α-Fe, from Anglo-Saxon, iron; from Sanskrit “gala” – “metal”, “ore”. Theophrastus called iron – adamas. Known from antiquity, from at least 3000 B.C. Chemical symbol – Fe, cubic system. Hardness 4-5. Density 7-7.8. Melting temperature 1535°C. Metal luster. Magnetic. Ductile. Native iron can be both of an earth origin – telluric iron, and a space one – meteorite iron (See Tektites). Telluric iron – ferrite usually forms small insets in basalts, very rare – complete masses. In artificial alloys – technical iron can be called steel or cast iron, depending on the content of calcium.

Deposits. Pure native iron is very rare in the nature; as usual it has an admixture of nickel. Telluric iron is usually found as massive blocks and accumulations in the rocks. In Russia, in the Krasnoyarsk Region, in the basin of the Low Tunguska River, some findings of native iron were made. The biggest one was a block 1 ton on the Ozernaya Mt. At the Kureika River basin and at Polpora Lake, the weight of blocks of iron reached from 75 kg. to 10 tons at the Malaya Romanikha basin. On Taymyr Penin., in the rocks of the plateau Putorana accumulations of native iron, up to 10 tons, were discovered. In the Kemerovo Region, at the Taymetskoye deposit, plate of iron weight 3.3 ton, 3.3x1.4x0.15 m. in size, was found in the basalts. Nuggets of telluric iron were found also in serpentinites of the East Priladogye Territory, at placers of the Urals and Siberia, on Russian Is. by Vladivostok. In the Fersman’s Museum, Moscow, a nugget of native iron is exhibited, 80 kg. weight from the Ozernaya Mt., Central Siberia. On the geological position and size of iron accumulations that manifestation can be compared with the largest Qeqertarsuaq (form. Disco Is.) locality in Greenland. There, in the basalts accumulations of native iron reached the weight of 25 tons. In the basalts of Germany, near Kassel, Hessen, accumulations of native iron are not more than 5 kg. In New Zealand natural nickel iron – avaruite is found on the Gorge River, falling into the Avary Bay. In Italy, nickel iron is found at the Balangero deposit, Torino, Piedmont. In the U.S.A., in Oregon, it was found as pebbles of josephinite, up to 10 cm. in cross-section. In Canada, in British Columbia, nickel iron was found at the placers on the Fraser River.

Treatment. On the territory of Russia, in the region of the Kama River and in the Northern Caucasus, many iron things appeared in the 8-7ss cent. B.C. In Ancient Egypt, celestial iron has been known since the beginning of the Copper Age; it was valued 5 times more than gold and 40 times more than silver. It was used not only for weapons, but also for adornments. In the tomb of Tutankhamen among the variety of gold work of art the most precious thing was an iron dagger and amulet. Hettae, lived in Asia Minor, were the first, who invented the method of receiving iron. They changed it for gold in Egypt. During the excavations in Egypt, in the region of Giza, beads were found, which were made from the forged plates of meteoritic iron. They were dated to the 4th millennium B.C. Amulets and adornments from native iron were found during the excavations in Ur in Mesopotamia (3d millennium B.C.), in the tomb Shub-Ad. In Ancient Greece, at the first Olympic games, winners received iron medals for the first place, then, gold ones for the second place, and silver ones for the third place. It shows the high value of native iron. In Ancient Rome, citizens wore iron signets, and gold signets were only for state authorities; iron wedding rings were accepted. The brightest example of the usage of native iron is a non-rusting column Kutub in Delhi, India. It was erected in the 4th cent. Its height is 7.5 m., diameter – 0.4 m., and weight – 6 ton. In the epoch of the Renaissance, artistic forged iron produce came into fashion. Beside richly decorated armors and weapons, iron adornments were made. To protect them from oxidation, masters gilded them or covered with silver. In the 15th cent., producing from pig iron came into fashion, including wonderful vases, chandeliers and jewelries. In the 18-19ss cent., castled caste sculpture and small stone carving achieved the highest level of development in Germany and Russia. In Germany, at the Gliwitz manufactory, even caste gems were made. The history of steel adornments in Russia traces back to the epoch of Catherine the Great (1762-1796). But they became especially fashionable after the war against Napoleon (1812) until 1830. Rings, earrings and bracelets from pig iron were very popular. Graduates from the Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo, SPb., Russia, have received memorable iron rings, and it was not strange that the wives of Decembrists wore rings made from the fetters of their husbands. In the middle of the 19th cent., it was the peak of fashion on the artistic molding caste plastic. Products by masters of the Kasli of molding school have received many prizes at international exhibitions. In the Mining Museum, SPb., a visitor can see works of art of open-worked molding from pig iron: bracelets and necklaces by masters of Lugansk and St Petersburg molding plants (1830-1840). In the middle of the 19th cent. – the begining of the 20th cent., steel is used in jewelries at first. Contemporary jewelers use rustproof steel.

Legends. Astrologers suppose that iron helps people to create and to build. It is a metal of the war god Mars. As a talisman, iron helps to those, who are busy with hard work, or for those, who work only for money.

Similarity. From nuggets of silver and platinum iron differs with an oxide and hydroxide covering.

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