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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/What metal is my ring made of?

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Question
Ring in question
Ring in question  
Several years ago, my father gave me a ring in which I kept up to today and currently have in possession. For a while I wondered if it was worth anything, and I realized that a good place to start is to figure out what it is made of. The ring itself is a light-gray color and has a very high luster and is very reflective. It is somewhat mirror-like. It is relatively heavy in the hand for its size. I also included an image. Is it possible to tell what kind of metal my ring is made out of? If there is any other information that I can give will do so graciously. Thank you.

Answer
It is somewhat difficult if not impossible to identify the ring's material from the description and the photo given. Here is a quick chemical test. Place half of the ring into the egg yolk of your breakfast egg for about a minute or two. If the ring is silver or a silver alloy you will notice a black tarnish or dark discoloration in the submersed part of the ring. The discoloration will come off with metal polish. The sulfur in the egg reacts with any amount of silver present forming black silver sulfide.<br>
Test the ring for specific gravity. To do this you will need some thin thread, a hanging scale capable of measuring in g (e.g. postal scale)and a glass of water. Tie thread to ring and suspend ring from hanging scale. Notice and record its weight in grams, we call this weight "A" or weight in air. With the ring still attached via the thread to the scale, submerse the ring in water, making sure that only the ring, but the whole ring is submersed. It should hang freely suspended in water, not touching the sides or bottom and no part of the ring being exposed to air. Your weight will obviously change. This weight in grams we will call "W" or weight in water. Following the Archimedes principle the density of the ring can now be calculated as: A/(A-W). For precious metal materials the ring should have a density of 14 g/cm^3 or higher with pure gold being 19.3 g/cm^3. Most precious metals are alloyed, therefore yielding densities lower than the pure metal value.  

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

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Uwe Richard Kackstaetter, Ph.D. (Dr.K)

Expertise

I can answer questions concerning minerals, mineralogy, gems, metals, and anything that has to do with geology. However, I am NOT a jeweler. Questions about values, settings, gem stone cuts and appraisals are best directed to other experts on this site. I can however aide in the identification of unknown mineral materials. As a public service and part as training for new geoscientists, our university department provides FREE mineral identification for individuals. Please contact me for details or go to http://college.earthscienceeducation.net/MIN/MINID.pdf for details..

Experience

I am a professor of applied geology and mineralogy with many hours of field experience. Furthermore, I enjoy recreational gold prospecting and mineral collecting. As a professor I am engaged in research concerning minerals and their occurrence.

Organizations
Member of the GPAA (Gold Prospectors Association of America) as well as the Association of Environmental Geochemists. Member of the GSA (Geologic Society of America) Member of the AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists)

Publications
Here is a small sampling: Mineral-rock handbook: Rapid-easy mineral-rock determination : written for anyone interested in minerals and rocks - Proctor, Peterson, and Kackstaetter;Macmillan Pub. Co. (New York and Toronto and New York) Physical Geology Laboratory e-Manual [CD-ROM], Kackstaetter, Earth Science Education LLC Colorado Front Range Self-guided Geology Field Trips, Kackstaetter, http://www.scribd.com/doc/27175290/Colorado-Front-Range-Self-Guided-Geology-Field-Trips

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Applied Geology and Mineralogy. I am actively teaching courses in mineralogy and a variety of field courses with mineral collecting opportunities. Background in precious metal exploration.

Past/Present Clients
Numerous!

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