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Glossary of Terms


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


A

Ag

The chemical symbol for Silver.

Aliquot

A small representative sample taken from a precious metals bar for assay to determine its fine precious metals content.

Alloy

A mixture of two or more chemical elements, including at least one metal. In the case of Gold, it is mixed with a baser metal or metals to lower the purity, influence the colour or add durability.

Alluvial

Gold nuggets found in rivers.

Ask

The price that a seller asks for a commodity.

Assay

The determination of the precious metal content of an alloy, either using a direct method (where the actual precious metal content is measured) or an indirect, instrumental method (usually based on spectrographic analysis) in which the levels of impurities are measured and the precious metal content is calculated by difference. For Gold, the main direct method is fire assay, also known as cupellation or gravimetric analysis.

Assayer

A tester of precious metals.

Assay Mark

The stamp by an assayer on a bar or piece of precious metal to guarantee its fineness.

Assay Office

An official or statutory organisation controlling the testing of precious metals within a country.

Au

The chemical symbol for Gold.

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B

Bank of England

Founded in 1694, "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" has been the focal point of Gold and Silver trading in London for over three centuries. It is one of the most active central banks in Gold and is the Gold depository for many of the world's central banks. Link: www.bankofengland.co.uk

Bear Market

A market in which the trend is for prices to decline.

Bid

The price at which a purchaser is willing to buy.

Britannia

British Gold coin first issued in 1987 with a fineness of 916.6 (22 carat) until 2012. Gold Britannia coins struck from 2013 have a fineness of 999.9 (24 carat). The Silver Britannia was introduced in 1997 with a fineness of 958.0 for all years except 2014, which is struck with a fineness of 999.0.

Bull

Someone who expects the price of an asset to rise.

Bull Market

A market in which the trend is for prices to increase.

Bullion

The generic word for Gold and Silver in bar or ingot form. Originally meant "mint" or "melting place" from the old French word Bouillon, which means boiling.

Bullion and Precious Metal Coins

Contemporary precious metal coins minted by official agencies for the purposes of investment.

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C

Carat

Derived from the word for "carob" in various languages, it was originally equivalent to the weight of the seed of the Carob tree. It has two meanings in modern usage:
    » A measure of the weight of precious stones. 1 carat = 0.2053 grams.
    » A measure of the proportion of Gold in a Gold Alloy, on the basis that 24 carat is pure Gold, often expressed as K (Karat) or ct. 18ct is 75% Gold.

Chervonetz

A Russian bullion coin, 900 fine with fine Gold content of 0.2489 troy ounces and a face value of 10 roubles. Issued in the 1970s.

Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society

Hong Kong's exchange first opened in 1910 and became the Chinese Gold and Silver Exchange Society in 1918. Link: www.cgse.com.hk

Chop

Assay mark of Chinese origin. The term is now widely applied to a manufacturer's mark on bullion bars

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D

Doré

An unrefined alloy of Gold with variable quantities of Silver and smaller quantities of base metals, which is produced at a mine before passing on to a refinery for upgrading to London Good Delivery standard.

Double Eagle

Gold coin with a face value of $20 USD issued as legal tender in the United States during the period 1850-1932. It had a fineness of 900.0 with a fine Gold content of 0.9675 troy ounces.

Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchage

The Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchage (DGCX) commenced trading in 2005. Link: www.dgcx.ae

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E

Eagle

Historic circulated unit of currency used in the United States of America from 1795 until 1933, made of 22 ct Gold. 1 Eagle = $10 USD. Also see Double Eagle.

Emirates Gold DMCC

Emirates Gold DMCC was founded in 1992 by Mohamad Shakarchi and has its headquarters in Dubai. Refiner of Gold and Silver Bullion Bars and an Associate of the LBMA.

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F

Fineness

The proportion of precious metal in an alloy expressed as parts in 1,000.

Fine weight

The weight of Gold contained in a Bullion bar or coin as determined by multiplying the gross weight by the fineness.

Fire Assay

A method of determining the content of a metal (most commonly Gold) in an alloy involving the removal of other metals by what is in effect a combination of fire-refining (for the removal of base metals) and chemical refining (for the removal of Silver) and then determining the Gold content by comparing the initial and final weights of the sample. Fire assay can determine the Gold content of Good Delivery-type alloys to an accuracy of better than 1 part in 10,000. Fire assay is also known as Cupellation or Gravimetric analysis.

Fool's Gold

Pyrites of Iron sulphide, which is Gold-like in appearance and can mislead amateur prospectors.

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G

Gold

Latin name Aurum. Chemical symbol Au. Its specific gravity is 19.32 and melting point is 1063°C.

Gold Coin

A Gold Alloy, usually with a minimum fine Gold content of 900 parts per thousand, prepared for making coins. Gold Coins are usually mixed with Silver or Copper to improve durability.

Gold Fixing

Held twice each working day at 1030 and 1500 UK Time in the City of London to determine the market value of Gold per troy ounce.

Gold Parity

Legally fixed quantity of Gold to which a monetary unit is pegged.

Gold/Silver Ratio

The number of troy ounces of Silver that can be bought with one troy ounce of Gold.

Gold Standard

A monetary system with a fixed price for Gold, and with Gold coin either forming the whole circulation of currency within a country or with notes representing and redeemable in Gold.

Good Delivery

The specification which a Gold or Silver bar, or a Platinum or Palladium ingot or plate must meet in order to be acceptable for delivery in a particular market or futures exchange.

Grain

One of the earliest units of weight for Gold, one grain being the equivalent of one grain of wheat taken from the middle of the ear. 1 grain = 0.0648 grams or 0.002083 troy ounces. 15.43 grains = 1 gram; 480.6 grains = 1 troy ounce; 24 grains = 1 pennyweight.

Granules

Bullion, including its various alloys presented for sale in granulated form, often referred to as grain.

Guinea

British Gold coin with a nominal value of £1 first issued in 1663 and named after Gold from Guinea in West Africa. It was unofficially revalued at 21 shillings at The Great Recoinage of 1696, a value confirmed in 1717. It has a fineness of 916.6 and a fine Gold content of approximately ¼ troy ounce.

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H

Hallmark

A mark or number of marks made on Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium jewellery and other fabricated products to confirm that the quality is of the fineness marked on the item. Link: www.theGoldsmiths.co.uk

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I

IBMA

The International Bullion Master Agreement, issued by the LBMA in 1994, sets rules, procedures and standards for International Bullion transactions. Link: www.lbma.org.uk/assets/IBMA.pdf

IMF

The International Monetary Fund was conceived at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 to promote international monetary co-operation and stability. It opened in Washington DC in 1947. Link: www.imf.org

Ingot

A quantity of refined Gold which is to the LBMA Good Delivery Standard.

Istanbul Gold Exchange

The Istanbul Gold Exchange was founded in 1995, it is part of the sole Exchange in Turkey known as the Borsa Instanbul. Link: www.iab.gov.tr

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J

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K

Kam

Chinese for Gold.

Karat

International spelling of Carat.

Kilo Bar

Popular weight for Gold or Silver bars. A 1kg bar is approximately 32.148 troy ounces.

Koala

Popular Australian Bullion Coin manufactured by the Perth Mint available in Platinum and Silver. Also Gold.

Krugerrand

South African Gold coin first issued in 1967 with a fineness of 916.6 alloyed with Copper.

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L

Lakh

Indian term for 100,000. Used to describe Gold or Silver orders.

LBMA

The London Bullion Market Association was formally incorporated on 14 December 1987 to represent the interests of the participants in the wholesale Bullion market and to encourage the development of the London market. Link: www.lbma.org.uk

LBMA Good Delivery List

List of acceptable refiners of Gold and Silver whose bars meet the required standard of fineness, weight, marks and appearance of the London Bullion Market Association.

LPPM

The London Platinum and Palladium Market was formalised by a Deed of Establishment in 1987 and represents the interests of the participants in the wholesale Platinum and Palladium markets and encourages the development of the London and Zurich markets. Link: www.lppm.com

LPPM Good Delivery List

Lists of acceptable refiners of Platinum and Palladium whose plates and ingots meet the required standard of fineness, weight, marks and appearance of the London Platinum and Palladium Market.

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M

Maple Leaf

Popular Canadian investment coin struck available in various weights with Gold being the most common. Silver, Platinum and Palladium Maple Leaf Coins are also available.

MCX

Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. Headquartered in Mumbai, MCX is a demutualised multi-commodity futures exchange. The exchange began operations in November 2003. Link: www.mcxindia.com

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N

Noble

Isle of Man Platinum coin with a fineness of 999.5 manufactured by Pobjoy Mint.

Numismatics

The specialised sector of the coin business for the study and collection of rare coins and other media of exchange, particularly those with archaeological or historic interest.

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O

Ore

Originally from the Old English for crude or unwrought metal. It refers to any economic mineral deposit of precious or other metals.

Ounce

Traditional weight of Gold or Silver for trade, refers specifically to troy ounce. 1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams.

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P

Palladium Fixing

Held twice each working day at 0945 and 1400 in the City of London to fix the market price for Palladium.

Panda

Chinese Gold coin of 999.9 purity, first minted in 1982. Also available in Silver.

Panning

The classic and simple method of mining alluvial Gold.

Pd

The chemical symbol for Palladium.

Pennyweight

Originally the weight of a Silver penny in Britain in the Middle Ages which is still widely used in North America as the unit of weight in the jewellery trade. 20 pennyweights = 1 troy ounce.

Philharmonic

Austrian Bullion coin first issued in 1989, widely available in Gold with Silver editions first struck in 2008.

Platinum

Chemical symbol Pt. Its specific gravity is 21.45 and melting point is 1773°C.

Platinum Fixing

Held twice each working day at 0945 and 1400 in the City of London to set the market price for Platinum.

Platinum Group Metals

A group of metals including Platinum, Palladium, Iridium, Osmium, Rhodium and Ruthenium.

Precious Metals

Metals of significant value being Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium and other Platinum Group Metals.

Pt

The chemical symbol for Platinum.

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Q

Quartation

The process in which Silver is separated from Gold by dissolving it out with nitric acid, more commonly referred to as nitric acid parting.

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R

Refining

The separating and purifying of precious metals from other metals.

Rolled Gold

The process in which a layer of carat Gold alloy is mechanically bonded to another metal.

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S

Scrap Gold

Broad term for any Gold that is sent back to a refiner or processor for recycling.

Silver

Latin name Argentum. The chemical symbol is Ag, specific gravity is 10.49 and the melting point is 960°C.

Silver Fixing

Held each working day at 1200 in the City of London to set the market price for Silver.

Smelting

The process of melting ores or concentrates to separate out the metal content from impurities.

Sovereign

British Gold coin with face value of £1 GBP, a fineness of 916.6 and a fine Gold content of 0.2354 troy ounces.

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T

Tael

Traditional Chinese unit of weight for Gold. 1 tael = 1.20337 troy ounces or 37.4290 grams. The nominal fineness of a Hong Kong tael bar is 990, but in Taiwan 5 and 10 tael bars can be 999.9.

Tola

Traditional Indian unit of weight for Gold. 1 tola = 0.375 troy ounces or 11.6638 grams. The most popular sized bar is 10 tola or 3.75 troy ounces. Weights are for 999.9 Gold purity.

Troy Ounce

The traditional unit of weight used for precious metals, which was attributed to a weight used in Troyes, France, in medieval times. 1 troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams or 1.0971428 avoirdupois ounces.

T/oz

Common abbreviation for troy ounces.

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U

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V

Vreneli

Swiss Gold coin with a face value of 20 Swiss Francs issued as legal tender in the period 1897-1935. It had a fineness of 900 and a fine Gold content of 0.1867 troy ounces.

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W

White Gold

A Gold alloy containing whitening agents such as Silver, Palladium or nickel as well as other base metals. Often used as a setting for Diamond Jewellery.

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X

XAG

The internationally recognised currency symbol for 1 troy ounce of Silver.

XAU

The internationally recognised currency symbol for 1 troy ounce of Gold.

XPD

The internationally recognised currency symbol for 1 troy ounce of Palladium.

XPT

The internationally recognised currency symbol for 1 troy ounce of Platinum.

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Y

Yuan

Unit of currency of Chinese Panda Coins.

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Z

Z (Hallmark)

This letter represents the date 1999 on hallmarked items.

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