Making Synthetic Diamonds – High Pressure, High Temperature

Most coloured diamonds are made synthetically because the variables necessary to form a naturally coloured diamond are extremely rare, thus why they are the most expensive kind of diamonds.

The most common way diamonds are made synthetically is HPTC – High Pressure High Temperature

Because the video (1:51) has no dialogue, here is what’s happening:

1. Pure carbon and catalyst metals, pressed into a graphite, are put into a small cylinder, and then placed in a growth chamber
2. The growth chamber is placed into a BARS apparatus consisting of a steel outer anvil and a tungsten carbide inner anvil.
3. For 3-5 days, the growth chamber will undergo extreme temperatures and pressures (1400 °C and ~880,000 pounds per square inch).
4. Once the ideal conditions are reached, the graphite dissolves into a molten metal solution, and the carbon atoms slowly build upon a crystal structure.
5. Once the capsule finishes cooling, cracking open the growth chamber reveals a rough diamond ready to be cleaned and cut.

Different types of metals added to the growth chamber will change its color. Eg. Boron will result in a blue diamond.

Where Did All The Canadian Silver Coins Go?

At one point in time it was very common to see circulated silver coins. On January 2nd, 1908 when Canada opened its first Royal Mint in Ottawa, the “first coin” (half-dollar) was a silver coin (92.5% silver/7.5% copper). From then until the late 1960s, Canada, much like everyone else, produced silver coins, with exception to the penny (bronze) and the five cent (nickel). But the 1960s marked the death of silver currency coins. It wasn’t just Canada, but most countries around the world were making nickel or copper-nickel coins.

Seeing a silver coin nowadays is a treat. They have become collectible pieces where their numismatic (collectors) value and silver value are far higher than its face value. What happened in the 1960s? Where did all the Canadian silver coins go?

The beginning of the end of Canadian silver coins can be traced as far back to World War I. The reason for this is because the silver content in coins depended on the spot price of silver. Between 1908 and 1919, Canadian silver coins were made with 92.5% silver. However, after 1919 (the end of WWI), almost all Canadian silver coins contained 80% silver.

Looking at the graph below you can see that between 1914 and 1919 the price of silver jumped from $0.50/oz to over $1/oz.


In other words, the war’s affect on silver prices influenced Canadian silver coinage. Up until 1922, the five-cent coin was originally made with silver, but was converted to nickel (hence its name) to reduce the cost to make the coins.

Although silver prices dropped in the 1930s ($0.25/oz in 1932), this did not mean that Canadian coins would revert to 92.5% silver or that the five-cent coin would once again be made with silver. After the Great Depression and World War II, silver prices would begin to climb again, marking the next stage in the death of the Canadian silver coins.

Macrotrends.org_Gold_and_Silver_Prices_100_Year_Historical_Chart (1)

The silver prices use the headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) with a base of January 2012

In 1968, Canadian silver coins would take another hit to their silver content, going from 80% to 50%. Once August rolled around, it became prohibitive to mint silver circulation coins, thus all circulation coins were made with nickel or copper-nickel. Overall, the rise in silver prices had some effect on limiting its use, not just for coins but also for manufactured goods. Not only was it more expensive to use silver in coins, but the demand from silver investors encouraged the metal to be allocated more toward bullion than  secondary resources.

Since 1968, the only Canadian silver coins we see are either commemorative coins or bullion coins. The bullion coin—the Canadian Silver Maples (below; left)—are worth their weight in silver, whereas the commemorative ones, like the 1976 Olympic coins (below; right) are collectibles, and are worth more than just their silver value.

 silver-maple-leaft-coinolympic coin

Although rises in silver prices killed Canadian silver circulation coins, they have also made them worth far more than their face value. For example, a 1950 twenty-five cent coin is worth roughly $2.50 today. That’s 100 times it’s face value!

Next time, we will talk more about the Canadian commemorative coins. If you have any questions, leave a comment or reach out to us on Google+:

Grading Diamonds: What You Need to Know

A famous Marilyn Monroe  quote says “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Then there are some who will say that women are complicated. So does that mean diamonds are complicated too?

Most of the value in diamond jewelry is the diamond itself, and evaluating diamonds is not very straightforward because slight differences (differences too small to see with the naked eye) can differentiate the price from one diamond and another quite significantly. In other words, perhaps diamonds are as complicated as girls, and Marilyn Munroe has been on to something all this time. There is a good reason why the diamond industry has certified gemologists in labs to grade diamonds.

Unfortunately for the average person, a gemologist is not always available (but you can book an appointment with our Vancouver gemologist today by calling 604-876-4653). If you’re planning on investing in jewelry with diamonds in it, like an engagement ring, read this simple guide to help you better understand what you need to know about buying diamonds.

Starting with the 4 C’s—Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Colour—we will help give you a better understanding of the anatomy of diamonds and how they are graded.

4 cs



Carat is the most common thing we think about when the topic of diamonds comes up. Carat is a unit of weight used to measure diamonds. The word comes from the Greek word “carob” which is a plant seed that was used to weigh against gemstones because of their relatively uniform weight. The carat system was eventually standardized where one carat is fixed at 0.2 grams.

Although carat measures the diamond’s weight, it can generally determine the diamond’s size. Here is a chart of “round” diamonds showing their carat and their relative size in millimeters.


As you go up in carat, the price increases exponentially because diamonds over one carat are far rarer. A two carat diamond is worth more per carat than a one carat diamond of equal grade.

What carat is right for you (or your special someone)? If you’re considering an engagement ring, according to, in 2013 the average size of the center diamond was 1.1 carats. If you would like to get a better comparison of different diamond sizes, check out this Diamond Size Chart.


Often we think of “cut” as the shape or style of the diamond. In fact, shape is entirely different (and will be explained later). Cut actually refers to the “reflective qualities” and is what is graded when a diamond is certified. The quality of the cut determines how much light is reflected when it enters the diamond. The reflected light is commonly known as the diamond’s brilliance. The pictures below show the common features of a cut diamond and how light enters different cut variants.



Cut grades go from Ideal, Excellent, Very Good, Good, and then Fair & Poor, where ideal cuts maximize the amount of light reflected, and fair & poor cuts only reflects a small proportion of the light that enters them.


Grades of clarity assess the overall flaws (blemishes and inclusions) of the diamond. All natural diamonds contain some sort of flaws, hence why flawless diamonds are incredibly rare, and thus incredibly expensive. Blemishes are flaws you can see on the surface, like chips and scratches, and inclusions are flaws found inside the diamond, like bubbles, cracks, and mineral flecks.

The following clarity grades are under 10x magnification (inclusions in grades F through VS are NOT visible to the naked eye):




We think of diamonds as being clear like glass or appearing white because of the light they capture. When gemologists grade diamonds on colour, they are actually looking for either the presence or absence of colour—the less colour apparent to the eye, the higher its value. Naturally coloured diamonds are an exception to this rule, because they are unique and extremely rare. Diamonds are graded from D (colourless) all the way to Z (Light Yellow):


 The more colourless the diamond, the more it will emphasize its brilliance made by the diamond’s cut.

The 5th “C”: Certificates

Certificates are a grading report of your diamond’s 4 C’s conducted by a qualified gemologist using special equipment. This is to ensure that what you’re paying for is what you’re getting. Because the 4 C’s are often impossible to recognize to the untrained eye, it’s important to make sure a professional has gone over your diamonds. Most certified diamonds are done by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) or AGS (American Gem Society) and will look like this:


Diamonds are an expensive investment. The smallest detail could drastically change its value compared to what you paid for it, and you wouldn’t even know. If you’re buying diamonds or diamond jewelry, make sure it comes with a certificate!

 Shape (Style)

Earlier we spoke of cut diamonds referring to the reflective qualities, not its shape or style. The diamond shape doesn’t reflect its value as much as the 4 C’s, but it is still something to consider when purchasing your diamond jewelry. Depending on your taste, there are many different cut shapes to choose from:


(Note that a one carat heart diamond will weigh the same as a one carat round diamond, but it does not mean that they will be the exact same size)

Now that you know the basics of diamonds, you can go out and research what diamond is best for you. is a perfect place to start to check out diamond prices based on the four C’s you just learned about. Or, if you wish to speak to us directly about your diamonds, call 604-876-4653 and book an appointment with our very own gemologist – Rachel Cohen. Here she is at the JCK Jewelry Show in Las Vegas June 2014.

Rachel w GIA

Sell Silver Coins

What Makes a Coin Valuable?

What’s the difference between a 1918 Canadian 50-cent coin and a 1921 Canadian 50-cent coin? Easy answer: 3 years. Informative answer: the 1921 is far rarer (suspected that only 75 exist), and is worth 25,000 times more (estimated to be worth $249,000 USD).

Of course, that seems obvious enough. Besides rarity, there are other aspects which can determine a coin’s value. To coin collectors where hundreds and thousands of coins are out there to be acquired, the difference between one coin and another can come down to the smallest detail, and yet can differentiate their values immensely. Mintage/supply, grade/condition, toning, composition, and rare variations/errors are factors within the discipline of numismatics (study of currency) that effect the value, and that coin collectors consider when they seek out rare coins.


If you have a coin and you want to see if it’s a rare coin, checking the mintage and the number of currently available coins is your first step. Mintage is the number of produced coins. Using the economic principle of scarcity, when there is a high supply of a particular coin, it’s not worth a lot because there are plenty to go around. This is why most circulated coins or the change in your piggy-bank tends to be worth nothing more than its face value. The 1921 50-cent coin example is one coin which was in circulation but was taken out and melted down. Its drastic cut in supply made it a rare coin. However, a high demand in spite of a coin’s high supply could increase that coin’s value. This happens when a coin is part of a set or has a mint mark separate from other coins of the same type.


A coin’s grade or condition, next to rarity, is the most important factor when evaluating the worth of a coin. Like anything collectible, a mint condition and well maintained piece is more sought after, thus more valuable than a slightly damaged piece. The American Numismatic Association uses an adjectival scale to grade a coins condition. The key things to look for are a) overall wear and b) loss of design details.

  • Poor (PR)
  • Fair (FR)
  • About Good (AG)
  • Good (G)
  • Very Good (VG) – 25% original detail
  • Fine (F) – 50% original detail
  • Very Fine (VF) – 75% original detail
  • Extremely Fine (XF) – 95% original detail
  • About Uncirculated (AU) – 95-99% original detail
  • Uncirculated (Unc.) – 99% original detail
  • Mint State (MS) – 100% original detail and no signs of wear or handling


Toning is the discolouration of the coin when the metal reacts with oxygen and chemicals in the air. This obviously is a factor in grading coins, and would be considered a form of wear on the coin. But often toning can add value to a coin because it’s a natural wear, and to some collectors this is an appealing quality. The key word is “natural”. As soon as you touch it with your bare fingers, scratch at its surface, or even try to restore its original colour, the value of it drops tremendously. (Tip: Never touch the sides of rare coins. Always hold them on the edge with gloves).


A coins composition or metal content can also determine the value of a coin. Most coins are made with copper or nickel or a combination of the two metals (bimetallic coins), but higher-end specialty coins and bullion coins are made with precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum. For obvious reasons, precious metal coins are worth a lot and have guaranteed investment value. Sometimes, a coins composition adds that rarity factor. For example, during World War II, Canadian nickel was reserved for the war effort, so the five-cent nickel coin was made with tombac instead. Even though tombac is not an expensive metal, the variation in its metal composition made it a sought after coin by collectors.

Rare Variations/Errors

Rare variations and errors make coins extremely valuable just because they are unique and there are so few of them (again the principle of scarcity). Rare variations could be limited edition coins that are made to commemorate an event or person, or a difference in the mint mark or design in a particular year. Then there are extreme rare variation coins such as the Canadian 1936 “dot” penny made in the final year of King George V’s reign. A miniscule dot was placed below the date on the reverse side of the coin. Only three versions of the coin are known, and have been auctioned at around $250,000 USD.

dot penny


Errors are mistakes in the design when technical difficulties occur during the minting process. Coins that slip through this way are some of the rarest coins. The American 1937-D three-legged buffalo nickel is a famous coin because the die (imprint on the coin) was over-polished, wiping out one of the buffalo’s legs.


You might have realized that I have left out Age as a factor of value. Of course the age of a coin adds value, but it’s no guarantee that an old coin is worth a lot except its face value. The other factors above have higher priority to collectors, unless it’s an ancient coin.

Personal Preference: Collection Themes, Aesthetic Design, Historical Significance

Other reasons why a coin could be so valuable are up to the collector. Coin collections and themes play a part in determining if a coin is valuable or not. Each collector looks for little subtleties or details such as country, year, mint marks, variety or limited edition coins, subject or heritage coins, personage coins, and period coins such as coins made during an empire or a king’s reign.

Then there are collectors that are more interested in the aesthetic design than its grade or rarity. Sometimes we forget that artists are designing the coins we hold in our hands, or the commemorative coins that come out each year.

beauty coins

Of course, aesthetic design could be how a coin was worn down or toned a particular way, which makes for added uniqueness. Naturally blackened Victorian pennies, which have only the most raised surface showing the underlying copper, meaning the head is clearly presented.

Historical significance is one of the most popular reasons we collect coins. Haven’t you found an old coin—a coin older than you—and imagined where it had been up until you found it? Geoffrey Cope, a writer at, said: “Art in the form of coins is not only what we study but the emotion when we hold a piece of history.” I have a German mark from 1871, the year the German states unified into a single nation. It’s in Good (G) condition, an old coin, but millions were produced. However, it’s the historical significance that matters me, and holding a piece of history like that, the emotion I feel, is much more valuable than dollars and cents.

For more information on coins and coin collecting, chat with us on Google+ ( or check out coin news and guides at The site we recommend to grade Canadian coins is

The Gold Refining Process – how gold is refined

The Five Stages of Metal Refining: From Ore to Pure

The Royal Canadian Mint refines their gold using these five steps:

1. Pre-melt

Doré bars in purities ranging from 5% to 95% are melted in a furnace. Dip samples are taken from the molten gold to determine its purity.

2. Chlorination

Chlorine gas is injected into the molten metal mix. All metals but gold float to the surface to form a slag of molten chloride. The resulting 995 fine gold is poured into an anode mould.

3. Degolding

Soda ash is added to the molten chloride slag recovered from chlorination. The reaction causes gold particles to collect in a silver-gold alloy ‘button’ that settles at the bottom of the crucible.

4. Electrolysis

This process brings gold to 9999 purity. The gold anode is placed in a bath containing a solution of hydrochloric acid and gold chloride. The anode is then subjected to an electric current. The anode dissolves, and the dissolved gold plates onto a titanium cathode. Impurities (mostly silver) fall to the bottom of the cell or form soluble chlorides.

5. Final pour

9999 fine gold is cast into bars of various sizes or turned into granulation gold.

The Gold Refining Process

A Half-Penny for Your Thoughts?

When Great Britain got rid of the Half-Penny thirty years ago, there were fears that it would cause a spike in inflation as retailers all began rounding up to the nearest penny. In all likelyhood, however, it didn’t really have much effect at all.

When the Royal Mint stopped producing the half-penny in the early eighties, inflation had already taken its toll on the coin, to the point that retailers complained they couldn’t give them away as change, people would simply leave them behind on the counter. It was also speculated that the cost to produce the coin was much higher than its face value, but history is full of examples of coins that cost more than their face value. These are some of the reasons that Great Britain eventually abolished the half-penny, but why did it take so long?

Does this sound familiar? With the Canadian penny now a relic of a bygone era, we’d like to know how if you think that these small denomination coins really matter. Do you miss the penny? What impact does not having pennies have on you? Join the conversation in Google+ below!

New Canada Gold Website

Welcome to the new!

We are pleased to officially launch our new website full of great new features and information to help you learn more about the process of buying and selling precious metals including gold, silver and platinum, as well as diamonds.

Canada Gold aims to equip you with all the information that you will need to make an informed decision regarding the purchase or sale of your precious metals and diamonds. Whether you choose to do business with us or not, we are pleased to present you with the most relevant tools and articles to make your decision that much easier.

As always, if you have any questions regarding our company, this website, or precious-metals in general, we are always here to help. You can contact us through our website or visit one of our conveniently located offices in a neighbourhood near you.

Thanks for your interest in our company, we look forward to having the pleasure of serving you soon!Canada Gold Logo

Gold Around the World

Gold Around The World

The gold price has different meanings for everyone. For some, it is a source of wealth, for others it is the cost of fine jewelry, and there are many more who just don’t really care about it.

Is There Value in the Gold Price?

No matter what your opinion on the precious metal, gold is an important resource in our world and plays a significant role in our global economy. Even if it doesn’t interest you from an investment or fashion standpoint, the gold price is sure to affect you in some way.

With such a difficult to understand value proposition and tremendous economic weight, many ask “why?”.

“(Gold) gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

Warren Buffet

While this may be true, in most countries gold has a very important role to play through deep rooted cultural traditions and as a store of wealth. It’s true that the gold price is simply the value that we assign to it, but in reality this could be argued for just about any scarce resource or capital in a free market economy.

One of the best ways of understanding the gold price is to simply think of it as a currency. While most other commodities have very real and useful value as a source of energy, construction or as food, gold is quite limited in its general usefulness. Likewise, commodities tend to get used up, contributing to a certain amount of continuous demand regardless of the investment interest in it. Gold, of course is always there. Even if it ends up being used in jewelry you can always melt it down and reclaim it into its purest form.

Gold as a Currency

The reason we can equate the gold price to currency is because it really is just used as a store and transfer of wealth, just like cash. The difference is that cash tends to become devalued over time (inflation), whereas gold price almost always has a consistent value compared to inflation.

There are many economic factors influencing the gold price, but the same is true for currency. If all countries and businesses used gold price as the standard of currency it would lead to much more stable levels of exchange and contribute to an easing global trade. Currently, if a company manufactures a product in one country for sale in another, the fluctuations in exchange rates can lead to huge risks to profitability. The recent rise in globalisation has had more to do with the easing of import duties and the establishment of large-scale trade agreements.

A common currency would be the final consummation of true free trade between countries, also known as a currency union. While this has been tried with a certain level of success in Europe with the establishment of the Euro, the idea of using gold price as a common currency for countries in different parts of the world has been suggested as the next major push towards global free trade.

Just such a scheme has been floated as being plausible by an OMFIF report commissioned by the World Gold Council looking into the potential impacts of changes to China’s monetary policy.

While this type of move would be profound and extreme to say the least, it does show the sentiment towards moving away from currency systems that are easily manipulated by governments and towards a more inclusive system that offers greater stability for the businesses that ultimately engage in trade.

Given all this, it seems that there is a role for gold price as an international store of value and commerce, providing a common currency across international boundaries.

Sentimental Gold - Should I Keep it, or Sell It?

Sentimental Gold – Should I Keep it, or Sell It?

Just about everyone has possessions with personal or sentimental value beyond what the market might say they’re worth. When you really think about it, that’s basically how we assign value to everything; I place greater value on a cup of coffee than having a spare couple of bucks in my pocket, so I buy a coffee. The coffee shop would rather have my change than the capacity to produce one extra cup of coffee, the beauty of the free market ensues!

Many people end up with old gold jewelry that has been inherited in some way or another, and most of it will be forgotten in a drawer somewhere. A good way to decide whether these items are worth holding on to or not is to separate them into three piles:

First Pile: These are sentimental items that have been handed down through your family for generations, or perhaps they have some very significant meaning behind them. These are items that you would never part with at any price. Keep them aside and make sure they end up somewhere safe.

Second Pile: These are items that you know have value, but you’re not quite sure how much they’re worth. They might have some sentimental value, but are likely worth a fair bit of money as well, and depending on how much you can get for them, you might consider selling them. It’s worthwhile having them evaluated so that you know what they’re worth, but don’t take the decision to sell lightly, once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

Third Pile: This is the stuff you know that you want to get rid of. It’s that ugly old damaged jewelry that’s been sitting around collecting dust. You know that it won’t be worn and it’s just taking up space. These are the items that you just might be surprised by how much they’re really worth. Old ugly gold jewelry is often of high quality and heavy, containing a great deal of gold content. If you were to sell it to a gold buyer you’d be receiving payment based on that gold value, not the way it looks.

That’s it! Bring the second and third piles into a Canada Gold Buyer location to have them evaluated, ask for the two piles to be priced out separately so that you can decide whether it’s worthwhile selling one or both. There will be no obligation to sell and the quote you receive will be based on the best market price from the past three days.

Investing in Gold Bullion in Canada

Not only do we buy your old gold, but we also sell it in bullion form. Learn more about investing in gold bullion in Canada in this short video.

Stirling: and you also by the way Greg; sell gold and silver coins in bars and such, it’s not all your  … it’s a two-way street as far as Vancouver  Gold is concerned. You buy gold and a lot of it and other precious metals but you also sell it.

Greg: Sure, yeah – with the price of gold on its trajectory, lots of people becoming interested in investing in is well on they say you know if it’s going to keep on going up then … maybe it’s a good investment so we do sell it uh… in bullion form and coin so that the maple Canadian maple leafs that you mentioned … people can buy gold bars and silver as well, lots of people are investing in silver nowadays.

Stirling: There’s an interesting tax issue, attached to buying gold, Charlie.  If you buy one hundred percent pure gold like a Canadian maple leaf gold coin, it’s not taxable. If you buy an American gold coin, well of an ounce it’s taxable.  Why? Is it because it’s foreign or because the gold content?

Charlie: Yeah, first of all that’s just sales tax, you’re still capital gains tax can still be, you know, assessed on those pieces.

Stirling: .. at the point of sale

Charlie: Exactly, yeah.  Anything in Canada, anything less than ninety nine point five percent pure is subject to sales tax. So that includes jewelry and that’s the main reason, so people can’t get around that tax but it just so happens that a lot of these other kind of investment coins like the American eagle coin.

Stirling: .. and the Krugerrand – South Africa, right yeah?

Charlie: Those ones they are twenty two karat or ninety one percent pure, so they would be subject to sales tax. It’s not just that it’s American; you can buy American coins the American buffalo is that a pure gold American coin, so you can buy that here as well. We don’t see anywhere near as many of those as the Maple Leafs.  So the pure gold bars and coins are what you what we would definitely recommend for investing in gold.

Stirling:.. and the better business bureau again; more stuff that I’ve cribbed from your website,  the best better business bureau says be smart about this. Keep up with the prices. Know, at least have a feeling for what today’s prices are, when you walk in today so that  you’re not alien to the process.