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Glossary

 

A

Acid Test
A method used to identify gold, platinum and palladium. It is done by scratching a sample of the metal on jeweller’s stone and applying nitric acid and regia.
 
Ag
The chemical symbol for silver.

Allocated Storage
Physical precious metal specifically allocated to your and stored under your name.
 
Alloy
Two or more metals combined to achieve better properties, like hardness, conductivity, durability, etc, than possessed by the individual metals.
 
Alluvial
Alluvial gold is small gold particles found by panning for gold in riverbeds.
 
Ask
A dealer’s selling price to their client, also called “offer”. The price you pay when you buy a product.
 
Assay
The process of determining how much pure gold, silver and other elements are in a product/sample.
 
Au
The chemical symbol for gold.
 
Avoirdupois Ounce
An old weight system using pounds and ounces. An avoirdupois ounce equals 28.35 grams and differs from troy ounces, which is used to measure precious metals.

B

Bar
A piece of metal either cast or minted into a rectangular shape. It is certified to have a certain weight and purity by its refiner.
 
Base Metal
Any metal that is not “precious” (which refers to gold, silver, platinum and palladium), such as copper, aluminium, iron, lead, etc.
 
Bear Market
A market in which prices are declining.
 
Bid
A dealer’s buying price from their client. The price you receive when you sell a product. Also called the buyback price.
 
Bitcoin
The first “cryptocurrency” created in 2009 that uses blockchain technology to generate and regulate the number of tokens created and their transfer. Bitcoins are not backed by any real world asset.
 
Blockchain Technology
A digital record of transactions of tokens written in a ledger. The ledger is stored by all participants of the network that the blockchain runs on and updates are controlled by a consensus of nodes in the network, instead of a centralised control function. This provides redundancy and data integrity.
 
Bullion
Precious metals in the form of bars, ingots and coins that are traded based on their metal value.
 
Bullion Coin
They are coins bought mainly for investment purposes and are valued based on their precious metals content.
 
Bull Market
A market in which prices are rising.

Buy/Sell Spreads
The difference between a precious metals trader’s buying prices and selling prices, relative to the spot price of the metal they are trading. Ideally, buy/sell spreads are kept as low as possible.

C

Capsule
A case that is clear and rounded in shape that it is used to protect coins.
 
Carat
Weight - carat is the unit of measurement for the weight of precious stones.
Purity – carat is also a measure of the purity of gold. Pure gold is 24 carats. All ABC Bullion gold products are 24ct gold.
 
Central Bank
The government owned national bank of a sovereign nation, such as the Reserve Bank of Australia. Along with national government they set monetary and fiscal policy as well as provide banking services to government departments.

Circulated
Usually referring to the condition of a coin, indicates that a coin has some wear from being used as currency in day-to-day trade.
 
Coin
Coins are government issued legal tender used as currency to purchase goods or services. Often incorrectly used to refer to any bullion product which is circular in shape – only an item which is legal lender is a “coin”, otherwise any other circular product should be referred to as a “round” or medallion.
 
COMEX
A colloquial reference to the precious metals futures contracts traded on the United States exchange CME Group. One of the major precious metals markets along with London and Shanghai.
 
Commodity
A physical product which is commonly traded and holds value based on the product’s industrial and commercial value.
 
Correction
When the price falls following a climb in the market.
 
Cryptocurrency
A virtual currency that uses blockchain technology to create and transfer tokens within the network of users of that currency. Typically run a decentralised network of nodes that use consensus algorithms to ensure the integrity of the system and to confirm transfers.​ Cryptocurrencies are not issued by governments or backed by real world assets.

D

Depository
A Secure location where precious metals are stored.
 
Derivative
Financial instrument derived from a cash market commodity, futures contract, or other financial instrument. Derivatives can be traded on regulated exchange markets or over-the-counter. For example, futures contracts are derivatives of physical commodities, options on futures are derivatives of futures contracts.

Doré
An impure form of gold produced at a mine. Doré bars are not tradable and need to be refined.

E

Encapsulated
Encased in a capsule that protects the condition of the product.
 
Engraving
When a design is carved into the surface of the metal or material
 
Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)
An ETF is a product that trades on an exchange, such as the ASX. ETFs are usually designed to track the price performance of a single commodity, a basket of commodities or a stock index. Buying an ETF allows investors to easily invest in assets that are difficult to buy or to reduce the complexity of buying multiple assets in the one asset group.

F

Face Value
The currency value shown on a coin that is government issued. For precious metals, there is usually a significant difference between the face value and the coin’s intrinsic (market) value. For instance, the 1oz Royal Canadian Mint Maple Leaf coin has a face value of $50 Canadian dollars whereas its real value is thousands of dollars.
 
Fiat money
Fiat means “by decree” and is often used in a derogatory manner to refer to government issued money which is not backed by gold or silver.
 
Fine
Another word for pure, see fineness below.
 
Fineness
Also known as purity. It is used to describe the amount of precious metal in a product. Can be expressed as a percentage, per thousand or carat. For example, a product of pure or fine gold can be stamped with 99.99%, 999.9 or 24ct.
 
Fractional
The term used to describe items that weigh less than 1 troy ounce. Examples include ½ oz gold Maple or ¼ oz gold Eagle.
 
Futures Contract
A futures contract is an agreement between a buyer and seller to settle the exchange a product for money in the future at a set date. Precious metals futures contracts are primarily used by speculators to bet on the price or by those looking to manage the risk of prices rising or falling. Contrasts to Spot trading which is for immediately settlement.
 

G

Gold
An element represented by the symbol Au with an atomic number of 79. It is a soft, shiny, yellow, malleable, ductile transition metal that does not corrode or tarnish (is not overly reactive). It comes in many natural forms such as nuggets, grains in rocks and in alluvial deposits.
 
Gold bug
Often used in a derogatory manner to refer to gold investors, particularly those who rarely sell and accumulate gold and/or those who support moving back to the gold standard.
 
Gold Nugget
A naturally occurring piece of raw gold. They vary in shapes and sizes and are often found in rivers or mines.
 
Gold/Silver Ratio
The number of ounces of silver required to buy one ounce of gold, or the price of gold in ounces of silver.
 
Gold Standard
A monetary system where the currency of a country is directly linked to gold. For instance, paper money that is interchangeable for a specific weight of gold.
 
Good Delivery
Precious metal produced by a refinery that is accredited by a market/exchange. The main market/accreditation organisation are the London Bullion Market Association (UK), CME Group (US) and Shanghai Gold Exchange (China).
 
Gram
Unit of weight in the metric system. One troy ounce = 31.1035 grams.

H

Hallmark
A stamp on the surface of precious metals or jewellery indicating the producer, serial number, weight and purity of the product.

I

Ingot
The words ingot and bar are used interchangeably in the precious metals industry. Typically used to describe metal that is rectangular in shape.
 
Intrinsic Value
The market value of the precious metals contained within a bullion bar or coin. For precious metals, there is usually a significant difference between the intrinsic value of a coin and its face value. For instance, the 1oz Royal Canadian Mint Maple Leaf coin has a face value of $50 Canadian dollars whereas its real value is thousands of dollars.
 

J

K

Kilo bar
A bar weighing one kilogram (32.1507 troy ounces).
 
Kilogram
1,000 grams = 32.1507 troy ounces.

L

Legal Tender
Currency that creditors are required by law to accept as payment of a debt.
 
Liquidity
The quality of being readily convertible into cash.
 
London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)
The London Bullion Market Association is a trade association for precious metals comprised of traders, refiners, fabricators, vaulters and secure carrier services. They set standards from the purity, form and provenance of precious metals to the way in which they are traded. ABC Refinery is accredited by the LBMA, which means ABC Bullion branded products are tradable globally.

M

Medallion
A round piece of metal that resembles a coin but is not legal tender. It may be manufactured by a government or private mint.
 
Metric ton
1,000 kilograms or 32,151 troy ounces.
 
Mint (adj.)
Mint condition that represents a product which has never been circulated and is in perfect condition.
 
Mint (n.)
Refers to a business that stamps precious metals into medallions, bars or coins. Government mints make legal tender coins where as private mints make medallions and bars.
 
Monster Box
A plastic box that is used to store bulk quantities of coins or bars, typically for silver. This enables secure transportation and protects the metals against damage.

N

Numismatic Coins
Also known as collectors’ coins, their value is more heavily based on the rarity, condition, dates and mint marks rather than the intrinsic value of the metal.
 
Numismatist
Coin collector.

O

Obverse
The front side of a coin which usually contains an image of the monarch of a country. Also called the “heads” of a coin.

Offer
See Ask
 
Ounce
A generic term that can refer to either troy or avoirdupois ounces. In the precious metals industry “ounce” means “troy ounces”, which is equal to 31.1035 grams. This is not to be mistaken with the more common avoirdupois ounce, which is equal to 28.35 grams. Usually abbreviated as “oz” or more correctly, “toz” for troy ounce.

P

Palladium
An element represented by the symbol Pd and atomic number 46. A rare silver-white transition metal of the platinum group, palladium resembles platinum chemically and is extracted from some copper and nickel ores. It is primarily used as an industrial catalyst and in jewellery.
 
A chemical element represented by atomic number 46 and symbol Pd. It is rare silver-white transition metal. It similar to platinum in the sense that it chemically resembles it and that it is extracted from copper and nickel ores.
 
Pd
The chemical symbol for palladium.
 
Platinum
An element represented by the symbol Pt and atomic number 78. This metal is resistant to corrosion and occurs in nickel and copper ores as well as some native deposits. It has a grey-white appearance and is very heavy and malleable. It has a range of uses such as jewellery, laboratory equipment, dentistry and automobile emissions control devices.
 
Pool Allocated
An investment in a ‘share’ in a pool of a precious metal where your holding is denominated in troy ounces or kilograms. It is backed by externally audited metal positions held by ABC Bullion and its related companies.
 
Pt
The chemical symbol of platinum.
 
Premium
The difference between a product’s selling price and its spot metal value. It includes the costs of fabrication, distribution and dealer fee. For instance, a silver coin that contains $37 worth of silver but has a selling price of $47 has a premium of $10.
 
Proof
A collector coin produced using special dies and blanks to produce a high quality product.
 
Purity
Used interchangeably with finesse. This is the percentage of precious metals found within a bullion bar. For instance, all ABC Bullion gold products are 99.99% pure gold.

R

Refining
The process of separating impurities from dore from a mine to produce pure precious metals.
 
Reverse
The back of a coin, which for precious metals coins usually contain the main design or theme of the coin. Also called the “tails” of a coin.
 
Round
Circular pieces of precious metal that are not legal tender/currency. Often used to referred to cheaper non-government minted products.

S

Silver
An element represented by the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. It is a metal that is shiny and light grey in appearance. In addition to a long history as money and jewllery, it has numerous industrial applications ranging from electronics, solar panels and anti-bacterial uses.
 
Spot
The price of precious metal in the professional markets for immediate settlement and delivery for multi-million dollar size trades. Usually for trades for good delivery bars of 400 ounces (for gold) or 1000 ounces (for silver).

Spread
The difference between the bid price and the ask price of a bullion bar or coin.

T

Tarnish
A thin layer of corrosion due to exposure to air and moisture. Does not occur for gold but can occur on silver and will usually not affect the buyback price offered by a deal and may or may not affect the value of the bar/coin to collectors depending on the product.
 
Troy Ounce
The traditional weight used in the precious metals industry and is equal to 31.1035 grams. It differs from the avoirdupois ounce that equals 28.35 grams. See “ounce”.
 
Tube
Some mints supply coins and rounds in plastic tubes of 20 or 25. Usually such products are not individually encapsulated.

U

Unallocated
An investment in a ‘share’ in a pool of a precious metal where your holding is denominated in troy ounces or kilograms. Can be backed by physical or paper gold or simply a book entry by the business selling it.

V

W

World Gold Council
The World Gold Council is the market-development organisation for the gold industry. Its 23 members comprise the world's leading gold mining companies, representing approximately 60% of global corporate gold production.
 
World Platinum Investment Council

The World Platinum Investment Council is the organisation established by the six leading platinum producers to develop the market for platinum investment demand.

X

XRF
Also known as X-ray Fluorescence. Most bullion dealers will have an XRF machine that can determine the purity of a product non-invasively.

Y

Z