gold-and-silver-to-change-colors(November 6, 2012) - While gold and silver are known around the world for their attractive coloration, scientists who are researching the engineering of metals have developed a way to be able to change these precious metals' iconic colors without altering their purity. One of the most common uses of gold is jewelry. One can only imagine what the ability to have different colors of gold would do for that industry. It's no surprise then to hear that this is where some scientists will be looking to profit from this discovery. For those investing in precious metals, the impact of this discovery might remain uncertain, but chances are good that it could enhance the demand for both silver and gold.

According to a recent article in the jewelry industry's JCK Magazine, the researchers who were working at the Centre for Photonic Metamaterials that is part of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, are able to turn both of the world's most popular precious metals into a range of hues.

Gold and silver react differently to the technique--called nano patterning--that embosses their surfaces with patterns. While invisible to the naked eye, this process transforms the way light interacts with the metals. As a result, they theorize that since jewelry is one of the more common uses of gold and also an industry where color means a great deal, there will be money to be made from being able to use nano patterning to alter the color of silver and gold. By investing in precious metals that have been treated with the new technique, jewelry makers would be able to produce gold jewelry in red or green and those working in silver would be able to work with silver of any color in the spectrum. The catch is that gold cannot be made blue since the yellow metal does not reflect blue light.

The program manager in charge of the research, Dr. Kevin MacDonald, told the press, "The new process doesn't change the chemical composition of the gold, just its surface."

This is good news because it means that the gold or silver itself would not have its value lowered and could still be melted down to be used for another purpose. Investors choose precious metals because of this kind of versatility, and if the process damaged the metals then it would be a tougher sell to those who collect jewelry for more than just its aesthetic value. This will be a big help as the researchers look for a way to monetize their discovery and get their technique through the proper channels to become useful to the jewelry making industry.

More work will have to be done before we see a world in which green gold and blue silver can be worn by the average person, but the scientists are looking to get their discovery patented as soon as possible. For investors, this is a fun affirmation that we do not yet know all of the possibilities that silver and gold have to offer us. It's always good to see that discoveries in the world of precious metals continue to be made, even here in 2012.