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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #114597: Vocabulary: gems and silver
    > Other English exercises on the same topics: Banks, money | Colours/Colors | Idioms [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Bill, tip, fare, fine, fee - Colours - Colours and pictures - Colors: idioms II - Vocabulary: going to the bank... - Vocabulary: black and/ or white? (1) - Vocabulary: colours (2) - Vocabulary: gold everywhere
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    Vocabulary: gems and silver

    In Richard II, (Act II, Scene 1) through John of Gaunt's words, Shakespeare qualified England as:

       « This precious stone set in the silver sea »




    This quote came back to my mind and gave me the idea of writing to you about precious stones and silver!

    A lot of vocabulary and expressions (idioms), are linked to these words! Some of them are concrete, others are much more abstract or figurative. 

    I) Precious stones (gems) as a whole, then a few precise ones:

           Gems= precious stones
              the Gem State = Idaho 

           You're a real gem!

     = You're really extraordinary! 


    Abstract meanings of  "precious stones" (gems), are often expressed very differently in French...

     Listen to this gem!

     = Listen to this funny mistake!

    This painting is the gem

    of the exhibition!

     = This painting is the masterpiece  

      of the exhibition.

     You have a gem

     of a husband!

     = Your husband is extraordinary!
     An architectural gem

     = An architectural treasure.

    1) Diamonds:



                                                           "Diamonds are forever" = eternal!


               Rough diamonds

              = uncut diamonds


                 A  diamond necklace



                 Ace of diamonds



              A diamond lane

           =  a reserved lane

                     Diamond Wedding

                   = 60 years of marriage.

                 Diamond Jubilee

    = 60 years of reign/ marriage





                    He's a diamond in the rough= though he has qualities, he looks and is still a bit uncouth.


    2) Emeralds, sapphires and rubis...

                            An emerald
                             A sapphire
                             A ruby

                 Emerald green

          = the colour of an emerald


                    Sapphire blue

              = the colour of a sapphire


                     Ruby-red lips

               The Emerald Isle= Ireland

               A Sapphire sky

      =  a sky as blue as a sapphire


           a Ruby wedding (40 years)




     Born with a silver spoon in his mouth

         A silver bullet =  a miracle solution.               

          ... brought on a silver platter...


                  The silver = silverware                

               To be silver-tongued 

    Speech is silver but silence is gold !


                  The silver screen         

     Every cloud has a silver lining ...

     A Silver wedding anniversary = 25 years    

    * = There's always something positive behind an ordeal...  At times, finding "the silver" is not easy...   but if we try, and try again, we'll manage!  When you have found it, then, try your luck with the test!



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    1. She had such lips that they looked as if she had put some gloss on...

    2. This summer, my parents drove through , going to our country home.

    3. Of course, she was brought up in the country, with cows, hens and rabbits, but she's a , and is both sophisticated and well educated...

    4. At that time of the afternoon, looking at from the top of the hill was an unforgettable memory...

    5. Come on, change lanes quickly! You're not allowed to drive on the lane: it's for ambulances and emergency cars only.

    6. He's so that you shouldn't believe what he is saying... That's pure invention...

    7. I'd really like to go and visit again... I love this country and appreciate the special quality of the green colour there...

    8. I know that you're going through a rough patch just now, but I want to remind you that ... Keep hope!

    9. He's very hard to please. In my opinion, his sister is and should be congratulated!

    10. Tomorrow, I'll polish the : forks, spoons and knives... What a work!

    11. Do you want a good laugh? I'm going to read the best I have found in my students' latest essays. How can intelligent youngsters write such stupid things?

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Vocabulary: gems and silver
    A free English exercise to learn English.
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