Crossword Genius

Old friend is a gem (4)

Ross

I believe the answer is:

opal

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Here is my best explanation:

'a gem' is the definition.
(opal is a kind of gem)

'old friend' is the wordplay.
'old' becomes 'o' (common abbreviation eg in OE for Old English).
'friend' becomes 'pal' (pal is a kind of friend).
'o'+'pal'='OPAL'

'is' is the link.

Ross

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This clue was last seen in The Guardian

(Other definitions for opal that I've seen before include "Quartz-like gemstone", "little jewel", "item in Hatton Garden?", "One in a ring perhaps", "Rock", "Milky stuff that's hard", "Translucent gem", "Milky white gemstone", "what may be set in 29 [DIAL]" and "Opaque gem".)

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