Gold is one of the most sought materials on earth, from the ancient Incas to the famous US gold rush of the 19th century, humans have traded and fought over gold for tens of thousands of years. Today gold is found in everything from decorative jewellery to smart phones and medicine, so what unique features makes this often illusive metal such an interesting and highly prized asset?
Gold Arrived on Earth from Space
Geologists believe almost all of the gold on earth arrived during meteorite storms over two billion years ago. These meteorites are thought to have formed following the collision of exotic stars several billion years ago. Want to learn more about the origins of gold on earth? The BBC recently published a fascinating in-depth article Does gold come from outer space?
Just how pure is 24 carat gold?
Gold purity is quoted by a millesimal finesses value, quantifying a parts per thousand value for the metal. 24 carat gold as it’s known in the jewellery trade is quoted as 999,9 'four nines' or 99.99%, ensuing a near pure metal consistency. Other common purities, such as 22 carat (91.6%), 18 carat (75%) and 9 carat (37.5%) contain a complimentary metal, generally copper or silver to provide a harder, more durable consistence to the product.
One Cubic foot of Gold weighs half a tonne!
Gold is one of the most dense metals found on earth, a cubic meter of gold weights 19,300 kilograms, far heavier than lead and not far off the most dense metal, Osmium.
How much gold have humans found on earth?
It is estimated that to date, humans have mined almost 175,000 tonnes of gold! Gold is the most malleable of all metals! One gram of gold can be formed into a square one meter square and a troy ounce of gold can be formed into a thread reaching almost five miles in length! Making it the ideal material for intricate jewellery and watches!
Where is the largest physical gold reserve?
This will almost certainly change in the coming years as Russia and many Asian countries continue to accelerate their rate of physical gold buying. Currently, the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York is considered the largest single gold storage facility (not Fort Knox!) holding approximately 6,800 tonnes of gold, a total of approximately 540,000 gold bars – over 25% of the world’s gold! Although, it’s important to note that most of this gold is actually owned by foreign governments.
Can you eat Gold?
Yes, gold is edible in small quantities. In many Asian communities, gold is added to food gifts such as fruit and sweets. There are many variations of liquors throughout the world that include gold leaf. Gold can also be found as an ingredient of some medicines.
At what temperature does gold melt?
Pure gold has a melting pint of 1064.43°.
Why is gold often referred to as AU?
AU is the chemical symbol given to gold in the periodic table, derived from the Latin word aurum meaning 'shining dawn' and named from Aurora, the goddess of the dawn in Roman culture.
Is the US Dollar fixed to the gold price?
Following the Second World War, the United States fixed the price of gold at one dollar to 1/35th of a troy ounce under the Bretton Woods System. The US finally abandoned the scheme in 1971 when there was no longer sufficient physical gold to cover the value of paper money in circulation.