All About Gold
GOLD has been highly prized for fine jewelry and other ornamentation over the centuries. The discovery of gold, with its unique qualities and rarity, have produced sporadic epidemics of "gold fever" throughout the world. Still highly treasured for its qualities and beauty, new uses for gold are making it all the more valuable to mankind.
History of Gold ~ In the beginning, there was gold. Gold was first mentioned in the creation account:
"...the one encircling the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. And the gold of that land is good." ~ Genesis 2:11,12
Gold is not only the first metal mentioned in the Bible, but it's also the most frequently mentioned.
Other historical evidence of the influence of gold:
- Ancient historical and religious records have been found in the Middle East and in South America inscribed on thin gold sheets.
- In 1873, while searching for the ancient Greek city of Troy, 8,700 golden objects were unearthed, including a crown constructed of 16,000 gold pieces.
- The tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamen contained 3,000-year-old golden relics, including a gold throne, gold shrines, a gold face mask, and a coffin of solid gold.
- Early Spanish ships that sunk off the Florida coast of the United States have recently yielded gold coins, or doubloons, worth millions of dollars.
- Off the coast of Bermuda, a crucifix made of gold with seven emeralds was retrieved from the ocean, valued at between $18,000 and $50,000.
Gold Properties ~ One of gold's foremost qualities is its nontarnishing durability. Though submerged in salt water for hundreds of years, the ancient Spanish coins mentioned above looked brand new when they were discovered. Gold also has a dense atomic structure and is extremely heavy. It is malleable, and can be pounded into gold leaf so thin as to let light shine through and that objects can be seen through it, reportedly as thin as 4/1,000,000 (four millionths) of an inch. It is also ductile. Just one ounce of gold can be drawn out into a fine wire more than 37 miles long! Gold's tensile strength is 18,000 psi in the cast conditon and 32,000 psi after 60 percent reduction. Annealed gold has 45 percent elongation and a Brinell hardness value of 25. The melting point for gold is 1945.4 degrees Farenheit and it can be worked at any temperature below this point. Unless one is licensed, it is illegal to deal in gold.
- Dense atomic structure
- Extremely heavy
Fool's Gold ~ Many a gold-seeker has unearthed a nugget of the right color and luster only to find it to be pyrite (iron pyrite), or fool's gold. It is similar in appearance to real gold, but it consists mainly of sulfur. Use this simple test to tell the difference. Scratch the nugget in question on the back of a white ceramic tile:
"Gold is tried with a touchstone, men by gold."
Gold at Your Feet ~ There is, most likely, gold under your feet right now. It is found in most soils and rocks around the world and in all seawater. But the amount is so minute that the cost of extracting it would be much greater than its value. Even in modern mines, it takes five tons of ore to yield just one ounce of gold.
5 tons of ore = 1 ounce of gold
Top Gold Producers ~ The primary gold producer in the world is South Africa, followed by Russia, Canada and the United States. There are few "gold mines" per se, but gold is often retrieved as a by-product in the mining of other minerals, such as zinc and copper.
- South Africa
- United States
Gold Mining ~ When gold has been located, either near the surface or deeper undergroundsome mines in South Africa are three miles deepthree basic operations are undertaken.
- First, the ore is extracted by conventional methods.
- Next, the gold is separated by chemical and/or mechanical processes.
- Then the gold is refined, or purified, and cast into bars.
These are similar to the steps used during the Gold Rush era in California, but today's mining calls for the expertise of geologists and chemists in strategic maneuvers. For more information on modern-day gold mining, click here.
Gold Standard ~ At the turn of the century, there was insufficient gold and silver for coinage, so countries began issuing paper money. Gold coins were no longer minted, and cheaper metal coins replaced them. Many countries now produce aluminum coins.
Since gold ceased to back the paper money, other national assets, such as oil or real estate, replaced it. An equitable international exchange was difficult because each country had it's own monetary value. So in 1944 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was formed to establish and maintain a stable rate of exchange between countries. More than a hundred countries agreed that their nation's currency would be based on the United States dollar, which was as good as gold.' Foreigners holding US dollars could redeem them for gold at $35 per fine troy ounce.
But eventually, the US came to owe more to foreign countries than it could pay for with gold. So in 1971 it ceased paying out gold to such overseas customers. When US currency went off the gold standard, the price of gold soared astronomically. From 1934 to 1971 gold was $35 an ounce; by early 1980 it had jumped to $875 an ounce. Today, it stays around $400 an ounce.
Uses for Gold ~ It is estimated that about 60 percent of all gold sits protected by banks and governments. The other 40 percent is used in the following ways:
- To make stunning jewelry arrangements
- To decorate fine china
- To make gold leaf to enhance signs and book covers
- To protect vital parts of spacecraft, helmet visors and moon walk "umbilical cords" from intense heat and radiation from the sun. Gold is able to reflect up to 98 percent of the sun's rays. Jets also have gold-covered sections to safeguard vital parts, and people, from heat exposure.
- In producing miniature electronic circuits, computers and in underwater communication systems. Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity.
- In dentistry to repair and replace teeth. Gold is germ-free and stable. An estimated 75 tons of gold is used each year to fill the gaps in smiles.
- To protect vital body parts during radiation treatment; administered internally. Gold has been used in arthritis treatment, cancer therapy, and surgical repair work.
24K Gold (24 Karat Gold) ~ By definition, a karat (also carat) is:
- One 24th part of pure gold.
- A unit of weight equal to about 0.2 grams used to weigh precious gems.
Gold is commonly alloyed with copper or silver to increase its hardness and strength and to decrease cost when used in jewelry settings. Gold is completely mixable with these two metals. The gold color is determined by the alloying metals used and the amount present. Gold jewelry carries three or four tiny marks stamped into it. Some of these marks are trade and handlers' marks. There is also a hallmark, which signifies the amount of pure gold contained in relation to a base metal, such as copper or silver. Gold alloy is measured in karats. Pure gold of 24 karats is rarely used in jewelry because it is too soft to work. A more common hallmark is 22 karat, which is 22 parts gold to two parts base metal by weight.
22 parts pure gold + 2 parts base metal = 22 karat gold
Marks on Gold Jewelry:
- Trade Mark
- Handler's Mark
For information on California law regarding gold marks, click here.
The color of gold is determined by which chemicals it is found with or which metals it is alloyed with. Black gold from Brazil gets its color from the chemicals found with it. Alloying with malachite gives gold a black or near-black purple color. Rose, pink, or suntan golds are age hardenable alloys containing gold, copper, nickel, and zinc. Green, yellow, and red golds are alloys of gold, copper, and silver. White gold is gold alloyed with nickel, copper, and zinc, and is used primarily as a substitute for platinum in jewelry. The pale gold found in the Comstock Lode was a natural alloy of silver and gold called electrum.
Counterfeit Gold? ~ "Made in imitation of the genuine with intent to defraud." At times, counterfeit gold (alloyed with less precious metal) was passed of as the real thing as payment,
From the unscrupulous to the unwary.
Gold Fever ~ It is not without good reason that the word "fever" is used in the quest for gold. It has proven to be all too easy to throw caution to the wind at the thought of gold, to sacrifice standards that have been an integral part of your life, to spend more money and time than you have, and to bring yourself to varying degrees of ruin financially, emotionally and domestically. As with any other endeavor,
Balance is the key
Laboratory Gold ~ Man has created gold from bismuth at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California ~ a feat only dreamed of by alchemists of the Middle Ages. But it wasn't alchemy that did it. It took the BEVALAC atomic particle accelerator. The machine hurled ions of carbon and neon at the bismuth. This "knocked away fragments of the bismuth atoms, leaving the lighter element gold," reports Science 80 magazine. Will this prompt a modern-day gold rush? Probably not. It took $10,000 (US) in accelerator operating expenses to make about a million atoms of gold. "In all our work," said the scientist operating the machine, "we produced gold that was worth less than one billionth of a cent."
$10,000.00 = 1/1,000,000,000th (one billionth) of a cent in gold
Current Gold Price ~
U.S. Price of Gold
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