Gold is one of the most sought-after and appreciated pieces of matter in the world, and has been for thousands of years. It is an element, a store of value, and a decoration. It also has to be mined or discovered and serves many industrial uses. It can even be eaten! Here are 25 interesting facts about gold pertaining to each of those five uses.
Gold as an Element
- Gold never oxidizes. In other words, it never gets rusty and stays shiny forever.
- Gold is soft (malleable) compared to other metals. 1 gram of gold can be beaten with a hammer down to a 1 square meter sheet that light would shine through. For perspective, most gold bullion coins weigh 1 troy ounce at the most, which equals 31.103 grams.
- Gold is the heaviest and densest of all metals in the Periodic Chart. It’s 6-7 times heavier than other metals of the same size. One cubic foot of gold weighs about 1,187 pounds (more than half a ton).
- Gold is much more rare than diamonds.
- Based on the standard way gold is measured, a pound of gold actually weighs more than a pound of feathers, since gold is measured in troy ounces, different than the ounces in the Avoirdupois system, which is how feathers are usually measured.
Gold as a Store of Value
- The heaviest (meaning containing the most pure gold) bullion coin ever produced was an Australian Kangaroo coin weighing one kilogram, which is 32.15 troy ounces and 2.2 lbs. Most bullion coins weigh about 1 troy ounce or less.
- The last country to be on a gold standard (backing up its currency with gold) was Switzerland. They backed up 40% of their money supply with gold until 1999.
- Gold has been seen as a store of value and used as currency for almost as long as monetary systems have existed in the world. This has remained true despite platinum at times being more expensive.
- The most expensive gold coin ever sold was a 1933 Double Eagle, which sold for $7.59 million in 2002.
- In 2011, just 4% of the world’s population controlled 12.6% of the world’s gold. The country holding the most gold as of 2014 was the United States, holding 8,133.5 tons.
- About 88,000 tons of gold have been mined from Earth since its discovery.
- In 2013, China produced the most gold in the world, producing about 463 tons. Second and third were Australia and the United States.
- The largest gold nugget ever found is thought to be the “Welcome Stranger”, found in Australia in 1869 and weighing 2,520 troy ounces (173 lbs.).
- The world’s deepest gold mine is Mponeng in South Africa and it is 2.5 miles deep – the length of 10 Empire State Buildings.
- Gold was one of the first metals discovered by man, along with copper, in circa 5000 BC.
Gold’s Many Uses
- Gold can be turned into thread and used in embroidering.
- Gold is a good reflector of electromagnetic radiation such as infrared, visible light, and radio waves. Therefore, it is used as protective coating on satellites as well as for thermal protection in astronaut suits and helmets.
- Gold, being a great conductor of electricity, is used in the connectors of more expensive electronic cables such as audio, video, and USB cables.
- Gold chloride solution along with gold oxide are used to make red-colored glass.
- Gold toners are used in photography to change certain colors or increase their stability.
Gold as Decoration
- India is now the second largest consumer of gold in the world. Half of the gold they buy is used for their 10,000 traditional Indian weddings held every year.
- China accounts for 30% of global jewelry demand, much of which is gold jewelry.
- Edible gold is sometimes added to expensive desserts in high-end restaurants. The most expensive dessert ever, the Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae, was sold in New York in 2007. It cost $25,000 and was decorated with 5 grams of edible 23-karat gold.
- Illuminated manuscripts, manuscripts with heavily adorned text, were decorated with gold.
- Despite the urban legend, the actress playing the “Bond girl” in the James Bond film Goldfinger did not die from asphyxiation after being covered in gold paint. As long as you can still breathe through your mouth or nose, you will not die from asphyxiation when covered in paint.
What’s a final interesting fact about gold? In 1997, the IRS made it legal to hold certain types of precious metal bullion such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Gold, as is evident in some of these facts, is a long-term store of value not as susceptible as paper assets to inflation, devaluation, market crashes, government and corporate decisions, or geopolitical conflict. American Bullion specializes in adding gold to your individual retirement account through opening a Gold IRA. Call us today or request your Free Gold Guide online.