Amazing Facts

Amazing facts about Gold

A few more reasons why this alluring metal is worth its weight and then

1: Historically, Its Worth Has Been Stable

Over the past decade, the value of gold has risen sharply, from about
$279 per ounce in 2000 to around $1,300 per ounce in mid-2010. Yet for
most of the previous two centuries, the per-ounce price was stable for
extremely long stretches. From 1833 to 1918, for example, the price of
gold never rose more than six cents from its initial price of $18.93
per ounce, and between 1933 and 1967 its price rose just 26 cents per
ounce, despite dozens of inflationary crises and economic downturns.

2: It Can Be Stretched for Miles

Gold is so soft and malleable that an ounce of it could be stretched
into a wire 50 miles in length, or be flattened into a sheet 100 square
feet in area.

3: It's Soft But Heavy

Despite its softness, gold is so incredibly dense and heavy that a
cubic foot of it weighs half a ton. In 1875, English economist Stanley
Jevons calculated that if the 20 million British Pounds in transactions
that cleared the London Bankers Clearing House each day were paid in
gold coins, it would require 80 strong horses to haul them away.

4: It's Sifted From Soil

Much of today's gold supply comes not from digging deep mines in search
of ore-bearing veins, but from sifting through vast quantities of soil
for loose grains eroded from mountains and carried by flowing water. In
order to extract South Africa's annual output of 500 tons of gold, for
example, about 70 million tons of earth must be milled — an amount
equivalent to the Egyptian pyramid of Cheops in volume.


5: It's Born in Supernovas

While no one knows for certain how most heavier elements like gold are
made, what is known about the stellar origin of all elements is that a
star's nuclear furnace can only produce nuclei up to the size of iron
(atomic number 26 - gold is 79). The best guess for the source of all
heavier elements is the only force in the universe with the enormous
energy needed to fuse large nuclei: a supernova explosion. So the next
time you hold gold in your hand, try to imagine mind-blowing
circumstances of its birth, a genesis that must reach back to before
the origin of our Solar System.

6: Most of it Becomes Jewelry

According to the World Gold Council, about 70 percent of the world's
gold output is used for making jewelry. Only about 13 percent is used
to make coins, put in nations' central banks or purchased by investors.
The rest goes to a variety of uses, such as industrial applications and
dentistry. India is the biggest consumer of gold, snapping up about a
quarter of the world's supply. According to an article in Diamond World
magazine, the South Asian nation imports about 800 tons of gold
annually, and uses about 600 tons of it to make jewelry.

7: Its Karat Was First a Fruit

The karat, the measurement of the purity of gold, originally was a
measure of weight. The unit was named after the fruit of the leguminous
carob tree, whose pods each weigh about one-fifth of a gram.

8: It's Used in Electronics

Gold is prized not just by jewelers and bankers but by electronics
manufacturers because its high degree of thermal and electrical
conductivity makes it an excellent material for efficient wires and
contacts. It's also durable and highly resistant to corrosion, and so
sufficiently malleable that gold alloys can be drawn into extremely
thin diameters without breaking.

9: It Contributed to the Decline of a Nation

The vast amounts of gold and silver seized by Spanish conquistadors and
shipped back across the Atlantic in galleons increased the European
supply of precious metals five-fold between 1492 and 1600. But all that
gold actually weakened the Spanish empire, rather than enriching it,
because the Spanish used it to buy consumer imports rather than
investing the wealth in productive enterprises that would generate
income. That drove up prices, which made the gold worth less, and Spain
wound up amassing huge foreign debts that ultimately led to its decline
as an international power.

10: It Comes in Many Colors

In relatively pure form, gold has a characteristic sun-yellow color.
But when combined in alloys with other metals — silver, copper, nickel,
platinum, palladium, tellurium and iron, among others — it can take on
hues ranging from silver-white to green to orange-red.

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