3 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GOLD
THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
This week of interesting facts is an ode to one of the most sought after precious metals,
Shiny bright, show-stopping and a sign of wealth and luxury; gold is a chemical element that is bright yellow in colour (or gold in colour…). Dense, soft and malleable, as well as ductile, Gold’s properties remain completely unblemished when exposed to water and air making it ideal for use in jewellery.
Infact, Gold’s value and high demand stems way back, long before the beginning of recorded history and its main uses have altered minutely but mainly in the production of coinage and, of course, jewellery.
Gold occurs in ‘free elemental’ form as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins- sheet like bodies of crystallized minerals within a rock – and also in alluvia deposits – of loose, unconsolidated soil or sediments.
Gold posesses qualities that most metals lack. It is extremely non-reactive and has a distinct colour. While its value is rooted in its medium rarity, easy handling, easy smelting and non-corrosiveness.
One interesting fact about gold is that…
of all the gold mined throughout history the total is only 190,000 tonnes. And as gold is virtually unable to be destoyed every single bit still exists in the world.
Since the 1980s South Africa has been the source for a large proportion of the world’s gold supply, producing about 50% of earth’s gold.
Gold is one of the heaviest metals. Iis 19.3 times heavier than water!
Another fact about gold…
The word gold derives from the old English word ‘Gelo’, meaning yellow. It is the most popular metal used for jewellery and specifically, wedding bands and has been since the beginning of recorded history.
One ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 50 miles long, that’s the length of a staggering 670 football pitches.
GOLD AND IT’S CARATS
For those of you who don’t know, a carat in gold terms refers to its purity (and no, it will not help you see in the dark if you eat it). Pure gold is equal to 24 carat – the higher the carat, the purer the gold.
Lets start with the less pure Gold that is used commercially. 9 carat (or ‘K’).
9 carat gold is around 37.5% pure gold, which means that the majority 63.5% will be alloyed with another metal.
An interesting fact about this type of gold is that it is surprisingly harder wearing than gold of any other carat. Because pure gold is actually extremely soft, the lower the carat, the tougher the piece of jewellery and 9 carat gold tends to be cheaper, tougher, and might actually tarnish slightly over time.
The alloy makes 9 carat gold much more suitable for every day use, making it less susceptible to scratching and denting and adds overall to its colour and appearance.
14 carat gold takes us up a class and is about 60% pure. Most commonly used in Russia (and incidentally, Russian wedding rings), its usual gold-copper alloy is nearly identical to certain bronze alloys.
Blue gold tends to be made from gold of this particular carat by alloying with aluminium, although this is rarely done except for use in specialized pieces as it tends to be quite brittle.
The most popular purity to opt for, 18 carat gold is typically 75% pure gold and jewellery of the utmost quality tends to be 18 carats.
It is sometimes alloyed with silver alone, giving it a greenish-yellow colouring and blends such as this are referred to as green gold (which might sound a little unappealing). Gold of this calibre is also used in white gold alloys, blended with palladium or platinum and 18 carat gold containing even nickel, zinc and copper is used to give it that silvery appearance. However, micro-interesting fact- nickel is toxic and its use is controlled by European legislation.
Our last interesting fact about gold.
18ct gold is the minium standard for Italy. Its demand is high, although it is pricey.
Moving on up, 22 carat gold is just nearly gold in it’s purest form. At roughly 91.6%, this calibre of gold is very soft and the brightest yellow. It is only used in specialised jewellery as it it precious and is extremely expensive and is unsuitable for everyday wearing.
Well we might have shared more than 8 facts about gold. But for such a beautiful material it’s worth knowing all you can.
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