Gold is a chemical element found in Group 11 on the Periodic Table. The gold element is Au, derived from Latin aurum. This could also mean shining down because of its etymological connection to aurora, which means dawn. Its atomic number is 79, and its atomic mass is 196.967, with an electronegativity of 2.54 on the Pauling scale.
This metal has always been precious for its distinct properties, such as durability, malleability, attractive and bright appearance, and availability in relatively pure form. Gold is among the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under normal conditions. The metal appears as a free element as nuggets or grains in quartz veins and rocks.
It also appears in alluvial deposits or as a solid solution with silver as a native element. Some people have claimed to get gold in seawater and the world’s oceans said to hold about 15000 tons. Gold dissolves in aqua regia to form a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion. It’s insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and other base metals.
The top way to safeguard your retirement is to open a precious metals IRA. Check out the below providers and request a free kit.
Best Overall Rating (Where I Invested)
#2 American Hartford Gold
Best Buyback Program
#3 Augusta Precious Metals
Most Educational ($50,000 Minimum)
#4 Noble Gold
Best Metals Selection
What Will I Learn?
- History of Gold
- Physical Properties of Gold
- Amount of Gold by Country
- What Is 'Fool's Gold'?
- What Is White Gold?
- Common Uses of Gold
- World Gold Council’s Key Facts About Gold
- Gold in the Forex Market
- Where Are the Biggest Resources for Gold by Country?
- What Is the Current Gold Price?
- What Commodity Exchange Is Ideal for Trading Gold?
- What Does a Quote Currency Mean in the Forex Market?
- How Does the US Dollar Affect the Value of Gold?
History of Gold
Gold coins were widely used as currency during the gold standard monetary system before the introduction of paper money. A weight of gold was allocated a currency value. The US government spent a long time with the set value of the US dollar at one gold ounce equaled $20.67.
In 1934, the US dollar was devalued to $35.00 for each troy ounce, and it became challenging to maintain this price. By 1961, European and US banks decided to manipulate the commodity market to limit further currency devaluation resulting from increased demand for gold.
The collapse of the gold pool in 1968 led to the establishment of a two-tiered system where gold was for settling international accounts. Its price was left to fluctuate on the market. The two-tier system was abandoned in 1975, and the gold price was left in the hands of the free market.
Central banks hold gold reserves today as a store of value and the biggest gold depository in the world is the US Federal Reserve Bank in New York. It holds about 3% of all gold known to exist. In 2005, the World Gold Council (WGC) estimated the global gold supply at 3,859 tons, with a demand of 3,754 tons leading to a surplus of 105 tons.
Advisory: We urge all Americans to look into holding gold in your IRA. Read about the benefits here. You’ll see how easy it is to use your retirement accounts to buy precious metals.
Most people don’t take advantage of this very direct way to protect wealth, especially during times of inflation and turbulent markets. For a limited time, our most recommended company is offering a free gold investing guide.
Physical Properties of Gold
Demand for gold has always outstripped supply. The hot-selling precious metal has physical qualities that contribute to this.
Soft and Malleable
Gold is soft and malleable, making it highly versatile. The metal has a density of 19.3 g cm-3, making it heavy. It’s possible to flatten out a gram of gold to cover a one-meter area. The gram has a thickness of about 230 atoms. This metal is soft, and any tiny item can scratch a pure piece of this metal.
High Boiling and Melting Point
The temperature at which gold melts is 1,948 degrees Fahrenheit or 1,065 degrees centigrade. Gold alloys such as copper, zinc, and silver are necessary to strengthen the metal. Pure gold has a boiling point of 5,173 degrees Fahrenheit or 2,856 degrees Centigrade. The boiling point is the temperature point where the metal transforms into a gaseous state.
Suggested Reading: Gold Melt Value Calculator.
Conducts Heat and Electricity
Gold is a wonderful conductor of heat and electricity. Its connections outlast silver and copper for not tarnishing and remain conductive for a long time. However, copper is usually preferred for conductors because gold is costly. Harsh elements such as heat, moisture, air, or other corrosive elements have minimal effect on this metal.
Reflects Heat and Light
The precious metal is very good at reflecting heat and light. Visors of helmets for astronauts have a very thin gold coating of about 0.00005 millimeters or 0.000002 inches. It’s virtually transparent for astronauts to see through. Despite being this thin, the gold film significantly reduces glare and heat from sunlight.
Karats for Pure Gold
Natural gold usually has impurities. It usually has tiny but noticeable traces of other metals such as mercury, copper, silver, and palladium. It’s these elements that give gold its distinctive color. Adding indium, manganese, or other elements gives gold various unusual colors for different applications.
Gold with copper has a red hue, while that with too much cheap silver is paler than genuine gold. The purity of this metal is measured in Karats, and 100% gold has 24 Karats. An alloy of this metal has 12 Karats meaning it has 50% gold and 50% silver or other metal.
Gold belongs to noble metals that have outstanding resistance to oxidation states even at high temperatures. Noble metals are useful in advanced technologies, ornaments, and metallurgy. Silver comes second to gold’s nobility,
Amount of Gold by Country
According to the USGS, about 244,000 metric tons of this metal have been discovered to date. Among these, 187,000 metric tons were historically produced, while 57,000 metric tons are estimated to be in underground reserves. The top gold-producing countries today by production volume include:
China – 370 metric tons
Australia – 330 metric tons
Russia – 300 metric tons
United States – 180 metric tones
Canada – 170 metric tons
All the gold that has been discovered in the world would fit in a 23 meters wide cube on all sides.
What Is 'Fool's Gold'?
Some rocks have minerals that look like gold but aren’t valuable. Fool’s gold is usually pyrite, Chalcopyrite, and weathered mica. Unlike pure gold, these minerals flake, powder, or crumble when poked using a metal point.
Real gold gouges or indents like soft lead and leaves a yellow streak when scraped using unglazed porcelain. Mica leaves a white streak, while Pyrite and chalcopyrite leave a dark green and black streak.
What Is White Gold?
Platinum is a naturally white metal. White gold was made to resemble platinum with 75% pure yellow gold with about 25% nickel and zinc if it has 18 karats. The alloys added to gold give it a white appearance and a rigid shape. Jewelry makers add white silvery metal to change the color from yellow to white.
The alloys enhance the durability of white gold. It’s a beautiful precious metal with the same look as platinum and silver. Its neutral color and durability make it a wonderful choice for gemstones.
Common Uses of Gold
Gold is among the most sought-after precious metals on earth. It’s highly prized for its natural beauty, rarity, usefulness, and versatility. The versatility and properties of this metal make it ideal for various purposes, as highlighted below.
Governments, financial institutions, central banks, and private investors use gold to store their wealth. The yellow metal maintains its value over time when stored as gold coins or bars. National reserves and individuals can invest in gold bullion. The world’s most actively traded gold bullion is South Africa’s Krugerrand, developed by the country’s gold council.
Jewelry and Decorative Ornaments
About 78% of the gold present is in jewelry for being easy to work with, hammer into thin sheets, and cast and melted into shapes. China and India are the top consumers of jewelry from this yellow metal. Besides the beauty and prestige of owning gold jewelry, buyers also eye its investment value.
Jewelry from this metal symbolizes wealth, superiority, and luxury. Adding a gold coating boosts the value of various ornamental items, such as badges and awards. A good example is gold leaf which was traditionally used for enhancing artwork.
Dentistry and Medicine
Its nonreactive and nontoxic nature makes gold very useful in the dentistry and medicine industries. People with rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, and muscle damage are injected with tiny amounts of the metal. Gold nanoparticles, including gold-198, help treat some forms of cancer. The metal was also used in Covid-19 tests.
This metal is chemically inert non-allergenic, and easy to insert, making it suitable for fillings, bridges, crowns, and orthodontic appliances. White gold with 15 Karats or higher is more applicable in the dental industry.
Gold is valuable in lubricating various mechanical parts in the aerospace industry. Organic lubricants are highly volatile, making them unsuitable in extreme temperatures and high radiation in space. It’s also applicable in circuitry for conducting electricity. Gold is also for coating internal parts of spacecraft to protect occupants from infrared radiation and heat. Thin coatings of the metal are on visors and shields to keep temperatures down.
The metal conducts electricity and resists heat, making it a dependable conductor and connector. Gold never corrodes and ideally suits use in circuitry. Most electronics today, such as smartphones, television, calculators, and global positioning system units, have tiny elements of gold. It’s also found in desktop computers and laptops to facilitate accurate data transmission at remarkable speed.
World Gold Council’s Key Facts About Gold
One troy ounce of gold is 31 grams. Finding one ounce of this metal is more challenging than finding a five-Karat diamond. The conductivity of this yellow metal is 37 degrees centigrade, making it easily reach body temperature. It explains why this precious metal is valued for making jewelry.
Perth Mint created the most extensive gold coin ever in 2012. it weighed one tonne with a diameter of 80cm. The coin broke the record of the C$1 million coin made in 2007, which was 83 cm across. One troy ounce of gold can be stretched to cover 50 miles, with the resultant wire having a width of five microns.
The biggest gold nugget was discovered at Moliagul, Australia, in 1869, weighing 2316 troy ounces. Gold’s atomic number is 79, meaning it has 79 protons in the nucleus of each atom. The US Federal Reserve holds about 6,700 tons of gold, making up 530,000 gold bars. In 1973, the Federal Reserve had about 12000 monetary tons of gold.
Gold in the Forex Market
Gold is a form of currency in the forex market, and its internationally accepted code is XAU. It denotes one troy ounce of gold according to the ISO 4217 currency standard. A pair of XAU and US dollars determines how many US dollars as the source currency are required to buy one gold ounce as the base currency.
Some of the most important stock exchanges in the world include:
New York Mercantile Exchange
Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index
Chicago Board of Trade
London Bullion Market
Where Are the Biggest Resources for Gold by Country?
Russia and Australia have the biggest gold reserves, with 11,000 metric tons and 6,800 metric tons. In 2021, the production of gold in the world reached 3,000 metric tons.
What Is the Current Gold Price?
According to MONEX Live Gold spot prices, the price was $1,711.00 per ounce by the time of writing this article.
What Commodity Exchange Is Ideal for Trading Gold?
A commodity market is where buying and selling of hard and soft commodities take place. Traders enter into futures contracts to trade in commodities. The contracts require both traders to execute a transaction at a pre-determined price on a fixed date.
Gold is part of the commodity exchange market and a safe haven to hedge against economic uncertainty. You can trade gold on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The standard contract size is 100 troy ounces, although there are other additional contract sizes of 50 and 10 troy ounces.
What Does a Quote Currency Mean in the Forex Market?
The quote currency is the second currency in direct and indirect currency pairs that determines the base currency value.
How Does the US Dollar Affect the Value of Gold?
The US dollar has an adverse effect on the value of gold. The metal is a wonderful investment haven when the USD is performing poorly. However, investors don’t prefer it when the US dollar is performing well.
Gold is a valuable and special commodity for storing value. Whether looking to invest or want to secure your retirement, this metal is a wonderful option. It hedges against inflation and deflation, making it an excellent investment to diversify your portfolio. Gold also provides financial cover during macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties.