Gold has been the subject of focus and fascination in human society since before humanity was able to form complex civilisations. It is one of the oldest and most pervasive representations of wealth and abundance in human history, especially given its use in money and trade.
But why is gold so special? What is it about the material that makes it so important? How is it used outside of money and jewellery? In this article, we’re going to talk about the curious qualities of one of humankind’s most precious commodities.
1. It’s so malleable that it can be thin enough to be transparent.
Malleability is the quality of a metal that measures the degree to which it can be shaped and changed in shape without breaking or heating. These qualities are what has made gold suitable for use in jewellery. With enough time and patience, a single ounce of gold can be hammered into a sheet over 5 metres in length.
With even more time, it can be hammered down to a sheet so thin that it’s practically transparent!
2. Most of the gold on earth is alien.
While some gold did form in the earth’s crust during over 4 billion years ago, the majority of the earth’s gold actually came from asteroids striking its surface over the entirety of the earth’s lifespan.
3. Gold is the best metal to use in electronics.
Gold is highly non-reactive to air, resistant to corrosion, and has high electrical conductivity. Its malleability also makes it easy to shape into electrical components, as parts of microchips or wires. However, only about 15% of the world’s gold is used in electronics.
4. Gold is used to protect astronauts in space missions.
You might have seen a golden sheen on the visors of many astronauts’ suits. That is gold. Gold has been shown to efficiently reflect radiation and heat, and as such, gold coatings are often used as a protective layer on many spacecraft, satellites, and space suits.
Tony Stark even goes to state that his moniker, Iron Man, is inaccurate because the alloys used in his Mark III suit used in the first Iron Man film contain gold and titanium.
5. Gold is edible.
Gold, while offering no nutritional value, has seen popular (and controversial) use in certain dishes. Gold flakes are sprinkled on certain dishes to give them a level of elegance and splendour. Since the body cannot digest gold, though, it is simply expelled as waste.
While generally edible, there are a rare few who develop allergic reactions to gold.
6. There’s gold in seawater.
There is a concentration of gold in all of earth’s oceans, but it exists in such a minor concentration that it is incredibly difficult to detect. A study found that there is about 1 gram of gold for every 100 million metric tons of ocean water in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Gold and all its interesting qualities have given it a curious relationship with human society. Its role in economics has made its role unassailable, but there is so much more to this noble metal than most people know. We don’t know what the future might bring, as technology develops, we might see the value of gold in other ways outside the aesthetics.
For more information and news on gold, and gold trading, send us at the London Gold Centre a message. We’re here to help you trade gold!