What Is Gold?
Gold is a soft, yellow metal. Like all other metals, gold is also highly malleable and ductile. Moreover, gold is able to conduct both electricity and heat rather easily. Our chemical symbol for gold, au comes from the Latin word “aurum”.
Gold is a member of the transition metals and sits in the same periodic table column as silver and copper. The group that gold can be found in is often termed the ‘coinage metal’ group since its members are frequently used to produce money. Gold is, in fact, one of the first metals known to man with its origin being dated back to 3400 BCE by the Egyptians.
Brief History of Gold
The earliest evidence of gold comes from 3,600 BC. By about 600 BC people were making gold coins. People have always plundered gold from other nations. The Vikings plundered monasteries in Europe of gold and jewels. The Aztecs and the Incas also had gold – until they were conquered by the Spanish. The New World provided Spain with huge amounts of treasure. In the 16th century 150,000 kilograms of gold and 7.4 million kilograms of silver were shipped to Spain. In England in the mid 17th century people sometimes deposited their money with goldsmiths for safety. The goldsmith’s issued a note promising to pay the bearer a certain sum on demand. In time people began to exchange these notes instead of coins because it was easier and safer. Goldsmiths began to lend the money deposited with them in return for a high rate of interest. They also paid interest to people who deposited money in order to attract their savings.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GOLD
- White gold is made of gold and platinum (or palladium). White gold can also be made of gold, palladium, nickel and zinc. White gold is more durable and scratch-resistant than yellow gold. It is also more affordable than both yellow gold and platinum.
- Rose gold (or pink gold) is alloyed with gold, copper, and silver. Rose gold is more affordable than the other gold colors because it uses the inexpensive copper for its rose color. Due to its copper content, rose gold is more durable than yellow or white gold.
- Green gold (or Electrum) is mixed with gold, silver, and sometimes copper. Silver is what gives the gold alloy the green nuance.
- Yellow gold is made by mixing pure gold with silver, copper, and zinc. It is the purest color, the most hypoallergenic, and requires the least maintenance of all the gold colors.
Different Karats of Gold
- 24k gold. Is also called pure gold or 100 percent gold. This means that all 24 parts in the gold are all pure gold without traces of any other metals. It is known to be 99.9 percent pure and takes on a distinct bright yellow color.
- 22K gold. Jewellery implies that 22 parts of the jewellery amounts to gold and the balance 2 parts are some other metals. This kind of gold is commonly used in jewellery making. In 22K gold, of the 100 per cent, only 91.67 percent is pure gold. The other 8.33 percent comprises metals like silver, zinc, nickel and other alloys.
- 18K gold Is 75 percent gold mixed with 25 percent of other metals like copper or silver etc. Usually studded jewellery and other diamond jewellery is made in 18K gold. This kind of gold is less expensive compared to 24K and 22K. This one has a slightly dull gold colour.
Uses of Gold
- Of all the minerals mined from the Earth, none is more useful than gold. Its usefulness is derived from a diversity of special properties. Gold conducts electricity, does not tarnish, is very easy to work, can be drawn into wire, can be hammered into thin sheets, alloys with many other metals, can be melted and cast into highly detailed shapes, has a wonderful color and a brilliant luster.
- Because gold is highly valued and in very limited supply, it has long been used as a medium of exchange or money. The first known use of gold in transactions dates back over 6000 years.
- Uses of Gold in Electronics. The most important industrial use of gold is in the manufacture of electronics. Solid state electronic devices use very low voltages and currents which are easily interrupted by corrosion or tarnish at the contact points. Gold is the highly efficient conductor that can carry these tiny currents and remain free of corrosion.
24 karat = 99.5% pure gold and above
22 karat = 91.7 % gold
18 karat = 75.0 % gold
14 karat = 58.3 % gold
12 karat = 50.0 % gold
10 karat = 41.7 % gold
Gold is a memorable metal that occupies a special place in the human mind.