24 Interesting Facts about Gold

Thursday, June 20th 2024

It is actually otherworldly

Even though we mine all our gold from the earth itself, 98% of the gold deposits on earth can actually be sourced back to meteorites that peppered the earth after its formation. No wonder it is so valuable.

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Gold jewelry or coins not only display our love of precious metals, but they can also act as tangible reminders of cosmic history. While it might seem farfetched at first, our possession of this metal actually comes from extraterrestrial sources: meteorites. Let’s delve further into the information that links what makes jewelry to outer space!

Brief Overview of Elemental Formation

Understanding gold’s source requires understanding where its elements originated. Hydrogen and helium were formed shortly after the Big Bang while atoms of carbon and atoms of oxygen in the air formed within star cores – but where do heavy elements such as a gold atom (Gold = atomic number 79 on the periodic table, 196.967 atomic mass units) come from?

Supernovae and Neutron Star Mergers

Stars like our sun may produce many elements through nuclear fusion yet are usually insufficient at producing large amounts of gold. Producing heavier elements requires even higher-energy events for creation to take place – unlike stars which serve only to generate small quantities at a time and primarily deal with the fusion of protons.

An explosion from a supernova star could provide the primary means of gold production. When such stars run out of nuclear fuel and collapse under gravity, their nuclear core explodes releasing elements – including gold – into space.

An increasingly recent and intriguing candidate for gold production is the collision of neutron stars. Neutron stars are superdense remnants of dead stars that form gravitational waves when colliding, producing heavy elements in abundance because of this violent event. Simulations indicate these cataclysmic events could produce substantial quantities of metals, gold silver and others – with observations suggesting significant yields being found here too!

Meteorites as Cosmic Carriers of Gold

As soon as gold (and other elements) are expelled into space via these violent events, they become part of interstellar dust and gases – slowly being pulled together over billions of years by gravitational forces into stars and planets. At an earlier point during Solar System formation was an intense meteoritic bombardment known as Late Heavy Bombardment that is thought to have brought numerous meteorites containing gold compounds to Earth as it began its journey in space.

These meteorites spread the gold across our planet’s surface, leaving behind veins of gold for us to mine today and metals nuggets we find as remnants from past meteoritic impacts.

Proof in Isotopes

A key piece of evidence supporting this theory comes in the form of isotopic analysis of gold. Earth’s mantle and meteorite materials possess different isotopic signatures; moreover, Earth-mantled gold displays different ratios than extraterrestrial gold analyzed from certain material deposits than similar numbers found elsewhere; further supporting an extraterrestrial origin hypothesis.


Gold’s allure goes far beyond its shimmering shine: it represents our connection with space itself. Wearing or gazing upon golden jewelry or artifacts brings home just how far this precious substance has traveled across time and space: from celestial explosions creating metals, meteorite cores, meteor showers from an asteroid – finally reaching us here on earth, everywhere from America to Australia.

Gold serves as an ever-present reminder that we and everything around us are intimately interwoven into the grand narrative of spacetime; after all, we are all made of stardust.

Pure gold is like putty

That is right. The gold that we normally use is actually an alloy of gold. Pure gold (karat) is actually quite soft and can be molded with bare hands at room temperature. Just don’t expect gold chewing gums anytime soon though.

It is used as a painkiller

As strange as it might sound, sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis are given injections of liquid gold to relieve their pain when regular pain medications aren’t able to offer relief. This is one of the most unexpected facts about gold.

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Gold, known for its radiant shine and historical relevance, stands as more than just an aesthetic icon and economic commodity. Gold’s aesthetic value and economic worth aside, scientists and medical professionals alike have long been intrigued with its therapeutic applications; one area of research being its potential use in pain management. We will delve deeper here into how gold compounds may play a part in creating novel painkillers as well as any possible benefits or drawbacks that come with such endeavors.

Gold Has Long Been Utilized in Medicine

Gold, often found in river beds and alluvial deposits, has been used in medicine for ages as it possesses supposed healing properties, dating back centuries in different cultures. Traditional Indian (Ayurveda) and ancient Chinese medicines both utilized gold preparations for various conditions; more recently gold salts such as aurothiomalate and auranofin have even been prescribed to help manage symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis which often involves considerable inflammation and associated discomfort.

Mechanism of Action

While the exact mechanisms by which gold compounds exert anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relieving) properties remain incompletely understood, several hypotheses have been proposed:

Gold Compounds Could Reduce Cytokines: Gold compounds, including certain gold acids ,could potentially inhibit certain proteins known as cytokines that contribute to inflammation. By stopping their action, this might decrease inflammation and, by extension, pain levels.

Modulation of Immune Response: Gold compounds have the power to modulate immune system reactions in certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis where immune system attacks attack the tissues of body, leading to damage.

Cellular Effects of Gold Salts: Gold salts delivery may affect certain cellular processes and thus hinder their progression, thus possibly slowing inflammatory diseases from progressing further.

Potential Advantages of Gold-Based Painkillers

Targeted Actions: As research advances on gold’s unique interactions with cells and molecular targets, therapies with reduced side effects could become available.

Synergistic Effects: Integrating gold compounds with existing painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs could enhance their efficacy, potentially requiring lower dosages while decreasing side effects.

Challenges and Considerations

Side Effects: Like all medications, gold compounds may produce side effects in some individuals taking treatments for rheumatoid arthritis; those could be experiencing skin rashes, an allergen reaction, kidney issues or blood-related complications as a result of treatment.

Cost: Gold is an expensive precious metal; however, its use in medical applications is negligible; nevertheless, its development, testing and production could significantly drive-up expenses.

Resistance: Similar to bacteria’s potential resistance to antibiotics, gold-based treatments could over time develop resistance from your own body – however this risk should remain relatively minor.

Though gold-infused painkillers may still be at an early stage of development, their potential therapeutic advantages cannot be disregarded. Through further study and investigation, medical science might find ways to harness gold’s unique therapeutic properties for human body pain relief purposes – providing hope to patients searching for more targeted pain treatments that work. Half the battle in developing effective treatments is understanding the potential and limitations of the components involved.

Overall, gold’s transformation from an object of beauty and wealth into a potential agent of healing demonstrates humanity’s never-ending pursuit of knowledge and improvement. Through rigorous research and clinical trials, perhaps our collective pursuit of comfort may soon come full circle – becoming gold is truly on an amazing journey towards pain management!

fun facts about gold

It can be pulled to incredible lengths

Ductility is the property that measures the ease with which a metal can be drawn out into wires. Gold is the most ductile metal on the planet as a single ounce of gold can be stretched into a wire thread that is 60 miles long. Gold can also be dissolved in aqua regia, a particular solution made from mixing hydrochloric acid with nitric acid.

Translucent gold

Gold is also very malleable which means that it can be beaten into really thin sheets. In fact, it can be made into sheets that are so thin that they can become translucent. This type of gold is often called “
gold leaf”.

An idea of its rarity

Gold is precious and that is down to its rarity. How rare is it? Well, we make more steel in 1 hour than all the gold we have mined until today. No wonder there is such a price gap between the two.

It is found everywhere though

Gold is often thought of as rare and it is. It is just that it is more spread out than most people would expect it to. Like several other elements, the chemical element gold is found on all seven continents including in some areas of Antarctica.

How much gold?

Mankind has been obsessed with gold for a long time and it is estimated that we have mined closed to 161,000 tons so far. While that is a big number, it pales in comparison to the quantity of a lot of other things that mankind has mined in the same amount of time.

Gold is noble

Gold is a noble metal which means that it does not rust or get oxidized. This is a very rare quality among metals and that is why it is used in space probes and other high-tech equipment.

The largest producers and consumers

South Africa has a particularly rich deposit of gold and they are currently the largest producers of it and supplies nearly two/thirds of the total gold demand in the world. India, on the other hand, is the second largest consumer of pure gold in the world. In fact, housewives in India hold 11% of the entire gold in the world which is more than the reserves of the IMF. The largest gold consumer in the world is Asian and uses lots of gold for manufacturing, jewelry, decorative items, electronics etc. You guessed it, the country of China.

It protects astronauts

Space is a dangerous place and astronauts need every bit of protection they can get. This is a problem when it comes to the visor as they need to allow them to see but protect them from all the glare and radiation. Gold is the solution for astronomers. A very thin sheet of gold is applied on the visors to make them adept at blocking these harmful glares.

Some early speculators found water costlier than gold

Water is a precious asset but it was almost priceless for some early speculators during the California gold rush. They often ended up paying more for water in those states than they received for the same amount of gold.

The heaviest gold coin

The heaviest of all gold coins that you can buy today is Austrian mint’s Philharmonic. Its mass weighs 1000 ounces and has a massive diameter of 15 inches. Gold coins come in various sizes but the Philharmonic is the undefeated heavy-weight champion!

You can eat it

Normally, people wouldn’t buy gold with the intention of eating it but it can be safely consumed. In fact, there exists a world of exotic pastries that offers delicacies covered with gold foil and those who wish to find out what gold tastes like can do so at exorbitant prices

We are gold-blooded

Some people like to eat gold but what about the rest of us? An average adult human being has about 0.000007 ounces of gold particles in their blood.

Mining gold from electronics

More gold can be mined from a single ton of discarded computer parts than can be mined from 17 tons of gold-ore. This has given rise to an entire branch of the gold industry that extracts gold from e-waste, as suggested by the gold council.

All that glitters in the Olympics is not gold

A gold medal at the Olympics (like in London 2012) is considered to be a symbol of national pride and athletes dedicate their whole lives in pursuit of one. Ironically, the gold medal itself, made up of alloys (mostly silver), has only 1.34% of actual gold in it. Bronze medals contain 95% of copper.

Olympic pools for gold storage

What the Olympics can do though is store all the gold we have ever mined till date. Three Olympic sized pools are all that is needed to accomplish this. For safety reasons, gold is instead stored in vault buildings like the infamous Fort Knox.

The oceans are a treasure trove

While oceans might not seem like the ideal source for gold, it, in fact, they house 20 million tons of it mixed with all the water and sand. Mining gold formed this way is a different matter altogether and probably not worth the cost with the technology we have right now.

Earth has a golden heart

All the gold we mine comes from the earth’s crust but its core has much more. How much you ask? enough to coat the entire earth to a thickness of 1.5 feet. The only problem with mining the center of the world gold is that we do not know how to even get close to the earth’s core.

Worth their weight in gold

Dubai launched a program in 2014 to combat obesity. Through this program, they offered overweight kids 2 grams of gold (0.0643015 troy ounces) for every 2.2 pounds of weight they lost. Now that is how you motivate someone to get fitter.

Afraid of gold

Can you be afraid of gold? There is a diagnosable condition called Aurophobia which is the fear of anything golden. Definitely the most scary of all facts about gold!

Gold from pee

Alchemy is a pseudoscience that professes that gold can be obtained from things that are a lot cheaper. One such alchemist collected 1,500 gallons of urine believing he could distill gold from it. All he could get was some phosphorus for his fool gold troubles.

Gold from a vending machine

Abu Dhabi is a haven for the ultra-rich and one of the hotels there took it to the next level by installing a vending machine that sold gold. The machine itself, quite unsurprisingly, was covered in gold.

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