24 Interesting Facts about Gold
Wednesday, October 4th 2023
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.
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.
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 that is 60 miles long
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
An idea of its rarity
Gold is precious and that is down to its rarity. How rare? 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. It is found on all seven continents including 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 largest consumer of 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.
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. A very thin coating 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 precious but it was almost priceless for some early speculators during the California gold rush. They often ended up paying more for water than they received for the same amount of gold.
The heaviest gold coin
The heaviest gold coin that you can buy today is Austria’s Philharmonic. It weighs 1000 ounces and has a massive diameter of 15 inches
You can eat it
Normally, people wouldn’t buy gold with the intention to eat 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 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 industry that extracts gold from e-waste.
All that glitters in the Olympics is not gold
A gold medal at the Olympics is considered to be a thing of national pride and athletes dedicate their whole lives in pursuit of one. Ironically, the gold medal itself has only 1.34% of actual gold in it
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.
The oceans are a treasure trove
While the ocean might not seem like the ideal source for gold, it, in fact, houses 20 million tons of it mixed with all the water and sand. Mining it 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 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 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.
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 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.