Gold is a wonder element, and of course, it is a metal. But of all metals, gold is one metal that is not truly indigenous to earth. Isn’t that pretty surprising?
Well, today we have an interesting list of 60 gold facts that will surprise you! So, let us together explore some interesting facts about this interesting metal.
Before jumping to the facts, let us know some details about gold. Let us begin…
|Name of element||Aurum|
|Configuration of Electrons||1s22s22p63s23p63d104s24p64d105s25p65d104f146s1 or [Xe] 5d104f146s1|
|Melting Point||1337.33 K or 1947.52 °F or 1064.18 °C|
|Boiling Point||3243 K or 5378°F or 2970 °C|
|State in Room Temperature (20°C)||Solid|
|Vaporization Heat||342 kj/mol|
|Element Family||Noble element|
|Element Structure||Face centered-cubic (fcc)|
|Atomic Radius||144 pm or picometers|
Gold Facts: Known Isotopes
|Name of Isotope||Type and Abundance||Half-Life|
|169Au||Radioactive||No data available|
|175Au||Radioactive||No data available|
|176Au||Radioactive||No data available|
|197Au||Stable and 100% abundance||Stable so no half-life|
|206Au||Radioactive||> 300 ns|
|207Au||Radioactive||> 300 ns|
|208Au||Radioactive||> 300 ns|
|209Au||Radioactive||> 300 ns|
|210Au||Radioactive||> 300 ns|
Gold Facts: 1-5
1. Gold is considered to be produced in the collision of neutron stars and in supernova nucleosynthesis. It is thought to be present in the form of dust when the solar system was formed. There are two types of theories that talk about the origin of gold on Earth.
2.The first theory type is asteroid origin theories. According to them whatever gold deposits we find on Earth came from outer space. Meteorites and asteroids that bombarded Earth some 200 million years ago brought gold to Earth.
3.Scientists believe that there is way more gold and other precious metals present in outer space than on Earth, and that asteroids are probably great sources of metals like gold, platinum and nickel. In fact, a company named Planetary Resources is planning on mining asteroids, especially the near-earth asteroid named Amun 3554. If they succeed, they will become the richest company on planet Earth!
4. The second type of theory is mantle return theories. According to these scientists, the gold that we find today came from the deepest regions of our Earth.
5. Both the theories have evidence to prove their point and it is not known from where gold came to Earth.
Gold Facts: 6-10
6. Gold is considered to be the first metal that humans used which could be found native or free (i.e., it was present in its pure form already when humans used it).
7. Small amounts of natural gold were seen in some Spanish caves during the Paleolithic period. Gold artifacts made their appearance in Egypt for the first time.
8. The oldest map locating a gold mine was present in the 19th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt. The first written reference of gold was in 1900 BCE.
9. Gold is mentioned in almost all religions of the world.
10. The words gold and aurum (the chemical name of gold) originate from Proto-Indo-European word called *h₂é-h₂us-o- meaning shining dawn.
Gold Facts: 11-15
11. It is the most noble of all the noble metals. But it forms multiple compounds. The oxidation states of gold ranges from -1 to +5, but +1 and +3 are the most common ones. Less common oxidation states are -1, +2, and +5.
13. Gold readily dissolves in mercury. Most of the acids don’t have any effect on gold. But it reacts with aqua regia which is a 1:3 mix of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. Similarly, gold doesn’t react with many bases.
14. According to the World Gold Council, as of 2017, there are 187,200 tons of gold above the ground.
15. In 2017, China was the leading producer of gold with 440 tons. Australia with 300 tons and Russia with 255 tons were the second and third largest gold producers of 2017, respectively.
Gold Facts: 16-20
16. 50% of the total consumption of gold goes in jewelry, 40% in investments, and 10% in industry.
17. Gold is used in several ways like in jewelry making, in electronics like USB cables, audio cables, etc. It is also used for medicine purposes. In the 19th century, gold was used for the cure of nervous disorders and other disorders like migraine, depression, alcoholism, epilepsy, etc.
18. Did you know that American Contact Dermatitis Society awarded the gold metal as the “Allergen of the Year’ award in 2001? Gold contact allergies affect mostly women.
19. Some soluble compounds of gold like gold chloride, potassium gold cyanide, etc. are toxic, because of the content of gold and cyanide.
20. Gold metal is toxic, but it is approved as an additive by many food organizations because of its chemical inertness.
Gold Facts: 21-25
21. 75% of the gold present with humans has been extracted only since 1910.
22. Did you know that the greatest gold reserves are in/on ocean beds? Billions of tons of gold are present in/on ocean beds and we don’t have the technology that can be used to mine them out in a cost effective way.
23. Now, if gold is present in an ocean bed, it has to be present in ocean water. As a matter of fact, sea and ocean waters have about 20 million tons of gold dissolved in them! But the concentration of gold dissolved in water is too dilute. A liter of sea/ocean water contains no more than 13 billionths of one gram of gold. Again, we don’t have technology that can be used to mine that dissolved gold in a cost-effective way.
24. The total amount of gold present in oceans and sea (both dissolved and in/on ocean and sea bed) is enough to give 9 pounds of the metal to every single person on Earth!
25. As of 2017, the price of gold is 42 USD per gram!
Gold Facts: 26-30
26. Gold is one metal that is present in every single continent in the world (we mean that gold reserves and gold mines can be found in every single continent in this world).
27. Gold is edible! Yes, you can eat gold and it won’t kill you unless of course you decide to eat too much or just drink hot molten gold! In many Asian countries you will find gold being deliberately put in tea, coffee, jelly snacks and fruits.
28. Gold is naturally present in the human body. Yes, you don’t need to eat gold to have gold in your body. It is already present there. But hey, wait! Don’t just pull out your dagger and chop the first person to cross your sight to get the gold. An average person weighing 70 kilos will not have any more than 0.2 milligrams of gold and that too in a dissolved state.
29. The gold naturally present in the human body is responsible for maintaining the joints in our body and also helps to maintain good health. It is also important for transmitting electrical signals throughout the body.
30. Did you know that no matter where you mine gold, you will invariably find silica? This translates to the fact that even our body contains silica. Just 1.0 milligram of silica is present in the human body, but its role in the human body and metabolism are completely unknown.
Gold Facts: 31-35
31. Gold is one of the two naturally occurring non-white colored metals. Gold is usually golden or yellow. The other metal is copper.
32. Gold is a noble metal. This simply means that it will not react to moist air or air, and will not oxidize. It won’t even dissolve in acids.
33. Gold can, however, be dissolved in a solution known as aqua regia. Aqua regia is a special mixture made using several acids.
34. Because gold is a noble metal (i.e. it is unreactive), it is in a highly pure state, completely tasteless and odorless. A metal can get odor or flavor only when it is reactive.
35. Gold is extremely pliable and can be very easily converted into sewing thread! Did you know that just one ounce (28.3495 grams) of gold can be easily converted into 50 miles of thread measuring 5 microns (which is essentially 5 millionths of a meter)?
Gold Facts: 36-40
36. Purity of gold is measured in carats. 24 carat gold means 100% pure gold, while 10 carat gold means 41.7% pure gold. Other purity measurements include 22 carats, 18 carats, 14 carats and 12 carats.
38. Gold is extremely malleable and can be easily beaten into a thin sheet. Just one ounce of the metal can be beaten down to a sheet measuring 300 sq. ft. Also, it can be beaten thin enough to become nearly transparent.
39. Helmets’ visors of astronauts are usually covered using a thin coating of gold. This coating is extremely thin with a thickness of only 0.000002 inches. It is so thin that the helmet visor remains transparent, but this thin coating is just enough to significantly reduce heat caused by sunlight, and it also reduces glare.
40. Did you know that the oldest known worked gold-objects date back to 4000 B.C.? These objects belong to the ancient Thracian Civilization. Why is this incredible? Because that’s the era of the Stone Age!
Gold Facts: 41-45
41. Gold is an extremely rare metal. Till date, only 152,000 metric tons of gold has been mined. Do you really think that is a big amount? Think again! Do you know how much iron is mined worldwide every year? Well, that’s ONLY 907 million metric tons!
42. Gold nuggets are extremely rare. Nuggets are nothing but solid gold lumps. Of all the gold that has been mined till date on Earth (known as native gold), gold nuggets make up only 2% of the entire volume.
43. The rarity of this precious metal can be understood by the fact that only 1 out of 1 billion rock atoms on Earth are gold.
44. Did you know that 100% pure gold is very soft? As a matter of fact, it is so soft that it can be easily molded using bare hands.
45. Gold will melt only when the temperature reaches 2,063 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also a very good conductor of electricity and heat.
Gold Facts: 46-50
46. Did you know that pure gold never rusts or forms an oxide layer on its surface when it comes in contact with air? That’s because it is a noble element. Because of this property, gold never irritates skin. If gold ornaments lead to skin irritation, it simply means that some other metal has been mixed with gold.
47. It is believed that ‘Golden Fleece’ was probably inspired by an ancient Egyptian practice of mining gold using unshorn sheepskin. They mined gold dust found in the sands of Black Sea beaches. This practice was used back in 1200 B.C.
48. The Aztec language refers to gold as ‘teocuitlatl,’ which literally means ‘gods’ excrement’.
49. According to ancient Incas, gold was nothing but ‘sweat of sun’. Because the sun was their most sacred deity, their love for gold was purely religious.
50. The largest ever gold nugget to be found was in 1869 in Australia’s Victoria. The nugget weighed 78 kilograms and when it was melted, it produced 71 kilograms of pure gold.
Gold Facts: 51-55
51. Do you know that mining gold is not easy and that the process is extremely unfriendly to our nature? Chemicals like lead, acid, borax, cyanide and lime are used in the mining process. Enormous amounts of electricity are also required in the mining process.
52. Most of the world’s gold is mined from South Africa. The mining conditions aren’t really good over there. Mines often go to the depths of 12,000 feet where temperatures can go as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Mining one ounce of this rare metal takes 1400 gallons of water, 38 man hours and enough electricity that can power up a large house for 10 days straight.
53. South Africa provides 500 tons of gold each year. To mine that yearly output 70 million tons of Earth are raised every single year and then mined!
54. Did you know that the largest consumer of gold in the entire world is India? Nearly 20% of world production is consumed by India.
55. Asian gold jewelry is purer than western gold jewelry. Most of Asian gold jewelries are 22 carats pure, while western gold jewelries are 14 carats pure.
Gold Facts: 56-60
56. The first use of gold in dentistry dates back to 7 B.C.
57. Did you know that gold-198 isotope is used in nuclear medicine? Nuclear medicine uses radioactive substances to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer.
58. Did you know that many physicians back in the 14th century tried to treat bubonic plague by making patients drink a mixture of crushed emeralds and molten gold?
59. The chemical symbol of gold (Au) comes from ‘aurum,’ which is a Latin word for ‘shining dawn’.
60. The major goal of alchemists around the world was to transmute lead and other base metals into gold. The practice reached its height in the late Middle Age. Interestingly, modern nuclear chemistry is capable of achieving this.
Lead, mercury and bismuth can be easily converted into gold, but the process is too expensive and the production is way too little. An experiment was actually conducted where bismuth was converted into gold (both stable and radioactive isotopes) more than 30 years ago and it was reported that producing one ounce of gold using that method would cost over one quadrillion dollars during those days!