Fun Facts About Gold – Part 2

At APMEX, we’ve scoured the Internet looking for fun and interesting facts about gold for our readers.

This is the second in a two-part series to introduce 50 fun facts about gold. Some are common knowledge, some will be new to you. Enjoy!

  • Because of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties.
  • Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron, and purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminum.
  • Fourteen and eighteen karat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold.
  • White gold alloys can be made with palladium or nickel.
  • White 18 carat gold containing 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2% copper is silver in appearance.
  • High-karat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver.
  • The Japanese craft of Mokume-gane exploits the color contrasts between laminated colored gold alloys to produce decorative wood-grain effects.
  • In Medieval times, gold was often seen as beneficial for health in the belief that something that is rare and beautiful could not be anything but healthy.
  • Some gold salts, as well as injectable gold, have anti-inflammatory properties and are used as pharmaceuticals in the treatment of arthritis and other similar conditions. (Please note: APMEX does NOT recommend trying this!)
  • Colloidal gold is used in research applications in medicine, biology and materials science.
  • Gold leaf, flake or dust is used in some gourmet foods, notably sweets and drinks as a decorative ingredient.
  • Gold flake was used by the nobility in Medieval Europe as a decoration in food and drinks in the form of leaf, flakes or dust, either to demonstrate the host’s wealth or in the belief that something that valuable and rare must be beneficial for one’s health. (Please note: APMEX does NOT recommend trying this!)
  • Goldwasser is a traditional herbal liqueur produced in Poland and Germany, and contains flakes of gold leaf.
  • Gold can be made into thread and used in embroidery.
  • The world’s oceans hold a vast amount of gold, but in very low concentrations (perhaps 1–2 parts per 10 billion).
  • In photography, gold toners are used to shift the color of silver bromide black and white prints towards brown or blue tones, or to increase their stability.
  • Gold artifacts in the Balkans appear from the 4th millennium BC, such as that found in the Varna Necropolis; Egyptian hieroglyphs from as early as 2600 BC describe gold, which king Tushratta Mitanni claimed was “more plentiful than dirt” in Egypt.
  • Egypt and especially Nubia had the resources to make them major gold-producing areas for much of history.
  • The European exploration of the Americas was fueled in no small part by reports of the gold ornaments displayed in great profusion by Native American people.
  • Gold has long been considered the most desirable of precious metals and its value has been used as the standard for many currencies in history.
  • Gold has been used as a symbol for purity, value, royalty and particularly roles that combine these properties.
  • There is an age-old tradition of biting gold in order to test its authenticity. Although this is certainly not a professional way of examining gold, the bite test should score the gold because gold is a soft metal.
  • Gold in antiquity was relatively easy to obtain geologically; however, 75% of all gold ever produced has been extracted since 1910. Much of the gold mined throughout history is still in circulation in one form or another.
  • One main goal of the alchemists was to produce gold from other substances, such as lead— presumably by the interaction with a mythical substance called the philosopher’s stone.
  • During the 19th century, gold rushes occurred whenever large gold deposits were discovered. The first documented discovery of gold in the United States was at the Reed Gold Mine near Georgeville, North Carolina, in 1803.