Gold is a chemical element. Its chemical symbol is Au and its atomic number is 79.
Compared to other metals, gold is less chemically reactive.
Gold is a good conductor of electricity and heat.
Gold is shiny, soft and dense. It is also malleable, which means it can easily be beaten into thin sheets or other shapes.
Gold is malleable enough for just 1 gram to be hammered into a sheet 1 square meter in size. It can also be made so thin that it appears transparent.
Due to a similar appearance to gold, the mineral pyrite has the nickname fool’s gold.
The amount of gold in various alloys (a combination of gold and another metal such as silver) is measured in carats (k). Pure gold is 24k.
As of 2009, it has been estimated that humans have mined around 160000 tonnes of gold.
Over the last 100 years South Africa has been the biggest producer of gold. In recent times however it has been surpassed by China.
As of 2009, the USA has 8133 tonnes of gold reserves while Canada only has 3.
Throughout history gold has often been seen as a symbol of wealth.
Gold is the most popular precious metal for investments.
The price of gold continually fluctuates and is often linked to major economic events.
There is a monetary system called the ‘gold standard’ which fixes a unit of money to a certain weight of gold.
Over the years gold has been used to create expensive jewelry, coins and various forms of art such as the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s famous burial mask. In modern times it has also been used for things such as electronics and dentistry.
Injectable gold has been proven to help reduce pain and swelling in patients suffering from tuberculosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Gold is a popular choice when it comes to rewarding achievement with medals, statues and trophies. Academy Award, Olympic and Nobel Prize winners all receive golden items in recognition of their achievement.