10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Gold

1. All natural gold atoms originally were forged in the centers of stars. When the stars go supernova, they disperse their Gold atoms throughout the universe.

2. Gold is extremely durable – The yellow metal can be worked to be only 3 atoms thick. One ounce of gold can be made into a sheet 100s of square feet in size, or drawn into a wire that is miles long.

3. Gold is very rare: There is less than one ounce of gold for every person in the world. In all of history, about 161,000 tons of gold have ever been mined — enough to fill two Olympic-size swimming pools. And, the supply only grows only a percent or two per year.

4. Gold is extremely dense – more than one and a half times as dense as lead. A cubic meter of gold weighs 19,300 kg/m³ (versus lead’s 11,340 kg/m³); Osmium, the densest of all elements, weighs in at 22,610 kg/m³.

5. Most of the gold ever mined sits in the central bank vaults of the world (such as the New York Federal Reserve Bank and Fort Knox);

6. The world’s oceans hold vast amounts of gold (as much as 25 billion tons), but it is in such low concentrations (1 or 2 parts per 10 billion) that recovering it is not commercially viable.

7. A pound of gold is 12 ounces (not 16 ounces); An ounce of Gold is based on troy weight–20 pennyweights or 480 grains;

8. Gold’s chemical symbol, Au, comes from the Latin word “aurum” – meaning “shining dawn.” (Aurora was the Roman goddess of dawn).
9. Gold is chemically inactive, and is not affected by air, heat, moisture or solvents. Spanish galleons that sunk 500 years ago carrying gold might be lost, but whatever gold they were carrying is resting unharmed on the bottom of the ocean. Everything else on board – iron, steel, wood, paper money – has long since rotted away.

10. Nitric acid is used to confirm the presence of gold in items – hence the phrase “acid test” i.e., a test for genuine value. Note: Gold does not dissolve in acids; it takes a mixture of Hydrochloric Acid and Nitric Acid (called Aqua Regia) to dissolve Gold.

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