Gold What is Gold


Gold, Symbol Au, is a bright yellow, is a soft, metallic element. Bacause of its beauty and because it does not corrode or tarnish, it has been valued by man since prehistoric times. It was particularly important to early man because it could be obtained as a free metal without complex separation techniques, it could be easily worked.

In fact, gold has the best working qualities of any metal. It can be beaten to a thicness of 5 millionths of an inch. One ounce of gold can be beaten out to cover an area of 300 square feet. Because it is so soft, gold is usually alloyed with other metals to improve its wearing qualities.

The purity of gold is expressed in terms of its fineness, or by the karat system. In the karat system the percentage ( by weight ) of gold in an alloy is denoted as a fraction of 24. thus pure gold is 24 karat gold, and 18 karat gold is 18/24, or 75%, gold. Fineness refers to the parts of gold per 1,000 fo alloy. therefore, a fineness of 500 would represent an alloy with 50% gold.

The most commont uses of gold are for decoration, as in jewelry, and as a unit of monetary exchange. Since ancient times gold has generally been the most readily acceptable from of currency. However, the use of gold coins was discontinued, for the most part, duting the period between WW 1 and 2. In the US, which discontinued the use of gold in 1934, citizens ( except for those who hold special licenses for industrial or laboratory purpose ) may not own gold except in the form of jewelty, However, in other countries, including France, Canada, and Great Britain, gold can be bought by anyone on the open market.

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