Introduction to Gold
Chemical Formula: Au
Gold is one of the most popular and well-known minerals, known for its value and special properties since the earliest of time. Most of the natural Gold specimens that have been found since early times have been smelted for production. Nice specimens, therefore, are regarded very highly, and are worth much more than the standard gold value. Only recently have more specimens been available to collectors, as more miners have been saving some of the larger pieces for the collector’s market.
Where Is Gold Found
On Earth, gold is found in ores in rock formed from the Precambrian time onward. It most often occurs as a native metal, often in a metal solid solution with silver (i.e. as a gold silver alloy). Such alloys usually have a silver content of 8 to 10%. Electrum is elemental gold with more than 20% silver.
Native gold occurs as very small to microscopic particles embedded in rock, often together with quartz or sulfide minerals, such as pyrite – known as “Fool’s Gold”. These are called lode deposits. The metal in its native state is also found in the form of free flakes, grains or larger nuggets that have been eroded from rocks and end up in alluvial deposits called placer deposits. When ancient placer deposits mix with sediments they can form conglomerate beds. Free gold is always richer at the surface of gold-bearing veins owing to the oxidation of accompanying minerals followed by weathering, and washing of the dust into streams and rivers, where it collects and can be welded by water action to form nuggets.
Uses Of Gold
- Financial Gold
- Gilding & Leaf
Gold As A Store Of Value
The heaviest (meaning containing the most pure gold) bullion coin ever produced was an Australian Kangaroo coin weighing one kilogram, which is 32.15 troy ounces or 2.2 lbs. Most bullion coins weigh about 1 troy ounce or less.
The last country to be on a gold standard (backing up its currency with gold) was Switzerland. The country backed up 40% of its money supply with gold until 1999.
Gold has been treated as a store of value and used as currency for almost as long as monetary systems have existed in the world.
The most expensive gold coin ever sold was a 1933 Double Eagle, which sold for $7.59 million in 2002.
In 2011, just 4% of the world’s population controlled 12.6% of the world’s gold. The country holding the most gold in the world is the United States with 8,133.5 tons.
Gold Market Overview
Gold mining is a global business with operations on every continent, except Antarctica, and gold is extracted from mines of widely varying types and scale.
Mines and gold mining operations have become increasingly geographically diverse, far removed from the concentrated supply of four decades or so ago when the vast majority of the world’s gold came from South Africa.
Overall levels of mine production have grown significantly over the last decade, although substantial new discoveries are increasingly rare and production levels are increasingly constrained.
The modern gold market is a picture of diversity and growth. Since the early 1970s, the volume of gold produced each year has tripled, the amount of gold bought annually has quadrupled and gold markets have flourished across the globe.
Gold is now bought by a far more diverse set of consumers and investors than at any previous time in history.
Mine production accounts for the largest part of gold supply – typically, 75% each year. However, annual demand requires more gold than is newly mined and the shortfall is made up from recycling.
Gold Mining and its associated activities does not respond to price changes quickly. There is usually a very long lead time between exploring and finding new gold deposits and mines entering into production.
As it is virtually indestructible, nearly all of the gold ever mined is theoretically still accessible in one form or another and potentially available for recycling.
Recycling is the source of gold supply that is most immediately responsive to the gold price and economic shocks. The majority of recycled gold – around 90% – comes from jewelry, with gold extracted from technology providing the remaining 10%. Of course, for gold to be of a guaranteed quality, it needs to be re-processed and refined.
What Is The Gold-Silver Ratio
The General meaning of the gold-to-silver ratio is the amount of silver it takes to purchase one ounce of gold.