Gold, a pliant, yellow metal, holds an esteemed place as one of the world’s most precious and prized elements. It has influenced the paths of empires and shaped the borders of nations through mass migrations. Gold has fostered the advancement of scientific frontiers and kindled countless romances. Yet despite gold’s ubiquity, there are many little-known gold facts meriting mention beyond its role in wedding rings and late-night investment commercials. In that spirit, here are 5 surprising gold facts to expand your knowledge of this fine metal.
5. The Rise(s) and Fall(s) of Gold
When the economy sours, gold becomes an appealing option for investment safety. For most of history, this precious metal has remained a valuable commodity, now considered a relatively secure element of any investor’s portfolio.
That said, don’t put all your eggs in one basket – in 2011, gold cost a staggering $1,900 per ounce. By 2009, it had dropped to just $950; but only a decade prior, an ounce sold for a paltry $360. Gold’s story is one of tremendous volatility, be vigilant.
4. Gold Is Extremely Malleable
Gold is the preferred material for designing intricate, finely crafted jewelry due to its flexibility and durability. In fact, it is the most malleable of the naturally occurring metals. Malleability is a measure of a material’s ability to be hammered into thin sheets. Did you know, we can stretch a single ounce of gold into a wire over 50 miles long, although it would need to be just five microns thick? If we consider gold’s beatability, we can hammer a single ounce of gold out into a sheet covering 300 square feet. Impressively, gold can even be used to make transparent thin sheets.
3. Most Gold Goes Bling
Most gold mined each year is used to make jewelry, ranging from 60% to 80%. This far surpasses the amount used for computer circuitry, national wealth funds, or medical fields.
China is the largest consumer, with 30% of the global jewelry market, while India is second thanks to its 10,000 traditional weddings annually. Interestingly, Asian jewelry tends to have higher purity levels than jewelry styles found in the West.
2. A Year’s Haul of Gold
In 2022, the world produced a staggering 3,200 MT of gold. Top producers included China (440 MT), Australia (300 MT), and Russia (250 MT aiming to nearly double production by 2030).
Despite South Africa’s legacy as a top gold producer, they now fall to seventh place due to various factors, including issues with workers and mining companies.
1. All the Gold in the World
According to Warren Buffet, all the gold on Earth – from ancient Mayan statuettes to Victorian jewelry to ore being mined as you read this – could form a single massive cube, measuring about 67 feet per side. Impressive, sure, but compared to our planet’s nearly 25,000-mile circumference, gold is astonishingly rare. It’s no wonder it’s so valuable! Fortunately, we aren’t likely to run out anytime soon. The US Geological Survey reports that 52,000 tonnes of minable gold remain in the ground, and even more may be waiting to be discovered. Hope you enjoyed these gold facts.