Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gushing about Gold

(Continuing with my infomercial... )

Gold is a wonderful metal. It is malleable and ductile but durable, and does not oxidize or tarnish. It has been treasured though out history. Evidence of its use goes back as far as 6000 B.C. It was used in the first coinage between 643 and 630 B.C. It is an emblem of wealth, and a supporter of the financial system for years. The U.S. did not go off the Gold Standard until 1971. The Gold Standard based currency on a fixed retrievable amount of gold. Investors still buy gold seeking security or financial gain.

Gold is measured in troy ounces, 1 troy ounce being 31.1 grams. Because gold is a soft metal it is alloyed with other metals to harden it and make it more durable. The purity of gold is measured in karats, which is an ancient Middle Eastern unit of weight derived from the carob seed. 24 karats (or carats) is pure gold. 14 karats is the most common (particularly for rings) and has 58.3% gold mixed with other metals usually silver and copper. Different colored gold can be achieved with the other metals that are mixed with it. The karat designation applies to the amount of gold only. With white gold, nickel or palladium is used. With red gold, copper. Blue gold has iron in it (which makes it more brittle.) Any piece of jewelry should be stamped stating its gold content, and if there is a question a jeweler can test the metal.

About 78% of gold used each year is used in jewelry. The industrial uses include rhuematoid arthritis treatment, dentistry, electronics, and computers.

Gold is a joy to work with for the jeweler. 1064.43 °C is the melting point making it far more accessible than platinum. It is easily soldered and fabricated, but retains that luster that has made it so attractive and sought after through the ages.

Below is a clip that I found on youtube about gold. Warning: its a downer! When the Zimbabwean says a tin of grain for 1 gram of gold, that's 30 bucks! Way too much for the hungry! *And I went on youtube looking for the sound of one hand clapping...*

*the embed was disabled.*


Suldog said...

I have an extra-special fondness for gold, as a band of it is embedded in my dental implants, adding an extra layer of protection against them cracking.

whimsicalpam said...

Great post...very interesting!
I was at a flea market recently where someone was selling "Russian Gold". They insisted that it was real gold but it had a redness to it, that I'd never seen. I always knew that the purer the gold the higher the karat and the softer the metal but I never understood the addition of other metals and the color of the gold.
...I'll have to go back to that flea market:)

Chris Stone said...

make sure its stamped! if it seems too good of a deal to be true, it probably is. the cost of jewelry is very dependent on the cost of materials.

Jenn said...

Never heard of red or blue gold. How very fascinating! My wedding band & engagement rings are both white gold...never knew it was a blend of metal. Thanks for the lessons! Looking forward to hearing how the presentation went.

Chris Stone said...

Well. The presentation went poorly. There were 4 young Brown grads.... and me. They did stuff on how to teach swimming to kids and how to ask about where the restroom is in Thailand. Cute stuff like that. An email had gone out on how best to do the presentation... which, of course, was not sent to me.

The whole thing rankles. It would have been a long shot! But. The way the situation was stacked did not leave a pleasant or productive sensation.

I've tried to write it up for the blog... But as the humor of the situation still escapes me, I'm leaving it alone for now!