Gold – in essence it’s a metal, a chemical element that is found in the ground. But why is gold so valuable, why does it incite such fascination and how did it become to be as coveted as it is today?
What is Gold?
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79. It is a bright, slightly orange-yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal in pure form. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.
The History of Gold?
Gold has been known and used by humans for thousands of years. The earliest known use of this precious metal dates back to 4000 BC, when it was used to make jewellery and other decorative items. It was also used as a form of currency in many early civilisations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
In the Middle Ages, gold became increasingly important as a form of currency. The coins were minted in many countries, and gold was used to pay for goods and services. It also became a symbol of wealth and power, and was often used to decorate royal palaces and temples.
In the 19th century, gold was discovered in California and Australia. This led to a gold rush, as people flocked to these regions in search of fortune. Gold also became an important commodity in the industrial revolution, as it was used to make electrical wiring, jewellery, and other products.
In the 20th century, gold’s value fluctuated significantly. It reached a high point in the 1970s, when it was used as a hedge against inflation. However, its value declined in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, gold’s value has increased, as investors have seen it as a safe haven asset during times of economic turmoil.
Today, gold is still used as a form of currency in some countries, but it is more commonly used as an investment. Gold is also used to make jewellery, coins, and other decorative items. Its unique properties, such as its malleability, ductility, and resistance to corrosion, make it an ideal material for these applications.
Here are some of the key events in the history of gold:
- 4000 BC: Gold is first used to make jewellery and other decorative items.
- 3000 BC: Gold is used as a form of currency in Egypt.
- 2000 BC: Gold is used as a form of currency in Greece and Rome.
- 1000 AD: Gold is used to make coins in China and India.
- 1500 AD: Gold is discovered in the Americas.
- 1848: Gold is discovered in California, sparking the California Gold Rush.
- 1851: Gold is discovered in Australia, sparking the Australian Gold Rush.
- 1970s: Gold reaches a high point in value, as it is used as a hedge against inflation.
- 1980s: Gold’s value declines.
- 1990s: Gold’s value declines further.
- 2000s: Gold’s value begins to increase.
- 2010s: Gold’s value continues to increase.
Why is Gold so Valuable?
Given as it is just a piece of metal, how has it become so valuable. Why for example, does it hold more value than silver, iron, copper and other metals? Here are a few reasons:
- Rare is a relatively rare metal, it is difficult to find and extract.
- Durable, meaning that it withstands and awful lot.
- Beautiful with a bright, yellow colour that is highly prized for jewellery and other decorative items.
- Malleable, meaning it can be easily shaped and moulded into different forms.
- Conductive: a good conductor of electricity, making it useful in electronics and other applications.
- Non-toxic, which makes it safe to use in jewellery and other items that come into contact with the skin.
Why is it considered a good investment?
- A hedge against inflation: Gold prices tend to rise when inflation is high. This is because gold is seen as a store of value that will not lose its purchasing power in the same way that fiat currencies can.
- A safe haven asset: Gold is often considered a safe haven asset, meaning that it tends to hold its value or even rise in value during times of economic turmoil. This is because gold is not subject to the same economic factors as other assets, such as stocks and bonds.
- It has a limited supply: The supply of gold is limited, which means that there is a finite amount of gold available to invest in. This can help to keep gold prices relatively stable over time.
The Risks of Investing
Of course, there are also some risks associated with investing in gold. These include:
- High volatility: Gold prices can be volatile, meaning that they can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time. This can make it difficult to predict how much your investment will be worth in the future.
- High storage costs: Gold is a physical asset, which means that it can be expensive to store and insure.
- Illiquidity: Gold can be illiquid, meaning that it can be difficult to sell quickly if you need to access your investment.
Most Valuable Gold Ever Found
The most valuable gold ever found is the Pepita Canaã, a 60.8-kilogram lump of gold unearthed in Brazil during the Serra Pelada Gold Rush in the early 1980s. It is estimated to be worth over $2.8 million at today’s gold prices.
The Pepita Canaã was found by a miner named Valdir Pereira, who was working in a small mining operation in the Serra Pelada region of Brazil. Pereira was using a shovel to clear away some dirt when he hit something hard. He dug further and found the Pepita Canaã, which is Portuguese for “Canaã nugget.”
The Pepita Canaã is a large, irregular-shaped lump of gold. It is estimated to be worth over $2.8 million at today’s gold prices. The Pepita Canaã is on display at the Banco Central Museum in Brasília, Brazil.
Here are some other notable gold finds:
- The King Henry, or RNC Minerals 1, ‘nugget’: This giant specimen was found in 2018 in the Beta Hunt mine, near Kambalda in Western Australia, by RNC Minerals employee Henry Dole. It weighs 93 kilograms and has an estimated gold content of 45 kilograms. Its precious metals content would be worth about USD 2.4 million at today’s gold price.
- The Staffordshire Hoard: This Anglo-Saxon treasure trove, discovered in 2009, contains over 4,300 gold and silver objects, including coins, jewellery, and weapons. It is estimated to be worth over £3.3 million.
- The Atocha: This Spanish galleon was shipwrecked off the coast of Florida in 1622. The wreck was discovered in 1985 and has yielded over 500,000 gold and silver coins, as well as other artefacts. The Atocha treasure is estimated to be worth over $500 million.
Overall, gold is a valuable asset that can be a good investment for some people. However, it is important to understand the risks involved before investing in gold.
At The Goldmarket, we have bought and sold gold for many years and we happen to know a lot about this popular commodity including it’s value in today’s market. If you have unwanted gold to sell, pop it along and let us give you a price for it.