What do we know about gold?

What do we know about gold?

The 79th element of the periodic table has attracted a relatively greater deal of public attention over the history. Symbolized as Au, in its pure form, gold is a bright, orange-yellowish, soft, dense, malleable and ductile metal which occurs naturally in several different forms, i.e., free elemental form as nuggets or grains, or in rocks, veins, and alluvial deposits where mineral gold is present alloyed with other elements like silver, copper, and palladium, or non-metallic inclusions like pyrite.

Although gold enjoys favorable lustrous and metallic qualities, its value is mostly owed to its social acceptance as an element of past, present, and future, having said that, its scarcity and difficulty of excavation have contributed to its public perception as a valuable commodity. Traditionally, gold has been treasured for its radiance. In several ancient cultures, gold jewelry used to be common, mainly to represent sun, which explains why yellow gold has always been more popular comparing to other spectra of the element.

It is unclear when exactly gold mining began, but the oldest discovered artifacts date back to 4,700 and 4,200 BC in Bulgaria and some evidence show gold mining in ancient Egypt, so archeologists believe that it can date back to at least 7,000 years ago. There are many golden objects found from bronze age. We now know that Romans used hydraulic gold mining methods and gold was used as medium of exchange first time within the empire for which they imposed wars on many of their neighboring countries. Remains of small open pit gold mines from 2nd and 3rd century AD with proofs of growing mining activities in the coming months. Gold mining caused migration of masses to new and in many cases previously underdeveloped locations in America and made some noticeable socioeconomical changes to human history.

Gold and money have always been entangled over the history. However, its great role on modern economies has gone through several changes. In its classical sense, governments linked their currencies to specified amounts of gold. These values were constant, so were the exchange rates between different currencies. In the wake of World War II termination, a global monetary system initiated dominance of US Dollar while mitigated the influence of gold on global economics. In a nutshell, this system was a regime of fixed exchange rates. The main aim of such system was to put an end to chaotic inter-war period and stabilize the world trade. In 1971, the US ended this standard by allowing a changeable US dollar-gold rate. That was when modern financial markets emerged. This was our first article on a series of articles focused on gold. In continuation, we are going to discuss diversity of gold reserves, its production, social challenges, economic impacts and, most importantly, grinding media role in gold production.

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