Perhaps you have never asked yourself the question because since we can remember we have been told that gold is expensive and valuable, but why the hell do we worship the yellow metal if it is not even the rarest or most useful on Earth
As we will see below, the answer could not be simpler, although it explains the history of our civilization quite well: mainly by ancient tradition.
As the guys from the channel The Infographics Show explain, there is evidence that gold impressed human since 40,000 BC. The ancient Egyptians just liked it, and it is said that the pharaohs couldn’t get all the metal they wanted. In fact, they used it as currency, agreeing that one piece of gold equals two pieces of silver of equal weight.
Today it is known that in the Bible the heavenly earth covered with gold is mentioned. We know that the other civilizations, from the Aztecs to the Persians and also appreciated gold. Now, it wasn’t that hard to find, why is it so expensive?
Gold is rare, but not the rarest. To obtain gold you have to extract it, and mining requires a lot of work. This may be a point in favor of the price, but it is not enough. In fact, there are other metals that are as rare as gold and cheaper. An example is the metal called ruthenium. Its price is $ 9,000 per kilogram. That of gold is 41,149 dollars per kilo.
Interestingly, on the list of the rarest metals in the world, gold is the seventh and ruthenium is the sixth. The second rarest of all, rhodium, is very expensive. You can get a kilo for $ 91,308. The eighth rarest metal, platinum, was expensive in the past, but now you can get a kilo for $ 26,106.
It’s just data, but it tells us that while rarity makes something expensive, it doesn’t define the overall price, otherwise platinum would cost more than gold and ruthenium wouldn’t be a bargain metal.
There is a reason why gold is scarce from a scientific point of view. That is because it is a heavy atom that consists of 79 protons and 118 neutrons. But even so, before we had this scientific data, in ancient times they had no idea where the gold came from.
The Egyptians called gold the “breath of God” and the Aztecs “the sweat of the sun.” Although this sounds quite poetic, the truth is that what really happened was a great supernova in space that forged gold atoms and threw them throughout the universe.
According to history, billions of years ago gold-laden meteorites struck Earth. This charge sank when molten iron was busy forging the core of the Earth.
As for the amount we have on the planet, it is not known exactly, although the World Gold Council says that as of this year the total amount of the metal that has accumulated is 190,040 metric tons, which is equivalent to about 190,000,000 kilos of gold.
Another fact to keep in mind: it is highly resistant to corrosion and being easy to work with, it is highly desirable for decorative purposes, and even more so in industry, for example. Some metals are very difficult to melt, but gold is not. Therefore, we have a very nice metal (aesthetically) that does not corrode and is manageable. For example, silver is also rare and has a relatively low melting point, but there is a problem: it deteriorates.
In short, it could be said that gold is not “the best” metal in any characteristic, but it is the one that obtains a high score in everything, which makes it an almost perfect metal.
This also keeps its value fairly stable, making it something that people always want to have. It’s weird, it has a history to be admired, it doesn’t corrode, it looks perfect, and it holds its shape and is still seen as a material that denotes high status. He who has gold has treasure..
The chemical difference between the colors of gold
Pure gold, also called 24 carat or 24karat gold, is too soft to use in the jewelry. Yes or yes you have to mix gold with other metals to harden gold.
The difference between the colors depends on the proportion of other metals in the mix. To maintain the yellow color, silver and copper are mixed with these two metals in the same proportions. To redden the gold, more copper and less silver is added. Instead, to bleach the gold, palladium and silver are added.
To understand more about all the metals that are used in jewelry, I suggest reading this post: Precious and non-precious metals in jewelry.
So there is a whole continuum of colors from white, yellow, and even red. And these colors can be achieved by using different ratios of copper, silver, and palladium to gold.
In fact, there are other experimental colors like green gold, purple gold, blue gold, and black gold. But they are not very common in jewelry because they are difficult to produce in addition to having certain undesirable characteristics. For example purple gold is brittle. And certain green gold recipes contain the metal cadmium, which is not very healthy for humans.
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