Gold is a chemical element that appears on the periodic table of elements as symbol AU. It is a very soft metal, which is shiny and dense. Gold is most notable for being malleable and ductile and it does not react with most chemicals, chlorine being one of the exceptions.
Pure gold, 24k, is often too soft for applications in jewelry. Gold is most often alloyed with other metals to give it more durability for jewelry. Common alloys are silver, nickel and copper. Jewelry is not the only application for gold as it serves many functions in computers, aircraft engines, artificial space satellites, and communications equipment. You might even find people with gold dental fillings because it won’t corrode.
Gold has been highly valued since the early days of man in pre-historical times. It has been mentioned in the Old Testament, and in Egyptian hieroglyphs. For many countries, gold is still the monetary standard.
About 2/3rds of the world’s gold supply originates in South Africa. It is here that the gold can be found in quartz rock veins, as large nuggets and as flakes of gold in the dirt. There is even gold suspended in sea water! However there is no economical way to extract the gold from the water. When the gold is found in igneous rocks, it is extracted by either chemicals like cyanide or by a smelting process which heats the rocks to point where the gold will simply run out the rock. Of all of the worlds gold that has been refined, it is estimated that the gold, if formed into a cube, would be 66ft long per side. Other estimates have been made that 3 Olympic sized pools could be filled with the all the world’s gold. Which one is more true? It’s hard to say.