Gold, that shimmering, yellow metal that has fascinated people around the world for centuries. From ancient Egyptian pharaohs to modern financial markets, gold holds a special place in the hearts of humanity. But what makes gold so special? Here are 10 facts that tell you everything about it.

1. People have been using it for thousands of years

gold is old
Pedro Szekely/flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Let’s start at the beginning. Gold is not a recent obsession of mankind. As early as 2600 BC, gold was used by the Egyptians for decorative purposes. For many ancient civilizations, gold was not just a symbol of wealth and power, but also of divinity and eternal life. The Incas considered gold as the ‘tears of the sun‘. Sounds poetic, doesn’t it? But it shows how deeply gold is intertwined with our history and culture.

2. Chemically unique

chemical unique
Alchemist-hp BY-SA 3.0 de

Gold is one of the least reactive chemical elements, meaning it doesn’t rust or corrode. This is exactly why your gold jewelry could still look sparkling after 50 years. Gold also has an incredibly high density – about 19.3 times that of water. This means all the gold in the world, that has ever been mined, would fit into a cube of just about 21 meters on each side. Imagine that!

3. Extraterrestrial material

Scientists believe that the gold on our planet arrived here billions of years ago through the impact of meteorites. In the early days of the solar system, when the Earth was still forming, it was these cosmic collisions that brought gold and other precious metals to our planet. These materials originated from the explosions of supernovas, the giant star explosions that spread elements like gold throughout the universe.

4. Rare, or is it?

Despite over 190,000 tons of gold being mined on Earth so far, this is just a fraction of the total amount of gold brought to the Earth by these early meteorite impacts. This might sound like a lot, but if you were to gather it all together, it wouldn’t even fill a football field. This rarity is part of what gives gold its value. Most of the gold is still deep within the Earth, out of our reach.

5. Important in electronic devices


Gold is not just beautiful to look at; it also plays a crucial role in technology. Because of its excellent conductivity and resistance to corrosion, gold is used in numerous electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, and GPS systems. A little bit of gold is in almost every electronic device you own. So the next time you pick up your smartphone, remember there’s a little bit of gold in it.

6. And also in the medical world

Gold has also found its way into the medical world. Because of its biocompatibility (it’s not harmful to the human body), gold is used in various medical applications. For example, gold nanoparticles are used in the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases. And a fun fact: gold is also used in dental fillings and crowns. Who would have thought you could walk around with gold in your mouth?

7. “Safe haven” for investors


Gold has served as a “safe haven” for investors throughout the centuries. In times of economic uncertainty and inflation, people often turn to gold as a stable store of value. This is because gold typically maintains its value and can even increase in value when other investments decline. Moreover, gold is a tangible asset, unlike digital currencies or stocks, which provides an extra layer of security for those who want to protect their wealth from economic fluctuations.

8. Largest Gold Reserves

The largest gold reserves are not in the mines but in the vaults of central banks. The United States has the largest official gold reserve, with more than 8,000 tons of gold. Close behind are Germany, Italy, France, and Russia. These countries consider gold a crucial part of their national reserves, a buffer against monetary crises.

9. Golden records

golden records
Anatoli Lvov/wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Some of the most impressive gold pieces in history are true works of art. Take, for example, the Golden Mask of Tutankhamun, one of the most famous archaeological finds, which accompanied the young Egyptian pharaoh in his tomb. Or the largest gold nugget ever found, the “Welcome Stranger,” discovered in Australia in 1869, weighing a whopping 72 kilograms. These examples show the enduring human fascination with and appreciation for gold.

10. An asteroid near Earth contains 20 billion tons of gold


Asteroid Psyche 16 is said to be full of gold and other precious metals, with an estimated value of $10,000 quadrillion, more than the entire world economy.

Menno, from the Netherlands, is an expert in unearthing fascinating facts and unraveling knowledge. At Top10HQ, he delves into the depths of various subjects, from science to history, bringing readers well-researched and intriguing insights.

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