30 Facts About Gold

Gold is a captivating material. For centuries, humans have used and treasured gold because of its value. While you may have considered buying gold jewelry, coins, or bullion in the past, you may not have thought too much about gold’s history, uses, or actual physical properties. 

30 Gold Facts You May Not Have Known

If you’ve never stopped to think about the gold you’ve purchased for your precious metals IRA or as gifts for friends or family, you’re missing out on some of the material’s most intriguing facts. From details about its physical composition to its modern history and current use cases, we’ve broken down 30 of our favorite facts about gold in the list below. 

Gold Property Facts

Gold has many unique physical properties that make it useful for jewelry, electronics, and other types of manufacturing. 

  1. Gold melts at 1,063 degrees Centigrade and 1,945 degrees Fahrenheit. The metal can conduct both heat and electricity. 
  2. A cubic foot of gold weighs 1,188.6 pounds (in avoirdupois, or ordinary, weight). 
  3. Gold almost never rusts and is not easily affected by chemicals. This is why gold can remain in the ground for thousands of years and still shine when coming out. 
  4. Gold has a boiling point of 2,966 degrees Celsius (5,371 degrees Fahrenheit)
  5. Gold’s purity is measured in karats. Karats (not to be confused with carats, which is generally used in reference to the weight of gemstones) is a unit of purity for gold alloys. Containing no other metals, 24-karat gold is considered pure gold. But because pure gold is incredibly soft and malleable, it’s often alloyed with other metals to increase strength and durability. 
  6. Gold is chemically inert and, therefore, does not cause skin irritation to wearers of gold jewelry. If you wear gold and develop a rash or irritation, you can bet that jewelry is not composed of pure gold but rather a mix of gold and some other type of metal. 
  7. An ounce of gold could be stretched into a thread that would be miles long. 
  8. Gold is generally considered nontoxic. In fact, gold flakes are sometimes found in food or drink. The greatest risk of gold toxicity occurs during mining and in conjunction with inhalation of other materials like mercury or arsenic. 
  9. Highly pure gold is odorless and tasteless. 
  10. Gold is very soft. In fact, gold is the most malleable element. Gold is so soft that one single ounce of gold could be flattened into a gold sheet covering 187 square feet. 

Gold History Facts

Gold has been valued for thousands of years as a marker of wealth and as a trade material, but its recent history is worth mentioning, too: 

  1. The term “troy ounce”—a unit of measurement used for gems and precious metals (including gold)—comes from the French town of Troyes. In the 16th century, Troyes was an important trade center that standardized the troy ounce as the equivalent of 480 barley grains. 
  2. In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, which made it illegal to hoard gold. Roosevelt’s purpose in signing the controversial order was to increase the amount of money in circulation and stabilize the United States economy during the Great Depression. 
  3. In 1934—immediately after signing the executive order—Franklin Roosevelt raised the price of gold from $20.67 to $35 per ounce with the Gold Reserve Act. Upon this price increase, the dollar’s value fell by 40 percent. 
  4. Gold’s name comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “geolo,” for yellow. Its atomic symbol (Au) comes from the Latin word for gold, “aurum.” 
  5. Most governments have replaced the gold standard with fiat currencies. 
  6. The most expensive gold coin ever transacted was a 1933 double eagle that auctioned for $18.9 million in 2021. This coin’s expense is largely due to the government’s decision to make ownership and circulation of the coin illegal in 1934. Most of these coins were melted down shortly thereafter, but this one survived. 
  7. May 2010 brought the world its first gold vending machine in Abu Dhabi. The vending machine itself was also plated in gold. However, this device has been permanently closed. 

Gold Availability Facts

Gold’s rarity is what makes it highly coveted among nations, collectors, and industrialists. We’ve compiled some of the most notable facts about its availability below: 

  1. Gold is so rare that the world pours more steel in a single hour than all the gold ever poured during recorded history. 
  2. Two-thirds of the gold in circulation has been extracted since 1950. 
  3. The world’s largest stockpile of gold is located beneath the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As of 2024, the bank’s vault held more than 500,000 gold bars
  4. About half of the gold belonging to the government of the United States is held in Fort Knox and is valued by the government at $42.22 per ounce. 
  5. Gold has been found on all seven continents. 
  6. As of January 2023, the United States has over 8,100 metric tons of gold in reserves. 

Gold Use Facts

Gold has many ornamental and trade usage throughout history and continues to be highly valued for its versatility.  

  1. Besides its monetary and symbolic value, gold is also used in industries such as medicine, electronics, radiation protection, dentistry, and glass coloring. 
  2. Gold may be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It can relieve the pain of active joint swelling and prevent future damage. In most cases, gold is either injected into muscle or taken in capsule form by mouth. 
  3. Astronauts’ visors are covered in a micro layer of gold to reduce glare and heat from the sun. 

Gold Investment Facts

  1. From January 2000 through January 2021, gold generated an annualized return of 9.6%. Between 1990 and 2020, its price increased by around 360%. 
  2. Gold is a traditional hedge against inflation and rising living costs. 
  3. Investing in physical gold provides tangible ownership, as opposed to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which do not. 
  4. Gold IRAs are a fantastic tool for retirement that provides an additional layer of investment diversification. 

Interested in Learning More About Investing in Gold?

Gold isn’t a magical metal, but it’s a valuable one. More importantly, it’s one that’s been treasured for thousands of years. That’s why investing in gold is such a fantastic opportunity to grow your personal wealth.  

To learn more about how Advantage Gold can help you hedge against inflation and diversify your portfolio, contact us today and download your free Gold IRA guide. 

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