One of the most precious metals known to man is gold. It is also one of the most valuable metal for many centuries. All ancient civilizations have recorded their strong fascination and great affinity towards the yellow metal. The Egyptians were the first civilization to have a recorded interaction with gold. This happened around 3000 BC. By the time the Greeks set up their modern cities and advanced commercial trade, gold had been accepted as a symbol of prosperity and wealth.
In the modern world, it was late in the 18th century that gold began to take its rightful place as the king of metals. The United States of America announced a fixed gold price in terms of US dollars. A century later, there were a series of gold rushes in different parts of USA which forever changed the commercial landscape of those areas and made millionaires of some men.
To this day, gold is seen as a fail-proof investment because its price is always seen to rise in the long term. Of course there have been some blips, the most recent of which was in 1999. But those proved to be temporary falls, and gold is still regarded as one of the safest investments. Even today, gold is the most acceptable standard for commercial exchange all over the world.
There are several reasons why gold is accorded this exalted status universally. First, it has the unique physical attributes of dazzling brilliance which would attract anyone. That, though, is the physical property of gold that everyone knows. What many don’t know are some other defining characteristics of gold, like its excellent electrical conductance and its great malleability and ductility. But economically speaking, the laws of demand and supply ensure that gold gets the exalted status that it enjoys. The scarcity of gold and the difficulties and cost involved in mining gold mean that its value will always keep increasing. The indestructible nature of gold makes it a popular choice as protector and storage of wealth, which currency or other physical assets do not have.
Let me end by sharing some interesting facts about gold :
- Gold is found on every continent of the world.
- The human body also contains very microscopic quantities of gold, usually in the bloodstream.
- Some botanists have recorded evidence of finding small traces of gold in the Eucalyptus leaves.
- All the gold ever mined anywhere in the world till date can be fit into three Olympic sized swimming pools.
- This is equivalent to a single cube of side 21 metres.
- Pure gold of 24 karats would melt at 1063°C.
- Gold is used to construct the engines of the F1 cars of McLaren.
- A single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 50 miles long, or beaten into a sheet of area 100 square feet.
The legends about gold will continue to be shared forever unless humans are able to find out a hitherto undiscovered seam somewhere. But till then it will continue to be the most valuable metal on earth.
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