Ring Resources: The Guide to Gold

A chemical element denoted by the symbol Au, gold has an atomic number of 79. From the beginning of recorded history, gold has been sought after as a highly valued metal for jewelry, coinage and other arts. Gold as a native metal occurs as either grains in rocks, nuggets, in alluvial deposits or even in veins. Sometimes, though less normally, gold occurs with the chemical element tellurium in minerals and as gold compounds.

History of Gold

The history of gold is so ancient that it has been used and known by artisans since the Copper Age. Central Europe has a history with gold that can be traced back to the Bronze Age of the 2nd millennium BC, when the Nebra disk and golden hats appeared. During the Old World (Europe, Asia and Africa), Africa's Mali Empire was renowned for its huge amounts of gold. Even the exploration of the New World was in part motivated by the many reports of native people and their ostentatious displays of gold in their culture and society. Gold has been used as a worldwide symbol and standard of wealth and prestige, which so angered the English social philosopher Thomas More that he wrote a treatise called Utopica, which ridiculed the association of gold with prestige. In the 19th century, gold rushes were famous for occurring whenever sizable stores of gold were discovered.
Atomic Structure

The atomic number of gold is 79, which qualifies it as one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. It is assumed that gold was formed through a supernova nucleosynthesis process, whereby a stellar explosion causes a production of new chemical elements. When elemental gold is found on Earth, it looks more like a metal solid solution of gold together with silver, or gold silver alloy. If gold has such a structure, it will contain a proportion of silver between 8 to 10 percent. Uses and Advantages

Today, gold is used in many modern industries, an example of a couple being electronics and dentistry. What makes gold so popular for use in industry is its excellent resistance to oxidative corrosion. It is also valued for use in industry because of its great quality as a conductor of electricity. More examples of the use of gold include embroidery when it is made into thread, as a protective coating on man-made satellites due to its ability to reflect electromagnetic radiation, and as a reflective layer on certain high-end CDs. Alchemy

The value and prized nature of gold has also led to the protoscience called alchemy. Alchemy is the pursuit of attempting to transform base metals into gold. Both an ancient practice as well as a philosophical one, alchemy can be viewed as a pursuit to achieve ultimate wisdom by improving the alchemist himself and also creating new substances that feature uncommon properties. Alchemy has also yielded useful, modern results, such as forming the basics of inorganic chemistry, which is a science that is preoccupied with analyzing the behavior and properties of inorganic compounds. Purity

The purity of gold, which itself is measured in grams and troy weight, can be determined by one of two ways. First, the term carat or karat is employed to represent the amount of gold present in a substance; this is only done when gold is actually combined with other metals in an alloy. 24 karats is said to be pure gold while anything lower is proportionally less gold. Gold's purity may also be represented as a decimal figure on the scale of 0 to 1, which is referred to as the millesimal fineness.
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