What is Gold? – A Definition

Gold definition

When you think of gold, there are many different things that come to mind. After all, it is one of the most widely used commodities on the planet and one of the world’s most prized natural resources. Today gold is used in everything from jewellery to computer chips and new uses for the metal are being discovered all the time.

Where does the term “gold” come from?

The term “gold” literally means “yellow” and is taken from the Old English Anglo-Saxon word ‘geolo’.

Where is gold found?

Gold is a rare precious metal that has been discovered in countries all over the world. Some of the world’s biggest miners of gold include South Africa, China and Russia.

Gold definition
Gold rounds

Why is gold such a popular precious metal?

Gold has many beneficial properties making it ideal for use in all sorts of different things. Not only is it an excellent conductor of heat, light and electricity, it is also highly malleable and does not tarnish. Due to its flexibility, gold can be shaped into virtually anything which is why it has been held in high regard as an object of great value for thousands of years. Gold is also relatively scarce which makes it an attractive proposition for investors who wish to benefit from its rarity and keep it as a store of wealth.

Gold as a medium of exchange

Gold has been used as a medium of exchange for thousands of years.

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Before the invention of gold coins, it was originally used as an early form of bartering. For example, the ancient Egyptians often used to trade in livestock and would sometimes fashion gold in the shape of a sheep in order to exchange it for other items of value.

The first gold coins were struck back in 6th century BC, and throughout history gold has frequently been used in the creation of coins. Early civilizations such as the Romans and the Greeks had a huge influence in developing gold coinage and gold had a pivotal role in helping them develop their empire.

On 28th October 1489, King Henry VII ordered the Royal Mint to create the largest and most valuable gold coin in circulation. The gold sovereign became the first official gold coin to be minted in the UK. England was also the very first country to adopt the gold standard back in 1821. This was upheld until 1931 when the global depression and failure of the banks lead to the country eventually abandoning the gold standard. Up until as recently as the 1970’s countries around the world including the United States still upheld the gold standard.

Gold definition
Assortment of gold bars

Interesting facts about gold

– Gold is highly valued for its unique yellow colour. it is currently the only known metal that is naturally yellow or “golden”. Other metals may develop a yellow hue if they become oxidised with other chemicals.

– Gold is literally from out of this world. It is believed that the precious metal is formed when two stars collide causing heavy elements to be ejected outwards. Check out the video here.

– Gold is non-toxic and non-irritating when ingested which means you can eat it without consequence. Edible gold leaf has frequently been used to decorate extravagant items of food.

– The world’s largest gold nugget ever found was discovered in Australia in 1872. It weighed an incredible 204lbs and was over 5 feet tall.

– It is estimated that around 20 million tons of gold is lying under the ocean.

– China is currently the biggest producer of gold in the world, responsible for producing over 463.7 tonnes of the precious metal in 2016 alone.

Gold as an investment

Gold is one of the most popular forms of investment available today. Not only is it considered an excellent store of wealth, it is also very liquid and easily transferrable. There are many different types of gold investments including gold bars, gold coins and gold ETF’s. Investors circumstances and what you’re looking to achieve from your investment will determine which option is the best choice for you. For example, if you don’t have a safe at home you may not wish to store gold coins in the house, and therefore you may decide it is less risky to buy gold ETF’s. Since the financial crisis of 2008, more and more investors have turned to gold as a protection against economic uncertainty particularly in countries like China and India. This is because gold is a physical asset and not so reliant on unstable currencies and market movements.

Invest in gold today with Physical Gold

Physical Gold is one of the UK’s leading gold dealers specialising in a wide range of gold investments suitable for every requirement. You can browse our catalogue of gold investments here or for more information please call us on 020 7060 9992.

Image Sources: Wikipedia and Pixabay

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