Gold has been one of the world’s most celebrated metals since the beginning of civilization. It’s earliest recorded uses date back 5,500 years. It’s lustrous rich color beckons us. Gold is simply beautiful.
But more than just a pretty metal, gold is a part of human culture.
Mankind has used gold as a means of exchange through both coins and bullion. Until recently, gold was at the foundation of the entire world’s monetary systems and remains one of the most widely tracked commercial commodities.
Gold has been used in artwork like sculptures or as adornment to architecture, interior decor, vessels and picture frames.
Gold is love hence the phrase, “A heart of gold.” It has been and remains the standard metal chosen to represent the bond between two people. We wear our wedding bands to symbolize a union. A bond represented perfectly with mankind’s most cherished metal.
Gold is even in our mouths.
But there’s more to gold than what’s on the surface. There’s science, there’s history and there’s quite a large variety of gold available.
In its purest form, gold is represented by the symbol Au on the periodic table, which comes from the Latin word “Aurum” meaning gold. It is both the most ductile (easily drawn into wire) and malleable (easily extended or hammered) metal in existence. In fact, a single ounce of gold can be hammered into 5 x 5 meter sheet.
One of the eight noble metals (silver, platinum, palladium, osmium, iridium, rhodium and ruthenium), gold is resistant to both corrosion and oxidation. In addition, gold is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity making it perfect for use in electronics and medical procedures (think your teeth). Nasa is even using gold’s impressive reflective properties to combat infrared radiation from the sun.
Types of Gold
Metallurgists have spent hundreds of years working with gold in order to get the alloy mixtures just right. Without the proper proportions, the resulting mixture could be too brittle or too hard; the metals used may not react well with one another. Metallurgists had to work until they had found just the right combination resulting in a rich color they desired, yet a metal alloy that was easy to work with. The following are the most traditional forms of gold used in jewelry:
- Yellow Gold – Natural gold mixed with a combination of 50% copper and 50% silver. The actual amount of the other allows depends on the gold’s fineness. Yellow Gold is one of the most popular types of gold used in jewelry.
- White Gold – Natural gold combined with a combination of nickel, copper, manganese, zinc and tin which produces a lustrous silver gold. Some mixtures use palladium instead of nickel, as nickel more often reacts with body chemistry causing allergic reactions.
- Rose or Pink Gold – Natural gold combined with a mixture of 90% copper and 10% silver. The result is a blush pink hue with undertones of yellow. The more copper added, the richer the color.
- Blue Gold – Iron mixed with natural gold. The quantity varies depending on the color. Too much iron will result in a grey gold mixture.
- Green Gold – An alloy wherein natural gold is mixed with both silver (or cadmium) and copper, however, there is a higher percentage of silver in the mix.
- Grey Gold – This alloy contains between 15 and 20 percent iron.