Gold, one of mankind’s oldest adornments, has a rich history. Introduced to a young earth in a vast meteor shower some 2 billion years ago, most of the world’s gold remains buried in the planet’s core. Throughout history, humans have mined only approximately 165,000 metric tons of gold; it is estimated that the core contains 1.6 quadrillion tons, more than enough to pave Earth’s surface!
Gold is commonly found in its natural form and was one of the first metals ever mined. Long symbolizing power, beauty, and purity, it is perhaps the most useful mineral on Earth. It does not tarnish or corrode, retains its color and luster, conducts electricity, and is the most malleable of all the precious metals. Because of these desirable properties, up to 80% of the gold consumed every year is used by the jewelry industry alone. Technological applications account for another 10-12 percent of the world’s gold stores. Gold is used in nearly every electronic device- from cell phones to televisions and computers, due to its conductivity and resistance to corrosion. It is used medically to treat arthritis and cancer, and serves as a lubricant in the aerospace industry. Gold is even found in glass and in the shields of astronauts’ helmets, protecting eyes and skin from solar radiation, thus coming full circle and returning to space once more.
For most of the nations of the world, gold is the primary medium in financial transactions. First used monetarily over 6,000 years ago, today it is used for investments, stored as bullion, or minted into coinage. Due to its limited supply, usefulness, portability, and desirability, gold holds its value over time. In fact, the value of this precious commodity has steadily risen over the last several years; making it a perfect hedge against inflation.