The Gold Vault
Facts About Gold
The Gold Vault:  History and Facts about Gold. Investing in Gold. Panning For Gold.
Resource articles about Gold. Gold Coins plus much more.  
Information relating to Gold from Investing to the  Bizarre and Sinister
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"Why Trade My Labor For and Invest in Gold Coins."

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All the gold in the world that has ever been refined is approximately 150,000 tonnes. The total world's production of gold would be equal to a single cube 66 feet by 66 feet by 66 feet. And amazingly, 60% has been mined since 1950! The total world's holdings of gold could be transported by just one oil tanker.

Gold's ductility (able to be drawn into a fine wire) is such that just one ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire (0.000005 inch thick) 62 miles long or plate a thread of copper 1,000 miles long!  According to the World Gold Council, all the gold so far produced, if stretched into a thin wire of 5-micron diameter, would circum navigate the world 72 million times.

Gold can be hammered into a sheet so thin that sunlight can shine through it. In fact gold is so malleable that a goldsmith can hammer one ounce of gold into a thin translucent sheet covering more than 100 square feet - five millionths of an inch thick. 1,000 of such sheets would be equal to the thickness of one page of newsprint and a stack an inch high would contain more than 200,000 separate sheets. 










One cubic foot of gold weighs 1,206 pounds. More than half a ton!  A metric ton, usually spelled ‘tonne,’ is one thousand kilograms. At the time of writing this page the spot price of Gold is US $1367.00.
One tonne of gold has a value of approximately US$32.15 million per US$1000.00 Yikes!    (Thats over $42 million at current prices)

The rarity of Gold is such that industry pours more steel in an hour than the total of all the gold poured since the beginning of recorded time.

Statistically, a one-ounce gold nugget is harder to find than a five-carat diamond. Because of gold's rarity, a nugget can be worth several times more than the value of the gold it contains. A gold nugget is  considered a gemstone because of its rarity and beauty.

Seawater contains vast quantities of dissolved gold, perhaps as much as 10 trillion dollars (US) worth, though in dilute concentrations. Even at the conservative estimates of 10 ppt of gold in seawater, there is a great deal of gold in solution in the oceans. The sea water of the Earth's oceans contain about 25 billion ounces of gold (Burk 1989).

Some experts consider that much of the earths continental gold deposits have biological origins. Certain bacteria are believed to have been involved in the precipitation of gold out of dilute hydrothermal solutions.

Estimates of gold's abundance range from 3 to 6 ppb (parts per billion) in the Earth's crust (Simon 1973, Lucas 1985). That is equivalent to about 1 gram of gold in 275 tons of rock.

Gold is considered one of the most important metals in jewelry making although it is so soft it is seldom used in its pure form. Gold has lustrous beauty, it’s easily workable and is virtually indestructible. Gold is inactive chemically and is not affected by air, heat, moisture and ordinary solvents.

Gold is chemically liquefied and injected into the muscles of thousands of rheumatoid arthritis victims around the globe with very high success rates.

The jewelry industry uses about 1,000 tons of gold per year and dentistry uses 87 tons.

Gold is used in window glass and astronaut helmets to reflect infrared rays while allowing sunlight to pass through, and at the same time keeping it cool.

The largest gold mine in the U.S. is the Homestake Mining Company in Lead, South Dakota.

At the start of the California gold rush there was no fixed price for the yellow metal. It was a supply and demand situation, with a fluctuating value between a low of $6 per ounce to a high of $18 per ounce. The price finally stabilized in 1854 at $16 per ounce with the opening of a branch of the United States Mint in San Francisco.
 
Periodic Table information:
Symbol=Au
Atomic Number=79
Atomic Weight=196.96
Melting Point=1337.33 degrees Kelvin
Melting point= 2,063 degrees Fahrenheit
Specific gravity is 19.32
Tensile strength=19,000psi
Hardness=2.75 on Mohs scale
Is one of the "Transition Metals"

Gold is weighed in a system of measurements called "Troy Measurements". Troy measurements are such that one pound (lb) is divided up into 12 Troy Ounces and each Troy Ounce is divided up into 20 units called Pennyweight (dwt).

Helpful Conversions
1 troy ounce  =  1.097 ordinary ounce
1 tonne   =  32,151 troy ounces
One Troy lb (pound)  =  12 troy ounces
One troy oz  =  20 pennyweight (dwt)
One troy oz  =  480 grains
One troy oz  =  33.3 grams
One pennyweight = 24 grains
Formula to convert grams to pennyweight ____grams X .6006006 = dwt

Formula to convert grams to Troy Ounces _____grams X .03003 = troy ounces

One mg (milligram) = 1/1000 g
One g (gram) = 1000 mg, 14.4 gr (grains)
One k (kilogram0 = 1000 g, 35 oz, 2.2 lbs.
One gr (grain0 = .65 g (grams)
One oz (ounce) = 38.35 g
One lb (pound) = 16 oz, 454 g, .45 k

The chemical symbol for gold is Au, from the Latin aurum, which means 'shining dawn'. Aurora was the Roman goddess of dawn which links to the warm, yellow colour of gold.

Gold and Copper are the only two non white coloured metals.

The purity of gold is measured in Carats. A Carat was originally a unit of mass (weight) based on the Carob seed or bean which was used by ancient merchants in the Mediterranean and Middle East when a carat became used as a measure of the purity of gold alloys. For gold a carot is used to measure the purity where pure gold is 24 carats.

The purity of gold articles is generally described in three ways:

South Africa leads the world in gold production. Other countries leading world production are Russia, Canada, the United States and Australia.
 
Gold Facts - Gold Information
In 1854 the largest gold nugget ever found was in California at Carson Hill above the Stanislaus River. It weighed 195 pounds and was valued at $43,534 in the currency of the day. Another large nugget was turned up by a wagon wheel in Australia (1869) and weighed 159 lbs.

In 1869 the name "Mother Lode" was coined and referred to only five counties: Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador and El Dorado. Actually more gold was later found in Placer, Nevada, Sierra and Plumas counties.

Gold can be transmitted from platinum by nuclear reaction.

The United States government banned private ownership of gold, which lasted 41 years; then lifted it on December 31, 1974.

A worldwide feeding frenzy for gold cannonballed its price to an all-time high of $850 per ounce on January 21, 1980.

Since being discovered in the Bronze age, gold has always been recycled. Thus your gold ring or dental filling may contain some gold that was mined in prehistoric times or formed part of a valued gold artifact in ancient civilizations. Today, at least 15% of annual gold consumption is recycled each year.

Gold Filled: Also called gold overlay, a layer of at least 10-karat gold permanently bonded by heat and pressure to one or more surfaces of a support metal, then rolled or drawn to a prescribed thickness. The karat gold must be at least 1/10 by weight of the total metal content.

Rolled Gold Plate: Material consisting of a layer of plating of 10-karat gold or better which is mechanically bonded to a base metal. The karat gold content may be less than 1/20 but must be properly identified by weight in terms of total metal content.

Vermeil: Gold at least 15- micro-inches thick, bonded to sterling silver by an electrolytic or mechanical process.

Gold Leaf: Pure gold that is pounded into sheets applied to other surfaces by hand. Usually about 3 micro-inches thick.

Gold ore with as little as 1 part gold to 300,000 parts of worthless material can be mined at a profit.

To calculate the cost of one gram of gold, divide the US dollar price for one troy ounce by 31.1035 (one fine troy ounce is equal to 31.1035 grams).

The market-clearing price of gold set twice a day in London is commonly referred to as the London fixing price (AM or PM). This price, which is the international benchmark price, is set in US dollars per fine troy ounce of gold.

The world average mining cost per troy ounce was around USD 235.00 in 2002 (based on figures published by Gold Field Mineral Services). These costs include depreciation and amortization but to get a true estimate one should add between 30 and 40 USD/ounce to cover exploration, head office costs and so on. However, costs vary widely between companies and the mines themselves.

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Legend has it, that the method of raising flags to fix the price of gold began in the following way. There was a man named Amshel who collected coins and lived in the ghettos of Frankfurt in the late 1700’s. Owing to his specialised knowledge, Amshel became the seeker of old coins for William IX of Hesse-Kassel. In 1805, impressed with the financial insight of Amshel’s son, Nathan, William IX entrusted him with a large portion of his wealth.

Rather than buying and selling coins as his father had done, Nathan decided to buy and sell gold bullion. Nathan allegedly commented that the only two people who understood the true value of gold were one of the directors of the Bank of England and an obscure clerk in the vault of the Banque de Paris and unfortunately they disagreed! Soon Nathan was receiving advance information from France through a series of carefully arranged flag signals from across the Channel.

As he was receiving his information much more quickly than other traders, he soon amassed a great fortune and a few years later he was dubbed a Baron by Francis I of Austria. That is why representatives from each of the five major bullion houses meet twice a day to raise and lower flags, as they fix the price of gold. This takes place at the offices of NM Rothschild, which was founded by Baron Nathan Mayer de Rothschild.

Gold is also one of the heaviest metals known and is six to seven times heavier than other materials of equal comparative size.  Gold has a specific gravity of 19.3, which means it weighs 19.3 times as much as an equal volume of water.

World official gold holding (September 2010)[10] Rank Country/Organization Gold
(tonnes) Gold's share
of national
forex reserves (%)[10]
-  Euro Area 10,793.4 58.1%

1  United States 8,133.5 72.1%
2  Germany 3,407.6 67.4%
3 IMF 2,907.0 -
4  Italy 2,451.8 66.2%
5  France 2,435.4 65.7%
6  China 1,054.1 1.5%
7  Switzerland 1,040.1 15.1%
8  Japan 765.2 2.7%
9  Russia 726.0 5.7%
10  Netherlands 612.5 55.8%
11  India 557.7 7.4%
12  ECB 501.4 25.9%
13  Taiwan 423.6 4.1%{
14  Portugal 382.5 79.6%
15  Venezuela 363.9 48.5%
16  Saudi Arabia 322.9 2.7%
17  United Kingdom 310.3 15.6%
18  Lebanon 286.8 25.2%
19  Spain 281.6 35.9%
20  Austria 280.0 54.3%
21  Belgium 227.5 33.8%
22  Philippines 175.9 13.5%
23  Algeria 173.6 4.2%
24  Libya 143.8 5.1%
25  Singapore 127.4 2.3%
26  Sweden 125.7 8.7%
27  South Africa 124.9 10.9%
28 BIS 120.0 -
29  Turkey 116.1 5.6%
30  Greece 111.7 76.5%
31  Romania 103.7 8.7%
32  Poland 102.9 4.2%
33  Thailand 99.5 2.5%
34  Australia 79.9 7.0%
35  Kuwait 79.0 -
36  Egypt 75.6 7.7%
37  Indonesia 73.1 3.5%
38  Kazakhstan 70.4 9.5%
39  Denmark 66.5 3.1%
40  Pakistan 64.4 14.9%
41  Argentina 54.7 4.0%
42  Finland 49.1 18.1%
43  Bulgaria 39.9 9.3%
44 WAEMU 36.5 11.1%
45  Malaysia 36.4 1.4%
46  Peru 34.7 3.6%
47  Brazil 33.6 0.5%
48  Slovakia 31.8 62.8%
49  Belarus 30.0 20.0%
50  Bolivia 28.3 12.6%
51  Ukraine 27.2 3.3%
52  Ecuador 26.3 25.6%
53  Syria 25.8 -
54  Morocco 22.0 4.2%
55  Nigeria 21.4 1.8%
56  Sri Lanka 15.3 11.1%
57  South Korea 14.4 0.2%
58  Cyprus 13.9 44.7%
59  Bangladesh 13.5 4.6%
60  Serbia 13.1 3.8%
61  Netherlands Antilles 13.1 36.4%
62  Jordan 12.8 3.9%
63  Czech Republic 12.7 1.2%
64  Cambodia 12.4 12.7%
65  Qatar 12.4 2.0%
66  Mexico 7.8 0.3%
67  Latvia 7.7 4.0%
68  El Salvador 7.3 9.9%
69 CEMAC 7.1 2.0%
70  Guatemala 6.9 4.5%
71  Colombia 6.9 1.0%
72  Macedonia 6.8 11.9%
73  Tunisia 6.8 2.6%
74  Ireland 6.0 10.4%
75  Lithuania 5.8 3.7%
76  Bahrain 4.7 -
77  Mauritius 4.0 6.5%
78  Tajikistan 3.5 -
79  Canada 3.4 0.2%
80  Slovenia 3.2 11.3%
81  Aruba 3.1 14.8%
82  Hungary 3.1 0.3%
83  Kyrgyzstan 2.6 6.2%
84  Luxembourg 2.2 10.8%
85  Hong Kong 2.1 0.0%
86  Iceland 2.0 1.6%
87  Papua New Guinea 2.0 2.8%
88  Suriname 1.9 9.4%
89  Albania 1.6 2.7%
90  Yemen 1.6 1.0%
91  Cameroon 0.9 1.0%
92  Mongolia 0.9 2.3%
93  Honduras 0.7 -
94  Paraguay 0.7 0.6%
95  Dominican Republic 0.6 0.8%
96  Gabon 0.4 0.7%
97  Malawi 0.4 5.6%
98  Mauritania 0.4 6.0%
99  Central African Republic 0.3 6.8%
100  Chad 0.3 2.7%
101  Republic of the Congo 0.3 0.3%
102  Uruguay 0.3 0.1%
103  Fiji 0.2 -
104  Estonia 0.2 0.3%
105  Chile 0.2 0.0%
106  Malta 0.2 1.7%
107  Costa Rica 0.1 0.1%
108  Haiti 0.0 0.2%
109  Burundi 0.0 0.4%
- World 30,535.6 -

Privately held gold
As of October 2009, gold exchange-traded funds held 1,750 tonnes of gold for private and institutional investors.

Gold Holdings Corp. a publicly listed gold company estimates that the amount of in-ground verified gold resources currently controlled by publicly traded gold mining companies is roughly 50,000 tonnes.

Privately held gold Rank Organization Gold (Tonnes) Reference
1 SPDR Gold Trust 1,305.69 [13]
2 iShares Gold Trust 99.72 [14]
3 Central Fund's Net Asset Value 46.79 [15]
4 BullionVault (storage) 21.45 [16]
5 GoldMoney (storage) 16.22 [17]

World gold holdings
World gold holdings (2008) (Source: World Gold Council[18]) Holding Percentage
Jewelry 52%
Central banks 18%
Investment (bars, coins) 16%
Industrial 12%
Unaccounted 2%

Monetary exchange

Gold has been widely used throughout the world as a vehicle for monetary exchange, either by issuance and recognition of gold coins or other bare metal quantities, or through gold-convertible paper instruments by establishing gold standards in which the total value of issued money is represented in a store of gold reserves.

However, the amount of gold in the world is finite and production has not grown in relation to the world's economies. Today, gold mining output is declining.[10] With the sharp growth of economies in the 20th century, and increasing foreign exchange, the world's gold reserves and their trading market have become a small fraction of all markets and fixed exchange rates of currencies to gold were no longer sustained. At the beginning of World War I the warring nations moved to a fractional gold standard, inflating their currencies to finance the war effort. After World War II gold was replaced by a system of convertible currency following the Bretton Woods system. Gold standards and the direct convertibility of currencies to gold have been abandoned by world governments, being replaced by fiat currency in their stead. Switzerland was the last country to tie its currency to gold; it backed 40% of its value until the Swiss joined the International Monetary Fund in 1999.

Pure gold is too soft for day-to-day monetary use and is typically hardened by alloying with copper, silver or other base metals. The gold content of alloys is measured in carats (k). Pure gold is designated as 24k. Gold coins intended for circulation from 1526 into the 1930s were typically a standard 22k alloy called crown gold, for hardness.


Jewelry


Moche gold necklace depicting feline heads. Larco Museum Collection. Lima-PeruBecause of the softness of pure (24k) gold, it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties.

Alloys with lower caratage, typically 22k, 18k, 14k or 10k, contain higher percentages of copper, or other base metals or silver or palladium in the alloy. Copper is the most commonly used base metal, yielding a redder color. Eighteen-carat gold containing 25% copper is found in antique and Russian jewelry and has a distinct, though not dominant, copper cast, creating rose gold. Fourteen-carat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, and both may be used to produce police, as well as other, badges.

Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron and purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium, although rarely done except in specialized jewelry. Blue gold is more brittle and therefore more difficult to work with when making jewelry. Fourteen and eighteen carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. White gold alloys can be made with palladium or nickel.

White 18-carat gold containing 17.3% nickel, 5.5% zinc and 2.2% copper is silvery in appearance. Nickel is toxic, however, and its release from nickel white gold is controlled by legislation in Europe. Alternative white gold alloys are available based on palladium, silver and other white metals,[13] but the palladium alloys are more expensive than those using nickel. High-carat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver. The Japanese craft of Mokume-gane exploits the color contrasts between laminated colored gold alloys to produce decorative wood-grain effects.