What do you know about gold, other than the streets will be paved with it at the pearly gates and that there’s a big pot of it at the end of rainbows? Well there’s a lot more to gold than you may realize, and we at ItsHot.com are going to educate you.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word gold? For most people, royalty comes to mind...the word itself just sounds rich. Can’t you just picture golden thrones and crowns with diamonds on it!
Well the reality is, we have been using gold for monetary and aesthetic purposes since before written history. It’s hard to put an exact date of when gold was first mined, but from history, we do know that the Egyptians, Ancient Romans, and Greeks developed financial and commodity trading based on its value. Egyptian royalty tombs were made of gold and in knowing that, it allows us to at least date it back 7000 years ago.
- James Dyegold.
Today the world's markets set their standards of worth based specifically on gold costs. Because of the softness of pure gold (24K), it is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry. This alters its hardness and ductility, melting point, color, and other properties. Alloys with lower karats, (18k, 14k or 10k), typically contain higher percentages of copper, silver, palladium, and other base metals in the alloy.
Since ancient times, the purity of gold has been defined by the term karat, which is 1/24 part of pure gold by weight. Pure gold is equivalent to 24k. Gold used in jewelry manufacturing is not, for all intents and purposes, "pure gold".
Most jewelry (industrial and medical grade gold items), is not "pure gold". They are alloys with high gold content. In other words, it’s close, but no cigar! The amount of mass of the material that is actually pure gold is called its "fineness". Thus 10k gold is 10k fine. Same properties apply to 14k and 18k Gold.
Gold is used in jewelry manufacturing because of its pliability. Pliability means that it is easily molded into hundreds of designs. It will not rust, tarnish or corrode. Rust comes from oxygen mixing with iron, so that means that when gold is mixed with other metals such as iron, copper, silver, or aluminum, iron is the only metal that rusts. Meanwhile, the copper, silver, and aluminum will tarnish.
Gold does none of that. Gold will look like it’s tarnishing, but discoloration is actually what’s happening. It’s not the gold having a reaction from the oxygen and environment over time. Gold is actually an element that reacts with very few elements.
As far as the environment and different energies are concerned, your gold would have to experience quite a bit environmental force to have a reaction. Halogen and acids are the few elements that do react with gold.
Gold jewelry recovered from ancient Egyptian tombs is in the same state as when placed there over 4000 years ago. This does not mean it is impervious to damage. Chlorine will ruin the color of gold so do not swim in chlorinated swimming pools or salt water. Regular upkeep is recommended, but not too often. Polishing gold wears it away.
Now that we’ve explained the history and science portion of gold, let’s take a quick look at the fashion aspect of gold.
When wearing jewelry (in general), you want each accessory to shine, especially when it comes to wearing gold, and we here at ItsHot.com are here to give you the gold pieces you need to stand out from the rest.
When wearing gold, you want to have a statement piece. Rings that are bold and chunky definitely are sure to turn heads and be the focus of your look. Experimenting with the different colors of gold are also a way to keep your look from being predictable or “typical.”
There are so many colors of gold to choose from that can give your wardrobe an entirely different look. There is rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold, to name a few. For instance, if you’re wearing a dark brown dress, rose gold accessories would really stand out against the dark brown.
Now that you are a gold connoisseur, in all aspects, you can put your mind at ease during your gold selection process. Be sure to look for a 10k or 416 (for 10 karat jewelry). 14k or 585 (for 14 karat jewelry). 18k or 750 stamp (for 18 karat jewelry) on your jewelry. This will ensure you get the highest quality gold products.
History of Gold
Our fascination with gold has gone on for centuries. There is no exact date as to when this fascination started or who exactly first discovered gold and made it a thing of wonder and adornment, but there is some evidence that there was some human interaction with gold beginning around 3000 B.C. with the ancient Egyptians. Even during that time, the Egyptians knew the importance and value of gold. Gold played a very important role in Egyptian history and mythology.
Did you know the Egyptians created the first measurement of how much silver has a lower value than gold? According to the Egyptians, it would take two and a half parts of silver to equal to one piece of gold. Surprisingly enough, the Egyptians didn’t use gold as a form of money or trade. They instead opted to use agricultural items as a form of currency.
As the years progressed in history, the ancient Greeks began to discover gold. For the Greeks, they looked at gold as a symbol of social status and wealth. Gold was also glorified amongst the gods. Unlike, the Egyptians, the Greeks actually did use gold as a form of currency.
Gold is also mentioned in the Bible, stating that Havilah is where the good gold can be found and that the genuineness of one’s faith is more precious than gold.
The U.S. and Gold
In 1792, the United States passed the Mint and Coinage Act. This was a historical event that changed the history of gold. This act established a fixed price of gold converted to U.S. dollars...this made gold and silver coins legal in the United States.
During this time, gold was 15 times more valuable than silver. Because of this, the U.S. Mint made it a requirement that silver and gold had to be sold and bought at a rate of 15 parts silver to 1 part gold. Silver’s primary purpose was for smaller purchases, while gold was for the larger purchases.
This rate was changed after the Civil War because the U.S. wasn’t able to completely pay off all it’s debts in gold or silver. With this debt at hand, it was declared in 1862 that paper money would be the new form of currency.
A few years after that, silver was completely removed from the U.S. Mint’s fixed rate system through the Coinage Act of 1873. This act took the silver dollar out of circulation and American citizens criticized it calling it the “Crime of ‘73.” From then on, the United States never used silver dollars again.
The 1800s is when the famous gold rushes began. People from all over were on the hunt for the gold. It was said that a single nugget of gold could make someone a millionaire. With that information out there, people were looking to change their lives and the lives of their families by uprooting their families and moving to popular locations where gold had been spotted. The big gold rushes included:
- North Carolina: This is where the first major gold rush happened after a young boy discovered a gold nugget, weighing in at a whopping 17 pounds. This massive gold nugget was discovered in Cabarrus County of North Carolina.
- California: San Francisco is the exact location of another major gold rush. This particular gold rush happened around 1848 and on into 1849. When gold was discovered there, the overall population went from roughly 1,000 people to 25,000 people, over the course of two years. The famous Bay area was so populated that the harbors were full of empty boats because no one wanted to move away and miss their opportunity of becoming a millionaire. *Fun Fact* Did you know that the San Francisco 49ers football team is named after this famous gold rush, which took place in 1849.
- Klondike: Gold was discovered in the Klondike River in the Yukon Territory of the north-western region of Canada. It was said to have had 100,000 prospectors that fought the elements to retrieve their fortune.
- Australia: There were several major gold rushes in Australia. When gold was discovered there, it helped populate certain empty areas of the outback. It was Edward Hargraves who claimed he discovered payable gold. He learned gold prospecting techniques of panning and cradling in California and brought those techniques with him to Australia.
This is a broad time frame to cover, but in the name of gold, it’ll be short and sweet. So at this point, we’ve had both world wars. These wars did a good amount of damage to the gold standard and financial markets. To add insult to injury, the Great Depression happened in the middle of all the world’s chaos.
With the world experiencing the wars as well as conflict and devastation, it was time for a change. With this change, world leaders came together under a system called the Bretton Woods Agreements. This system created a standard of gold exchange where the price of gold was fixed to the U.S. dollar. This was something that had never been done before, but proved to be one of the greatest decisions in U.S. history.
In the mid 1900s, gold had a fixed rate of 35 dollars per ounce, but when the Vietnam War hit, the standard for the gold exchange met its demise, leaving America’s budget in destruction. America’s budget was in so much destruction that President Nixon terminated the Bretton Woods Agreements. His decision was forever known as the “Nixon Shock.”
There is not a country in the world today that uses a gold standard, since 2014. In fact, the last form of currency to use a gold standard was a Swiss Franc, and that was used up until 2000. Now, just because there is no longer a gold standard, that doesn’t mean that currencies aren’t backed by anything. Most countries have gold preserves in case of world emergencies. America’s gold reserves are at Fort Knox in Kentucky. No one really knows how much gold is stored there...it has been deemed as “classified.”
We can look throughout history and see that gold is an exceptionally luxurious and valuable metal, as well as appreciate it for playing such a huge influential role in human history.