Since the earliest days of man, gold has mesmerized us. References to gold fever, the gold bug, and gold rushes all underline this precious metal’s ability to affect our reason and drive our passions. Simple people have coveted it, despots have hoarded it, and prospectors have spent their lives seeking it.
Very often, gold ends up on display as jewelry, and many have outdone themselves working to have the most impressive collection of exquisite gold to wear as crowns, necklaces, rings and other adornments. These characteristics make gold one of mankind’s most intriguing physical possessions, and creates a mystique no other item equals.
Mansa Musa is considered by historians to have been the wealthiest man who ever lived, primarily because of the amount of gold he possessed. In fact, on a visit to Egypt he gave away so much gold he destroyed the national economy, and it took a century for it to recover.
Below are 10 facts about this metal that make it even more unique and desirable:
- All the gold ever mined can be compressed into one 18-yard cube. Most people consider this the most amazing fact about gold, especially considering all the pictures of gold jewelry through history, as well as the hoards in such places as Fort Knox.
- More steel is poured in the world every hour than all gold poured in recorded history. This underlines the rarity of this precious metal.
- Of all the gold in the world, 80 percent was recovered since the California discoveries of 1849. More than half of the world’s gold supply has come from South Africa in the past century.
- Every human has gold in their blood, as much as .2 milligrams. Liquefied gold is used in a number of medical procedures, and further medical uses of gold are the subject of ongoing research.
- Gold is so malleable it can be hammered into sheets thin enough to stack more than 200,000 of them into a pile no higher than one inch.
- Gold is edible. Contrary to most other metals, gold is an acceptable, albeit expensive, garnish to some of the world’s fanciest desserts and specialty cuisine.
- Earthquakes can turn water into gold. According to the latest research, the water that exists between faults will often vaporize under immense heat and pressure during an earthquake, facilitating small deposits of silica, and nanoparticles of gold.
- It is possible to get more gold from recycling a ton of personal computers than from 17 tons of gold ore, and one ton of cell phones produces more recycled gold than an equal amount of gold ore.
- It is estimated that at least 20 million tons of gold are suspended in the world’s oceans. Unfortunately, the costs of reclaiming this gold greatly exceed its current market value.
- If all the gold contained in the earth’s core could be extracted, it would provide a covering of the entire world at least 1.5 feet thick. As with the gold in the oceans, this vast supply is inaccessible to today’s technology.