Even the most avid gold buyers know but won’t say that gold should not be nearly as valuable as it is. It is not necessary for health, unlike other metals such as iron and copper. It doesn’t even conduct electricity as well as silver. When a metal is needed for something, most of them can do the job better than gold.
Gold Is Valuable Because It’s Beautiful
Gold will always be valuable because it’s beautiful, and it stays beautiful. The death mask of the Egyptian King Tutankhamun is 3,000 years old. Still, it only needed to be polished up a bit to bring out the luster of its gold. The same is true of doubloons that have spent centuries in the ocean in the hulls of sunken Spanish galleons. Gold does not tarnish or corrode. It does not readily form compounds and can be found in its free state. When the first humans found these beautiful nuggets lying in stream beds, they no doubt thought there was something special, and even otherworldly about them. Gold is also scarce, but not as scarce as metals like palladium or rhodium.
Besides its beauty, gold is also very soft. This is where it has an edge over other metals, because it is the most malleable and ductile metal. It is able to be beaten into very thin sheets and drawn into very fine wire. Gold’s softness allows it to be formed into just about any shape, but it is actually too soft for jewelry that is worn every day. Because of this, gold is alloyed with other metals such as nickel, copper and silver to make it stronger. It is also used in glassmaking, medicine, printing, photography, fashion and art. The exchange of cash for gold is a common practice, with people taking old gold jewelry or other items to gold buyers for money.
The Gold Standard
Gold has been used as a standard of value for money in many civilizations until fairly recently. The gold standard meant that a stated amount of gold could be obtained for paper money, not just at a gold buyer’s but at a bank or national treasury. Most countries went off the gold standard during the 20th century, especially during the years of the Depression. Still, many countries still have gold reserves. Canada’s gold reserves are small compared to other countries, as Canada sold off much of its gold reserves in 2016.
Greed For Gold
Humans have lusted after gold for millennia. There are many stories of alchemists who tried to turn base metals like lead into gold during the Middle Ages. The Spanish conquistadors’ quest for gold in the New World is legendary as is the great Klondike Gold Rush that occurred in the Yukon Territory at the very last years of the 19th century.