What is Gold

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au, from the Latin word "aurum" which means "shining dawn". It is a soft, dense, yellow metal that is highly valued for its rarity, beauty, and resistance to corrosion. Gold has been used for currency, jewelry, and decoration for thousands of years, and it remains a symbol of wealth and power to this day. The value of gold is determined by supply and demand factors, as well as investor sentiment. As a limited resource, gold is rare and expensive to mine, which increases its value. Additionally, gold is seen as a safe haven asset during times of economic uncertainty, as it is not subject to inflation or market fluctuations in the same way as stocks or currencies.

Throughout history, gold has been used to create ornamental objects, shrines, idols, and jewelry. The Greeks and Romans also valued gold, with both Plato and Aristotle writing about the precious metal and its origins.

The first known interaction between humans and gold dates back to the ancient Egyptians around 3,000 BC. Gold was highly valued by early civilizations, often associated with gods, royalty, and immortality. The Egyptians mined gold in Nubia around 2450 BC, and by 2000 BC, they began using gold as the first official medium of exchange for international trade.

History of Gold

Gold has been prized by humans since ancient times. The earliest known gold artifacts date back to 4,600 BC in Bulgaria, and gold was used as currency in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. During the Middle Ages, gold was used to create elaborate religious art and ornaments, and during the Renaissance, it became a popular material for jewelry and fashion.

In the 19th century, gold rushes occurred in California, South Africa, and Australia, leading to a surge in gold mining and production. Today, gold is mined all over the world, with the largest producers being China, Australia, Russia, and the United States.

Characteristics and Properties of Gold

Gold is element 79 on the periodic table, with the symbol Au derived from the Latin word "Aurum," meaning shining dawn. Gold is one of the densest metals, an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and is highly malleable and ductile. An ounce of gold (31.1 grams) can be beaten out to 187 square feet in extremely thin sheets called gold leaf.

Purity and Color

Pure gold is naturally yellow, but it is too soft to be used for jewelry. To increase its strength and durability, gold is alloyed with other metals, resulting in different karat weights and colors. The most common colors of gold used in jewelry and mens gold wedding bands are yellow, white, and rose gold.


Gold is highly resistant to corrosion and tarnish, which makes it an ideal material for jewelry, coins, and other decorative items. It is also very durable, as it does not rust or decay over time.

Karat Weight of Gold

Gold's purity is measured in karats, with 24 karats being pure gold. The most common karat weights used in jewelry are 10k, 14k, 18k, and 24k. Each karat weight has its benefits and disadvantages:

  • Gold in its pure form (24k) is too soft for everyday wear, which is why it is alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to improve its strength and resilience. The most common gold mixtures for jewelry are 14k and 18k, offering the perfect balance between rich color, durability, and affordability.
  • 18k gold contains 75% gold and 25% alloyed metals. This higher gold content gives 18k pieces a deeper yellow tone and a higher price tag, often signifying a higher quality piece of jewelry. While 18k gold is still suitable for everyday wear, it may require more care than 14k gold due to its softer nature.
  • 14k gold contains 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloyed metals, making it an ideal choice for those with active lifestyles. It offers good scratch resistance and is the most popular option for engagement rings and wedding bands in the United States, accounting for about 90% of gold jewelry sales.
  • 10k Gold contains 41.7% gold and is the most affordable option. This is the most durable form of gold, but is mostly made up of other metal alloys.

The Facts on Gold

  • Gold has been used by ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, who adorned their pharaohs' tombs with gold artifacts, and the Incas, who referred to gold as the "sweat of the sun."
  • Gold is incredibly malleable, meaning it can be hammered into thin sheets without breaking. A single gram of gold can be flattened into a sheet covering an area of one square meter.
  • Gold is also highly ductile, allowing it to be drawn into extremely thin wires without snapping. This property makes it ideal for use in delicate electronic components and jewelry.
  • Gold is chemically inert, meaning it does not react with most substances and does not tarnish or corrode over time. This makes it perfect for creating long-lasting jewelry and coins.
  • Gold is a rare element, with only around 171,300 tons of gold estimated to exist above ground. This scarcity contributes to its high value and status as a symbol of wealth and prosperity.
  • Symbolism: Gold is often associated with luck, prosperity, and wealth, making it a popular choice for awards, medals, and religious artifacts.

14k vs 18k Gold, Which Karat is Best?

Karat Weight The Advantages The Disadvantages
14k Gold Durability: 14k gold is more durable than 18k gold due to its higher percentage of alloy metals, making it more resistant to scratches and dents. Lower gold content: 14k gold has a lower percentage of gold (58.5%) compared to 18k gold, which may be less desirable for some people.
Affordability: 14k gold is generally less expensive than 18k gold, making it a more budget-friendly option for wedding bands. Potentially allergenic: Some 14k gold alloys contain nickel, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
18k Gold Richer color: 18k gold has a richer, more vibrant color due to its higher gold content, especially in yellow and rose gold varieties. More expensive: 18k gold is generally more expensive than 14k gold due to its higher gold content.
Hypoallergenic: 18k gold typically contains fewer alloy metals, reducing the likelihood of allergic reactions for those with metal sensitivities. Less durable: 18k gold is softer and more prone to scratches and dents compared to 14k gold.

Gold Ring Care and Maintenance

Gold does not tarnish or corrode, making it an attractive metal for wedding bands. However, it can scratch, so it is essential to take proper care of your gold ring. To maintain its shine and luster, clean your gold ring regularly with a soft cloth and mild soap. Avoid wearing your gold ring during activities that may cause scratches or damage, such as sports or manual labor.