Fast Facts: Gold

  • A single ounce of gold can be spun into a strand 50 miles long.

  • It’s been estimated that up to 75% of the world’s gold is made into jewelry. The remaining 25% is divided between industrial and monetary uses.

  • The 3 countries that buy the most gold jewelry: India, China, and the US.

  • The largest nugget of gold ever found was the “Welcome Stranger” discovered in Australia in 1869. It weighed over 170 pounds rough and yielded 156 pounds of pure gold.

  • Nearly half of all the mined gold in the world has come from South Africa.

  • The first gold discovered by Europeans in the United States wasn’t during the California Gold Rush. The find was made in Georgeville, North Carolina in 1803 at the Reed Gold Mine.

  • The oldest known gold artifacts were made by the ancient Thracians around 4000 BC. Huge treasure troves of gold jewelry have been in unearthed in the ancient burial sites of Varna, Bulgaria.

  • The first gold coins were made in Lydia, an ancient kingdom in what is today Turkey. The legend of King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold, was based on a real king of this wealthy empire.

  • Did you know that gold is edible? The gold leafing used in specialty deserts is the real thing. Some alcoholic drinks are embellished with gold dust. Only compounds such as gold chloride have potentially toxic effects.

  • That bit of gold in your wedding band? It probably started out in the heart of a dying star. The element gold forms when a neutron star goes supernova, exploding its contents into space. It is believed that earth’s gold was delivered by massive collisions during the planet’s formation. Pretty romantic, huh?

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