Atomic number: 79
Year discovered: Known since ancient times.
Discovered by: Unknown
- Gold was known and highly valued from ancient times.
- Egyption inscriptions dating back to 2600 B.C. describe gold and it is mentioned several times in the Old Testament.
- Gold is usually alloyed in jewelry to give it more strength, and the term carat describes the amount of gold present (24 carats is pure gold).
- It is estimated that all the gold in the world, so far refined, could be placed in a single cube 60 feet on each side.
- It is metallic, with a yellow color when in a mass, but when finely divided it may be black, ruby, or purple.
- It is the most malleable and ductile metal; someone estimated that one ounce (28 g) of gold can be beaten out to 300 square feet.
- Since it is a soft metal, it is usually alloyed to give it more strength.
- It is a good conductor of heat and electricity, and is unaffected by air and most reagents.
- Gold is found free in nature and associated with quartz, pyrite and other minerals.
- Two thirds of the world’s supply comes from South Africa, and two thirds of USA production is from South Dakota and Nevada.
- Gold is found in sea water, but no effective economic process has been designed (yet) to extract it from this source.
Name in other languages:
Information about other elements may be seen at this Chemical Elements List.
A special unit about words that include chemo-, chem- may be seen here.