Gold is a unique metal. It is valued not just for its rarity, but also for its range of lovely colours, the distinctive character of its soft metallic glow, its resistance to tarnish, and its easy workability. Gold is so soft and malleable that one-ounce can be stretched into a wire 50 miles long, or hammered into a sheet so thin it covers 100 square feet.
- In its pure form, gold is a shiny yellow metal and is relatively inactive chemically. The chemical symbol for gold, Au, is derived from its Latin name, aurum. With a specific gravity of 19.4, it is also one of the heaviest of the common metals – more than twice as heavy as silver or lead. Because gold is chemically inert, it resists oxidation and other changes which diminish the brilliance of other metals.
- Countless ancient artifacts attest to gold’s popularity and versatility. The most malleable and ductile of all metals, gold has invited the highest skills of artisans and craftsmen all through the ages. For thousands of years, gold has been formed into articles of ornamentation, into religious icons and talismans, and, of course, shaped and formed into currency.