The yellow metal is not only alluring to the eyes but is also the basis on which the global economy works- to a large extent. But this significant metal has some pretty peculiar facts associated with it. Check them out right here.
1. Almost all the gold on earth came from outer space
Gold is the collective obsession of people on this planet- particularly true with Indians. However, almost all the gold on earth are from meteorites that crashed into our planet more than 4 billion years ago. The entire gold on earth would come up to 12 feet, covering the entire surface of the earth!
2. The Olympic gold medal isn’t all golden
The Olympic Committee ceased making 24k gold medals in 1912. The reason was obvious: the practice was too cost-intensive to continue. Afterwards, the gold medals are just covered with six grams of the metal.
3. Gold as a killing weapon
On the other end of the spectrum from India’s cultural take on gold as a symbol of life-enriching prosperity is the use of gold as a killing tool. Execution by pouring molten gold down someone’s throat has been recorded in the time of the Roman empire and also during the Spanish Inquisition. Also, in 1599 a Spanish governor in Ecuador met his death this way. His taxation rules irritated the Jivaro tribe so much that they killed him with gold.
4. There’s a gold-vending machine in Abu Dhabi
As we all have come to know over the past decade or so, certain parts of the middle-east are hell-bent on redefining luxury while certain other parts are hell. And it seems like they do that every other day. One great instance of this came in May 2010 when the world’s first gold vending machine was unveiled. The machine, which is covered in 24-karat gold is in a super-luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi.
5. Scientists estimate that 80% of the world’s gold remains undiscovered
About 75% of the entire gold used in the world today came due to exactions happening since 1910. That leaves a whole lotta gold out there yet to be discovered.
6. India still remains the top gold consumer in the world
No surprises there, given how gold is not just a commodity in India but also a symbol of prosperity, intrinsically linked with its culture. The annual consumption of and investment in gold for India came to 842.7 tonnes in 2014. China came a close second with 813.6 tonnes. Also, the gold jewellery of South Asia is usually of greater purity(22 karats) than that of the Western world (14 karats).
7. All the gold we have mined will only fill three Olympic-sized swimming pools
Granted that Olympic-sized is pretty huge. And three Olympic-sized swimming pools definitely sounds impressive. Or rather, it would have if not for the fact that- come on! just three swimming pools could contain all the gold in the world!
8. Medieval Europeans had one of the most curious “uses” of gold
The Bubonic plague- dubbed the “Black Death” was one of the most gruesome devastations Europe ever faced. Not only was the number of deaths high, the manner of death was excruciatingly painful. The incident having happened before the age of modern medicine, one theory that gained traction was that drinking molten gold mixed with crushed emerald would cure the disease. A fake cure for the aristocracy?
9. Golden threads were sometimes used in garments
Just an ounce of gold can make a thread that’s a 80 kms long. In fact, golden threads are not unheard of. Owing to gold’s conducting properties(both with electricity and heat) it has uses in industrial applications.Golden threads were also used in medieval tapestries and also the robes of Chinese courtiers.
10. Gold is used to make astronaut’s helmets
Gold comes full circle from being something from outer space to finding application in space exploration. The astronaut’s helmet is tinted with gold so that it will reflect harmful infrared rays while at the same time allowing sunlight in. This also helps keep the inside of the helmet cool.
11. Gold can be used to treat arthritis
It was in a medical study conducted in France during the early twentieth century that it was found that injecting ionic chemical compounds of gold can be useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s been found that the option works only in some patients (the reason for this is unknown) and can have long-term side effects. Of course, it’s pretty expensive as well.
12. Completely pure gold can be moulded with your hands
Yes, it’s that soft. Alas, Most of us will never know how it feels like!
India lost the tag of the “World’s most gold consuming nation” to China in 2013, only to rebound and come out on top in the very next year. And predictions are that we will retain the tag for this year as well. For a metal with so many curious facts, we remain a curiously obsessed nation.
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