Gold digger in traditional dress by river bed

Gold Prospector Credit: Deposit Photos

Gold is one of the most revered and fascinating materials ever discovered. In writing about and handling gold every day, we’ve come across some interesting facts about this wonderful noble metal. Here are just a few fun facts about gold we thought we’d share:

Facts About The Discovery of Gold


  1.  Gold has been discovered on every continent on earth
  2.  It has been mined for over 5,000 years
  3.  Alluvial Gold is gold found in river beds
  4.  Gold nuggets are solid lumps of gold but are so rare they only form 2% of gold that has been found
  5.  One gold nugget weighing one troy ounce would be a rarer find than a 5-carat diamond.
  6.  The two largest gold nuggets ever found have come from Victoria, Australia. The largest is called ‘The Hand of Faith’ and can be viewed in The Golden Casino, Las Vegas. It was found with a metal detector.
  7.  An estimated 9-10 billion tonnes of gold is in the sea which is diluted so much that would cost too much to extract
  8.  The largest store of gold, though, could be in outer space. It is believed that, throughout history, most gold on earth arrived via meteores. It has been estimated that just one meteore, Psyche 16, contains hundreds of quintillions of dollars worth of gold.
  9.  Gold particles have been found in the leaves of eucalyptus trees in Austrailia
  10.  40% of all gold has come from South African rocks
  11.  In 1948, gold nuggets were found in a river bed in Sacramento, California. Many people, mostly men, flocked to the area to try to discover their fortune. The Californian Gold Rush was born.
  12.  The Californian Gold Rush was an important event in America’s history. The many men that flocked to the area in 1949 became known as the 49ers.
  13.  Nearly 90% of all gold mined has been mined SINCE the Californian gold rush
  14.  In 1885 a man called George Harrison was digging the foundations for his house in Johanessburg, South Africa when he found gold. This started the South African gold rush
  15.  The chemical element for gold is Au which comes from the Latin word Aurum
  16.  The aztec words for gold translates to “excrement of the gods” 
  17.  The word “bullion” comes from the word “boil”. This is what they had to do to gold to remove the impurities
  18.  Pyrite is called “Fools Gold”, and has tricked many discoverers, but the upside was, Pyrite is often found near real gold.
  19.  Palladium is now more expensive than gold (this has only happened since 2018)
  20.  A carat (or karat) is a measure of the purity of gold against other metal alloys within a piece

Gold mine Australia

Mining trucks at the Super Pit gold mine, Western Australia Credit: Deposit Photos

Fun Facts About The Physical Properties of Gold

  1.  The melting point of gold is 1,064 degrees celsius. 
  2.  The boiling point is 2,808 centigrade
  3.  Welsh Gold is considered very rare and is no longer mined
  4.  Gold is a non-reactive metal (the most non-reactive) and doesn’t rust
  5.  Gold conducts heat and electricity extremely well and is therefore used in the electronics industry
  6.  Gold is one of the only metals that is naturally yellow
  7.  Gold can be created in different colours, such as White Gold and Red or Rose Gold, by adding other metals called alloys
  8.  Can be stretched to form wire thread – one ounce can be stretched 50 miles. 
  9.  Gold can also be hammered to form sheets – one ounce can be made into a sheet measuring 9 metres square
  10.  Pure gold is soft that it can be moulded by hand

Facts about Humans and Gold

  1.  The average human body contains 0.2mg gold
  2.  It is edible – but doesn’t get digested
  3.  Gold can be injected to relieve pain for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis
  4.  It has been used in teeth for hundreds of years
  5.  Nearly 80% of the annual gold supply is made into jewellery
  6.  Astronauts helmets have a thin, transparent layer of gold over the visor to protec their eyes from the glare of the sun
  7.  Tutankhamen’s tomb contained over 1.5 tonnes of gold. His death mask was made from pure gold.
  8.  Elvis Presley had a car where most of the components were gold plated, including nuts and bots and the registration plate.
  9.  Aurophobia is a fear of gold

Facts About Gold Coins & Medals

1912 Gold Medal

Credit: Christophe951912 Summer Olympics gold medalCC BY-SA 4.0 Source: Wikimedia Commons

  1.  The first gold coins were made between 700-500 BC
  2.  Julius Cesaer gave each of his soldiers 200 gold coins after they defeated Gaul in war
  3.  The 1933 Double Eagle $20 coin was created. Only 20 of these coins were made. One sold at Southeby’s in 2002 for $7.89 million. It is illegal to own one of these coins as the USA government have said it’s illegal to own something that was never released to the public. A number of them are still in existence but cannot be located. 
  4.  The worlds largest gold coin is 80 cm wide and weighs a ton, was made by the Perth Mint in 2012
  5.  Gold medals were made of solid gold until 1912 when the last gold medal were awarded at the Olympics (just before the breakout of World War One). Nowadays they are made from silver but must contain at least 6 grammes of pure gold
  6.  The Nobel Prize is still made from gold. Although it was made in 23-carat gold up until 1980 it is now made in 18-carat gold and coated in 23-carat gold.
  7.  The United States Bullion Depository used to hold a a large part of the USA gold reserve (around 50% of the country’s gold deposits). It was situated next to Fort Knox, which is a US Army reserve, but became known and thought of as the place that held the gold reserves. The Depository was made of concrete, granite, reinforced steel and structural steel. It is so heavily guarded – with 30,000 soldiers, a minefield and 20-tonne vault doors as well as surveillance drones. No one single person has the combination to the safes at Fort Knox. It has never even been attempted to be broken into. Indeed, security there is so tight that only one USA President, Franklin Roosevelt, has been into the vaults.

Fort Knox Sign

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