One of the most unreactive metals in the periodic table of elements. Alchemists used to call gold one of the "noble" metals because of its resistance to oxidation under most normal circumstances. Its chemical symbol is Au, short for Aurum, which is Latin for gold.

Gold has many varied uses which range from ornaments to jewellery to electronics to spacecraft to medicine.

Physical characteristics
Gold is relatively soft -- pure gold is indentable by the pressure of human teeth.

It is also the most malleable and ductile of all metals -- one ounce of pure gold can be pounded into a thin sheet of metal measuring 300 square feet and can be drawn into a thin wire 5 miles long.

Gold is the most reflective and least absorptive material of infrared (heat) energy -- high purity gold reflects up to 99% of infrared rays. Gold is also an excellent conductor of thermal energy or heat -- a 35% gold alloy is used in the main engine nozzle of the Space Shuttle, where temperatures can reach 3300° centigrade.

The specific gravity or density of pure gold is 19.3 compared to 14.0 for mercury and 11.4 for lead.

Gold mining
Gold is scarce and occurs naturally as impure gold, with a density of between 16 to 18. The rock that gold is commonly found in has a density of about 2 to 3. The difference in density enables gold to be separated from clay, silt, sand, and gravel by agitating with devices such as the gold pan (panning for gold), rocker, and sluicebox.

Gold is often recovered from ore by reacting with mercury which forms an amalgam with gold. Gold is extracted from the amalgam by heating the amalgam to remove the mercury. Cyanide is sometimes used for extracting gold from low grade ores.

Karats and purity
Not to be confused with carats (a measure of the weight of precious stones), a Karat (K) is a measure of the fineness or purity of gold expressed as a fraction of 24. Pure gold is thus 24K. Gold used in jewellery ranges from 9K to 22K. Pure gold tends not to be used very much in jewellery because it is too soft. Asians tend to prefer the higher Karat golds because they seem to value the intrinsic value of it more whereas 9K gold, which is relatively unpopular in Asian countries, is commonly found in jewellery in Western countries.

Gold medals are used to denote the winner in sports events such as the Olympics. A gold credit card shows a certain level of spending.

It has been estimated that ALL the gold ever mined throughout human history up to today only amounts to about 150,000 tons. Did you know all this would, if melted together, only make one solid cube about 30m on each side? Yes, it is that rare.

Once regarded as money, gold has been relegated to the level of a "barbarous relic" and the price of gold has been in a downward bear market for about 20 years since the spike to US$800/ounce in 1980 until the action got interesting recently...

Goldbugs can catch in on the commentary everyday at the Gold Discussion Forum at at

Some figures:
Symbol - Au
Atomic Number - 79
Atomic Weight - 196.96655
Melting Point - 1064.43°C (1337.5801 K, 1947.9741°F)
Boiling Point - 2807.0°C (3080.15 K, 5084.6°F)
Specific Gravity - 19.32

Pure gold is too soft to work with, so it is usually alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper and zinc. Using different amounts of these metals will also give different colors.

Yellow gold: Traditional. Silver, copper and zinc.

White gold: Copper and silver with extra zinc, nickel, and/or palladium for the white color. Palladium is most likely used as only a thin plating.

Green Gold: Silver, copper, and zinc, but with extra silver to make it greenish. (Some times uses only silver)

Pink gold: Silver, copper, and zinc, with extra copper.

Gold purity is measured in carats. One carat is one twenty-fourth part, Fine gold is 24 carat (also karat, ct. or k.). Therefore only yellow gold can be 24 k. (100% gold).
Is a good site to see the different colors of gold.

A rich man was near death, and became very upset because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth along. An angel heard his plea and appeared to him.

"Sorry," the angel said, "but you can't take your wealth with you." The man implored the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him.

The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man got his largest suitcase, filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed. Soon afterward the man died and showed up at the gates of heaven to greet St. Peter.

St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!" The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and told him to verify his story with God.

St. Peter checked and came back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through." He opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"


Gold is one of the most precious metals available, and its use in jewellery is obviously common. But there are some things to be aware of:

  • Gold is usually bought and sold on the market in troy ounces, not the usual everyday avoirdupois ounces. In gram terms, a troy ounce is 31.103 grams, but an avoirdupois ounce is 28.34 grams. So if you are going to buy an ounce of gold make sure it's a troy ounce; or you stand to lose about 10 per cent of the price.
  • Gold purity is rated in karats (abbreviated to k, or ct). Pure gold is 24 karat. Commonly available purities are: 9ct (37.5 per cent pure), 18ct (75 per cent pure), 21ct (87.5 per cent pure) and 24ct (99.99 per cent pure).
  • Pure gold is too soft to be used for jewellery. The highest purity gold used for jewellery is 21ct, but it's fairly uncommon; 18ct is far more common; 9ct is most common of all because it's cheapest.
  • Gold differs in colour, depending on what's being used to make up the rest (usually a mix of silver, copper and zinc). They include yellow, white, green and pink (also known as rose'). Tem42 describes them nicely under his gold writeup. Not only is it best not to mix different colours of jewellery, it is best not to mix different purities; so 18ct yellow gold and 9ct yellow gold are slightly different colour.
  • Rings come in sizes from A to Y; depending on the diameter of the finger. Expect to pay a little extra for sizes T and above.
  • If you go to a jeweller, and you have a particular idea for a ring; you can sit down and design a ring with them. You don't need to stick to what's in the shop window, and it's not always more expensive.

(From the Old English gold) A heavy, yellow, inert, metallic chemical element that is highly ductile and highly malleable. It is a precious metal and is used in the manufacture of coins, jewelry, alloys, etc.

Symbol: Au
Atomic number: 79
Atomic weight: 196.96655
Density (at room temperature and pressure): 19.3 g/cc
Melting point: 937.4°C
Boiling point: 1,064°C
Valence: +1, +3
Ground state electron configuration: [Xe]4f145d106s1

Symbol: Au
Atomic Number: 79
Atomic Weight: 196.9665
Boiling Point: 3130 K
Melting Point: 1337.58 K
Density at 300K: 19.3 g/cm3
Covalent radius: 1.34
Atomic radius: 1.79
Atomic volume: 10.20 cm3/mol
First ionization potental: 9.225 V
Specific heat capacity: 0.128 J g-1 K-1
Thermal conductivity: 317 W m-1 K-1
Electrical conductivity: 48.8*106 Ω-1 m-1
Heat of fusion: 12.36 kJ/mol
Heat of vaporization: 324.43 kJ/mol
Electronegativity: 2.54 (Pauling's)

Previous Platinum---Mercury Next
To the Periodic Table

KIN KON GON (gold)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

Once written with four dots along the base, like ::, instead of the present two ..; they represent nuggets buried in the ground. There is a range of oppinions regarding the topmost stroke, but it should be taken generally as a covering or mound of earth representing the concealment of something valuable. The word for covering shares phonetic simularity with the word for shine, making the topmost stroke representation of covering more likely.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: KIN KON GON
kun-yomi: kane kana- -gane kan kimu ko kono n

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: kan kimu ko kono n

English Definitions:

  1. KON, GON, KIN: gold, money; Friday.
  2. kane: money, metal.
  3. kana-: metal

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

金杯 (kimpai): gold cup.
金魚 (kingyo): goldfish.
金曜日 (kinyoobi): Friday.
金権 (kinken): the almighty dollar, financial influence.

  Previous: rest  |  Japanese Kanji  |  Next: empty

Why is gold yellow in colour?

The 'goldy' colour of gold actually has an interesting origin...
The colour of anything depends on how the photons of light interact with the electrons in the material. Take silver it's 'colour' originates from an electron absorbing an ultra-violet photon; eveything else is reflected, giving the silvery white appearance. Now the electronic configuration of gold is similar to that of silver, and to a first approximation calculations show that gold too should have a 'silver' appearance.

The reason why it doesn't lies with relativity. The electrons which orbit the atomic nucleus must have enough energy to not fall into the nucleus, for hydrogen this corresponds to a speed of about 2 × 106 metres per second. (Please read the electron orbitals node for a grounding on this topic. As you go up the periodic table, the attraction between the (ever larger) nucleus and the electron increases. The electron has to have more energy, or it will fall into the nucleus. By the time you've got to gold (atomic number 79, or 79 protons), the electron nearest the nucleus (1s) have a speed of 1.6 8 metres per second. This is about half the speed of light, and now relativistic effects have to be taken into account....

Special relativity shows us that mass depends on speed (check the relativity node for the equations), and with gold this means it's electrons are 1.2 times heavier than they would be at rest. Now the distance the electrons orbit the nucleus depends on their mass; the greater the mass, the smaller the orbit. If you ignore relativity gold should be about 290 pico metres in diameter, but it is actually closer to the relativity predicted value of 244 pm. (Which is in fact smaller than the silver atom!) The electrons in the s and p orbitals actually spend most of their time near the nucleus, and so they are heavily influenced by this effect, the electrons in 'higher' orbitals d,f don't spend time near the nucleus and so are less affected. This in turn means that now the (negatively charged) s and p electrons are much closer to the (positive) nucleus, they increase the shielding of the higher orbitals from the attraction of the nucleus, which destabilises these higher orbitals, and they balloon outwards, losing energy.

Now the ultra-violet absorbtion in silver described above takes place between the 5s and 4d orbitals, and a similar transistion between 6s and 5d in gold gives it it's colour. In gold the relativistic effects have decreased the gap between these levels, and the frequency of light absorbed is similary decreased and is now in the visible range. Which is why gold has a colour, and it's yellow!

               Non-rel  Rel     Non-Rel  Rel
Orbital   -5_
energies     |  _____
(eV)         |       \_____      _____
             |   5s                   \_____
             |                   6s
             |                   5d    _____
             |   4d    _____     _____/
             |  ______/
                Silver           Gold  

Ryan Adams - Gold

Track Listing:

  1. New York, New York (Adams)
  2. Firecracker (Adams)
  3. Answering Bell (Adams)
  4. La Cienega Just Smiled (Adams)
  5. The Rescue Blues (Adams)
  6. Somehow, Someday (Adams)
  7. When the Stars Go Blue (Adams)
  8. Nobody Girl (Adams/Johns)
  9. SYLVIA PLATH (Adams/Causon)
  10. Enemy Fire (Adams/Welch)
  11. Gonna Make You Love Me (Adams)
  12. Wild Flowers (Adams)
  13. Harder Now That It's Over (Adams)
  14. Touch, Feel & Lose (Adams/Rawlings)
  15. Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues (Adams/Johns)
  16. Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd. (Adams/Causon)

Initial copies of Gold came with a 5-track EP called Side Four; its track listing was:

  1. Rosalie Come and Go (Adams)
  2. The Fools We Are as Men (Adams)
  3. Sweet Black Magic (Adams/Johns)
  4. The Bar Is a Beautiful Place (Adams)
  5. Cannonball Days (Adams)


Gold was Ryan Adams' second solo album, after leaving Whiskeytown, and was released on the Lost Highway label in September 2001. It's a pretty accomplished affair; almost too accomplished - some critics have claimed that it lacks the soul and feeling of his previous album, Heartbreaker, and his work with Whiskeytown. The album includes contributions by Chris Stills, son of Steven Stills, and veteran steel guitarist Bucky Baxter.

The album is a mix of alt-country (New York, New York, and Firecracker in particular) and rock (including the Zeppelin-esque Gonna Make You Love Me and the rocking Enemy Fire), with a smattering of string-ornamented, low-key ballads (When The Stars Go Blue, SYLVIA PLATH and the lovely closer Goodnight Hollywood Blvd.). The mix of styles never jars, though, and despite its length, the album is a consistantly rewarding listen, and shows Adams' many influences, without being too blatant about it. These influences include Neil Young (on Harder Now It's Over), Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones (on Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues) and Gram Parsons (When The Stars Go Blue). To my ears, the album sounds a little like a country version of the White Stripes.

Some information taken from

Gold (?), Golde, Goolde (?), n. Bot.

An old English name of some yellow flower, -- the marigold (Calendula), according to Dr. Prior, but in Chaucer perhaps the turnsole.


© Webster 1913.

Gold (?), n. [AS. gold; akin to D. goud, OS. & G. gold, Icel. gull, Sw. & Dan. guld, Goth. gulp, Russ. & OSlav. zlato; prob. akin to E. yellow. . See Yellow, and cf. Gild, v. t.]

1. Chem.

A metallic element, constituting the most precious metal used as a common commercial medium of exchange. It has a characteristic yellow color, is one of the heaviest substances known (specific gravity 19.32), is soft, and very malleable and ductile. It is quite unalterable by heat, moisture, and most corrosive agents, and therefore well suited for its use in coin and jewelry. Symbol Au (Aurum). Atomic weight 196.7.

Native gold contains usually eight to ten per cent of silver, but often much more. As the amount of silver increases, the color becomes whiter and the specific gravity lower. Gold is very widely disseminated, as in the sands of many rivers, but in very small quantity. It usually occurs in quartz veins (gold quartz), in slate and metamorphic rocks, or in sand and alluvial soil, resulting from the disintegration of such rocks. It also occurs associated with other metallic substances, as in auriferous pyrites, and is combined with tellurium in the minerals petzite, calaverite, sylvanite, etc. Pure gold is too soft for ordinary use, and is hardened by alloying with silver and copper, the latter giving a characteristic reddish tinge. [See Carat.] Gold also finds use in gold foil, in the pigment purple of Cassius, and in the chloride, which is used as a toning agent in photography.


Money; riches; wealth.

For me, the gold of France did not seduce. Shak.


A yellow color, like that of the metal; as, a flower tipped with gold.


Figuratively, something precious or pure; as, hearts of gold.


Age of gold. See Golden age, under Golden. -- Dutch gold, Fool's gold, Gold dust, etc. See under Dutch, Dust, etc. -- Gold amalgam, a mineral, found in Columbia and California, composed of gold and mercury. -- Gold beater, one whose occupation is to beat gold into gold leaf. -- Gold beater's skin, the prepared outside membrane of the large intestine of the ox, used for separating the leaves of metal during the process of gold-beating. -- Gold beetle Zool., any small gold-colored beetle of the family Chrysomelidae; -- called also golden beetle. -- Gold blocking, printing with gold leaf, as upon a book cover, by means of an engraved block. Knight. -- Gold cloth. See Cloth of gold, under Cloth. -- Gold Coast, a part of the coast of Guinea, in West Africa. -- Gold cradle. Mining See Cradle, n., 7. -- Gold diggings, the places, or region, where gold is found by digging in sand and gravel from which it is separated by washing. -- Gold end, a fragment of broken gold or jewelry. -- Gold-end man. (a) A buyer of old gold or jewelry. (b) A goldsmith's apprentice. (c) An itinerant jeweler. "I know him not: he looks like a gold-end man." B. Jonson. -- Gold fever, a popular mania for gold hunting. -- Gold field, a region in which are deposits of gold. -- Gold finder. (a) One who finds gold. (b) One who empties privies. [Obs. & Low] Swift. -- Gold flower, a composite plant with dry and persistent yellow radiating involucral scales, the Helichrysum Stechas of Southern Europe. There are many South African species of the same genus. -- Gold foil, thin sheets of gold, as used by dentists and others. See Gold leaf. -- Gold knobs or knoppes Bot., buttercups. -- Gold lace, a kind of lace, made of gold thread. -- Gold latten, a thin plate of gold or gilded metal. -- Gold leaf, gold beaten into a film of extreme thinness, and used for gilding, etc. It is much thinner than gold foil. -- Gold lode Mining, a gold vein. -- Gold mine, a place where gold is obtained by mining operations, as distinguished from diggings, where it is extracted by washing. Cf. Gold diggings (above). -- Gold nugget, a lump of gold as found in gold mining or digging; -- called also a pepito. -- Gold paint. See Gold shell. -- Gold or Golden, pheasant. Zool. See under Pheasant. -- Gold plate, a general name for vessels, dishes, cups, spoons, etc., made of gold.<-- now usu. referring to objects made of a base metal with a layer of gold on the surface. --> -- Gold of pleasure. [Name perhaps translated from Sp. oro-de-alegria.] Bot. A plant of the genus Camelina, bearing yellow flowers. C. sativa is sometimes cultivated for the oil of its seeds. -- Gold shell. (a) A composition of powdered gold or gold leaf, ground up with gum water and spread on shells, for artists' use; -- called also gold paint. (b) Zool. A bivalve shell (Anomia glabra) of the Atlantic coast; -- called also jingle shell and silver shell. See Anomia. -- Gold size, a composition used in applying gold leaf. -- Gold solder, a kind of solder, often containing twelve parts of gold, two of silver, and four of copper. -- Gold stick, the colonel of a regiment of English lifeguards, who attends his sovereign on state occasions; -- so called from the gilt rod presented to him by the sovereign when he receives his commission as colonel of the regiment. [Eng.] -- Gold thread. (a) A thread formed by twisting flatted gold over a thread of silk, with a wheel and iron bobbins; spun gold. Ure. (b) Bot. A small evergreen plant (Coptis trifolia), so called from its fibrous yellow roots. It is common in marshy places in the United States. -- Gold tissue, a tissue fabric interwoven with gold thread. -- Gold tooling, the fixing of gold leaf by a hot tool upon book covers, or the ornamental impression so made. -- Gold washings, places where gold found in gravel is separated from lighter material by washing. -- Gold worm, a glowworm. [Obs.] -- Jeweler's gold, an alloy containing three parts of gold to one of copper.<-- 18K gold --> -- Mosaic gold. See under Mosaic.


© Webster 1913.

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