October 25, 2013

Newcomers Facts

  • Due to its high value, most gold discovered throughout history is still in circulation. However it is thought that 80% of the world’s gold is still in the ground.

  • Gold is so pliable that it can be made into sewing thread. An ounce of gold can be stretched over 50 miles.

  • The largest gold nugget ever found is the “Welcome Stranger”, discovered in Australia on February 5th 1869 by Richard Oates and John Deason. The nugget, found just two inches below the surface, is 10 by 25 inches and yielded 2, 248 ounces of pure gold.

  • The Olympic gold medals awarded in 1912 were made entirely from gold. Currently, the gold medals just must be covered in six grams of gold.

  • There are more than 400 references to gold in the Bible, including specific instructions from God to cover furniture in the tabernacle with “pure gold.” Gold is also mentioned as one of the gifts of the Magi.

  • The Greeks thought that gold was a dense combination of water and sunlight.

  • The chemical symbol for gold is AU, from the Latin word aurum meaning, ‘shining dawn’ and from Aurora, the roman goddess of the dawn. In 50 B.C. Romans began issuing gold coins called the Aureus and the smaller solidus.

  • During the fourteenth century, drinking molten gold and crushed emeralds was used as a treatment for the bubonic plague.

  • The San Francisco 49ers are named after the 1849 Gold Rush miners.

  • The mines of South Africa can descend as far as 12,000 feet and reach temperatures of 130 degrees F. To produce an ounce of gold requires 38 man hours, 1400 gallons of water, enough electricity to run a large house for ten days, and chemicals such as cyanide, acids, lead, borax and lime. In order to extract South Africa’s yearly output of 500 tons of gold, nearly 70 million tons of earth are raised and milled.

  • In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 which outlawed U.S. citizens from hoarding gold. Owning gold (except for jewelers, dentists, electricians, and other industry workers) was punishable by fine up to $10,000 and/or ten years in prison.

  • The purity of gold is measured in carat weight. The term ‘carat’ comes from ‘carob seed’, which was standard for weighing small quantities in the Middle East. Carats were the fruit of the leguminous carob tree, every single pop of which weighs 1/5 of a gram (200 mg).

  • It is estimated that more than 95% of all the silver ever mined throughout history has already been used and is gone forever and unrecoverable at any price. In 1900, there were approximately 12 billion ounces of silver in the world. Today, that figure has fallen to about 300 million ounces of above-ground, refined silver.

  • Sterling silver jewelry is often plated with a thin coat of .999 fine silver to give the item a shiny finish. This process is called "flashing".

  • Bacteria develops a resistance to many antibiotics, but not silver.

  • Silver is the main ingredient in photovoltaic cells, the solar panels used to transform natural sunlight into power.

  • Every electrical action in a modern car is activated with silver coated contacts. Basic functions such as starting the engine, opening power windows, adjusting power seats and closing a power trunk are all activated using a silver membrane switch.

  • Minted silver coins were first used in the eastern Mediterranean region in 550 B.C. By 269 B.C., the Roman Empire adopted silver as part of its standard coinage and, from there, it spread along the trade route.

  • Silver is a very resistant mineral. It does not dissolve in most solvents, and won't react to oxygen or water. However, it has a detrimental reaction to sulfur and sulfides, which causes it to tarnish on exposed surfaces. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is found in the atmosphere in small quantities, and when silver is exposed to normal air it reacts to the hydrogen sulfide, causing the tarnish. Egg yolks, which contain sulfur compounds, should be kept away from silver.

  • Troy Ounce or Weight is Ancient French system of weight, taking its name from the medieval trading town of Troyes, France. One troy ounce equals 31.1034 grammes.

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