Over the centuries, only 166,600 tons of gold have been mined, that is how rare gold is. But the utility of gold has been immense; we are still discovering its benefits every day.
Gold nano-particles synthesized with peptide functions are capable of activating or hindering angiogenic genes. This means, nutrients and oxygen supply to various types of cancer cells can be stopped. This discovery by Southampton scientists, Dr.Kanaras and his team, means an effective way of crushing cancer growth may be possible. Another discovery in 2011 was the use of gold as a catalytic converter to control emissions by a leading European diesel car manufacturer.
Ever since gold began to be mined, man has put it to several uses. From ornaments, decoration, jewelry to dentistry and machinery, gold has through the ages aided man in his progress. Here is a timeline of the progression of gold and historic moments worthy of noting.
3600 BC: Egyptian goldsmiths discover the art of metallurgy to mine gold out of the ores. They used blowpipes to heat the smelting furnace. 2600 BC: Mesopotamian artisans and craftsmen began to experiment with the extremely malleable metal to craft gold jewelry and important symbols of their civilization such as the burial headdress of lapis.
1223 BC: Gold craftsmanship has been honed so much so that the legendary Tutankahum’s funeral mask is cast out of the metal.
600 BC: Because of malleability, corrosion resistance and bio compatibility, gold began to be used in dentistry by the Etrucans.
564 BC: The first gold coins were minted by King Croseus. Lydians were the first to begin using the metal for currency but soon after many other civilizations followed.
300: The Romans used gold nano-particles to color ornaments. They melted gold powder into glass, giving glass a luminous red glow.
1370: The onset of the great bullion famine. It was brought on because various major mines around Europe became completely exhausted.
1511: Spanish ruler, King Ferdinand began conquering lands in search of gold, destroying the Inca and Aztec civilizations. His call to his soldiers was, “Get gold, humanely if you can, but at all hazards, get gold!”
1717: The UK government establishes a gold standard, linking the currency to gold at a fixed price. 1803: The first recorded experiment in electroplating is conducted at the University of Pavia. It ensures improved conductivity, which is essential to many technologies of today.
1848: 40,000 diggers flock from all over the world to California to dig for gold because John Marshall discovered some gold flakes in Sacremento, while building a sawmill.
1870: All major countries began to adopt the gold standard, linking their currencies to gold, with the exception of China.
1933: The US dollar convertibility to gold is suspended by President Roosevelt. The holding of gold by private individuals is also forbidden.
1961: Microchips engineered at Bell Labs in the USA use gold bonding wire. The first manned spaceflight also used gold to protect instruments from radiation in the same year.
1967: The South African Kruggerand is introduced. It allows for private ownership of gold. 1999: European central banks declare that gold will remain an important element of their reserves. Fifteen such banks agreed to the first Central Bank Gold Agreement.
1971: In 1971 Richard Nixon abandoned the gold standard, giving the government the ability to effectively print money at will. Since then, US debt has gone from $414 Billion to $14 Trillion, a 3381% increase. During that time, the U.S. dollar has lost 97% of it’s value.
2010: Gold price sustains record 35 separate successive highs as Fiat currencies are undermined by inflation fears.
Beside these landmark achievements, gold also found various other uses such as in the medical field where it is now being used for arthritis treatment and heart surgeries etc. Besides wealth and health uses, it is also of cultural significance to us. Gold has truly been elementary in our progress and continues to do so as we discover more and more about it. Even retirement plans can include gold as a part of a well-rounded long-term plan. Gold IRA’s are becoming more and more popular.