The Gaudy World of Gold

The Gaudy World of Gold

Marilyn Monroe may have famously said, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend," but she clearly underestimated the gold as the better investment. The luminous precious metal that occupies Au on the periodic table dates back as early as 2400 BC, and is prevalent all over the world today. Thinking of hitting the beach any time soon? Consider bringing a metal detector—it's estimated that there are 20 million tons of gold in there.

This dense metallic wonder has spawned national migrations, been imprinted with the faces of historic rulers, and has popped up during a marriage proposal or two. But how does gold get from a mine shaft or the ocean floor into the hands of buyers? These videos will guide you through the treacherous process of gold extraction, and the shiny reasons why we do it.

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01:15

from British Pathé

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    Only one out of every billion atoms of rocks on Earth will end up being gold. (0:51)

  • 2

    Explosives are used in the gold-mining process to help shake the mineral from out of the rock. (1:52)

  • 3

    In order to create gold in a solid state it's fired at 1200 degrees Celsius. (2:38)

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from Smithsonian Channel

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