Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79. It is a bright, slightly orange-yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal in pure form. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions.
Gold is the most malleable of all metals. It can be drawn into a wire of single-atom width, and then stretched considerably before it breaks. A single gram of gold can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square metre (11 sq ft), and an avoirdupois ounce into 300 square feet (28 m2). Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become semi-transparent. The transmitted light appears greenish-blue because gold strongly reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets also strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared (radiant heat) shields in the visors of heat-resistant suits and in sun visors for spacesuits. Gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity.
What makes Gold valuable?
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Unlike other commodities, gold does not get used up or consumed, imbuing the precious metal with a sense of everlasting value. Gold serves as a hedge against the declining value of currencies through inflation, which leads many investors to consider gold an alternative asset and a way of safeguarding their wealth.
Gold has held a special place in the human imagination since the beginning of recorded time. From an investment perspective, gold is attractive because of its potential to remain strong in difficult financial environments and to hedge against inflationary declines in the value of fiat currencies.
Although the U.S. dollar and other world currencies are no longer pegged to gold—as was the case when many countries operated under the gold standard—the precious metal continues to play an important role in the global economy.
1,063 °C (1,945 °F)
2,966 °C (5,371 °F)
19.3 at 20 °C (68 °F)
The United States has the world’s largest reserves of gold, amounting to 8,867.72 tons as of February 2021.
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