Gold is one of the most valuable items on the planet, and as such a very sought-after commodity. We’ve all grown up knowing that gold, gems, jewelry were all expensive, desirable, and very much something you wanted to have. And the common element in all of this was the presence of gold.
The same piece of jewelry, one in gold and one in silver, is more desirable in gold than in silver. Gold is held as a standard, medals and trophies and awards are made of (or resemble) gold, and compliments regarding purity, wealth, and love also have the word ‘gold’ in them.
So why is gold so valuable ? Why do people love it so much and why is it still the best thing ever, even today ? Let’s take a look.
Why is gold so valuable ?
Gold is valuable due to a combination between its rarity, its use in jewelry, how well it wears and does not tarnish, and its general appeal due to color and inner shine. Pure gold has a deep, warm yellow color that draws almost anyone, and the fact that gold was used as a currency cemented the idea that gold was valuable, desirable, and something to want for yourself.
There are other precious metals as well, such as silver and platinum, but they are not nearly as prized and loved as gold. So let’s take a look at these reasons, better explained.
1. Gold is not an abundant metal
Gold is not a common element like iron, so for as long as humans have lived, gold was a very rare commodity. Gold that was turned into jewelry and crosses and chalices became even more desirable, because it was now rare and beautiful.
Most of the gold on the planet is thought to be lost in the Earth’s inner crust. This means there is only a small amount found in the upper crust, where humans can mine for it. As such any gold mine is precious by default.
2. Gold does not tarnish or corrode
Because gold is one of the least reactive metals, it’s considered a noble metal. It cannot dissolve in anything other than aqua regia (a mix of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid). Gold does not change color, develop spots, does not fade in time, and if it’s pure 24k gold it can easily be turned into something else. Any piece of jewelry made with gold will hold up very well in time.
This lack of tarnish and corrosion also makes it perfectly suited for industrial use. It’s a very good electrical conductor, and you will find it in a lot of electronics.
Read also: Why Is Amethyst Purple ?
3. The very color of gold is soothing and comforting
There is something to be said about the color of gold. Whether it’s been ingrained into our heads of humans are naturally drawn to the golden glow of…well, gold, nobody is sure. But there’s something very beautiful and calming and warm about the color of gold, especially pure gold.
The setting sun, fairy lights, gold accents on clothes, warm blonde hair, the glow of a fire, the light inside a house in a deep winter night, candlelight, anything of the sort.
Gold seems to warm up anything, whether it’s light or a piece of jewelry.
4. Gold is the primary metal for jewelry
Because gold is rare, beautiful, and timeless, it’s also the perfect metal for jewelry. This was noted by ancient civilizations as well, so they made good use of all the gold they could and turned most of it into jewelry or religious items, which were bordering in jewelry anyway.
Since gold was the ancient metal for jewelry, due to inertia and tradition, it’s still the go-to metal for jewelry. Especially very sentimental, tradition-laden jewelry like wedding bands and engagement rings.
You can get white and rose gold for your jewelry just as easily as yellow gold, though most people will default to yellow 18k gold.
5. Gold was also a very efficient currency
Because gold has intrinsic value for the reasons above, using gold as a currency (coins) was one of the simplest ways to trade. Of course this meant that the value of each coin would drop when more coins would be made (inflation). Still, gold was used as valid currency for millennia.
The gold standard was used all the way up to early 1900s. So it’s only been a century or so since we’ve started using paper money, which does not have intrinsic value, it only has value because we all agree it does.
6. As humans, we’re drawn to shine, glitter, flash
Another important point about gold is that, well, it’s shiny and it flashes in the sun and people notice it. We’re all drawn to glittery, beautiful objects one way or another, which is half the reason gemstones are so valuable in the first place. Beyond the beautiful color of gold, or before you even notice it’s gold and not something else, you notice it’s shiny.
It could be a ring, a necklace, a watch, gold buttons on a shirt, or simply fake gold trim on something. It doesn’t matter, the point is that it catches the eye and people have noticed the appeal of gold in that way.
7. Gold is tradeable and can bring money in a pinch
If you’ve got gold jewelry you can always sell it if you’re in a tight spot. This is especially true if your gold is of higher purity (18k and up). No one wants to sell their gold, especially if it’s their engagement ring or wedding band, but if it ever comes to that gold can bring more money than another metal.
On top of everything else, or perhaps driving all of this, is the power of inertia, habit, or tradition. These are forces to be reckoned with, because as a society we cannot change (as a whole) unless something very large and significant happens. We all decide our lives according to tradition, some more and some less.
Expectations are often managed, met, or let down. A wedding band is usually gold because wedding bands have always been gold, because they’ve always been a precious item. Are they worth more than a platinum wedding band ? No, but even today wedding bands are not expected to be anything else than gold.
A gold piece of jewelry is still more appreciated than a silver one, if it is a gift. This is also because people know gold is pricier than silver, yet it doesn’t make the jewelry more beautiful just because it’s gold.
As a society we’ve all decided that gold is the way to go, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A consensus is always necessary and when everyone agrees on one thing, even something as apparently minor as how much gold is worth, managing day to day life becomes much easier.
Pure 24k gold is the most expensive
So what do you do with all this information ? You look for the purest form of gold if you want to invest or have some for yourself, for personal reasons. The best gold to trade for money is pure gold, and that is 24k gold. Whether you have coins, nuggets, small gold bars, or just jewelry, the purer the gold the more money you can get for it.
You should keep in mind that pure gold jewelry is soft, bendable, and needs to be worn with much care. It’s not a very sturdy material, and that is why lower karat gold sprung into existence. The lower the karat, the less gold in the piece, and the more durable it is (scratching, bending, breaking).
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.