The Mystery and Mastery of Gold Refining

Gold has a richer and more fascinating lore than any other precious metal does. In legend, King Midas turned objects into gold, just by touching them. In medieval times, alchemists attempted to turn base metals into gold. The Spaniards invaded Latin America, and destroyed several civilizations, just to obtain it. In ancient Sumeria, Greece and Egypt, royals were adorned with gold jewelry when they were buried. The composer Richard Wagner wrote his four “Ring” operas about gold that was stolen from the Rhine River. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote novels about a magical golden ring. And then there’s the fact that when modern people want to marry or celebrate their love for each other, they do so by exchanging gold rings.

17th Century engraving showing the process of smelting and refining gold. We’ve come a long way since then at Specialty Metals!

17th Century engraving showing the process of smelting and refining gold. We’ve come a long way since then at Specialty Metals!

Surprising Facts about Gold

If you’d enjoy learning more about gold, visit “Gold Fun Facts,” a page that was created by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Here’s a sample of some of the information you will find there:

  • The total amount of gold ever mined is estimated to be only 152,000 metric tons. That’s only enough to fill 60 tractor trailers. Every year, 907 million metric tons of iron are mined - 6,000 times the total amount of gold produced throughout all of history.
  • More than 90% of the world’s refined gold has been mined since 1848. (Remember the Gold Rush?)
  • 78% of the gold that is mined every year is made into jewelry. Another 12% is used in electronics, medical applications, and dental work. The remaining 10% is used in financial transactions.
  • Gold is so malleable that one ounce can be beaten into a sheet that measures 100 square feet.
  • The "Hand of Faith," a 60-pound gold nugget, is currently on display in the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. It was discovered in Victoria, Australia, in 1980.

Time to Create a Legend of Your Own?

If you have items on hand that contain quantities of gold, why not contact a top gold refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners to find out what it is worth and claim its hidden value? Call us at 800-426-2344.

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