DR. S. M. ALAM, DR. M.A. KHAN
Sep 26 - Oct 2, 2011
Gold, the only yellow metal, is dense, soft, shiny, and the most malleable and ductile. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water.
Gold is also known as coinage metal. Gold has twice the density of lead and is also a good conductor of heat and electricity. It is extremely malleable and can be rolled thin enough to allow light to pass through it. It is resistant to most acid attacks and does not oxidize.
It is one of the least reactive solid chemical elements.
The metal therefore occurs often in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains in rocks, in veins and in alluvial deposits. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, usually with tellurium.
The Holy Quran has mentioned in many Surahs about the importance and usefulness of Gold for human beings (both believers and disbelievers).
It is stated in the Quran :i). Beautified for men is the love of things they covet: women, children, much of gold and silver, branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world's life but Allah has the excellent return with him (Surah Al-Imran-3, Verse-14).
At another place it is stated that: Verily, those who disbelieved and died, while they were disbelievers, the (whole) earth full of gold will not accept anyone of them even if they offered it as a ransom. For them is a painful torment and they will have no helpers (Surah Al-Imran-3, Verse- 91).
And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend them not in the Way of Allah, announce unto them a painful torment (Surah At-Tauba-9, Verse-34).
These! For them will be And (Eden) Paradise, wherein rivers flow underneath them, therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold (Surah Al-Kahf-18, Verse-31).
Truly, Allah will admit those who believe in the Oneness of Allah and do righteous good deeds to Garden underneath which rivers flow wherein they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk (Surah Al-Hajj-22,Verse-23). And (Eden) Paradise, will they enter therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk (Surah Fatir-35, Verse-33).
Why then are not golden bracelets bestowed on him or angels sent along with him? (Surah Az-Zukhruf-43, Verse-53).
Trays of gold and cups will be passed round them therein all that inner-selves could desire and all that eyes could delight in and you will abide therein forever (Surah Az-Zakhruf-43, Verse-71). The English meaning of Surah Az-Zukhruf is 'the Ornaments of Gold'. ( Makki Surah, Verse-89).
Among all the 109 elements discovered so far, the 'Gold' is a very noble and precious yellow color metal found in earth. Gold is not corroded by air, is un-attacked by individual acids, but it can be dissolved by the aqua regia (3 parts of nitric acid and one part hydrochloric acid), so named because it dissolves gold.
Gold also dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which have been used in mining. Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys.
Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to confirm the presence of gold in items, giving rise to the term the acid test.
It has historically been used for jewelry and as a base for global monetary reserves. However, gold's role as a monetary reserve has been changing over the past few years, with several banks selling their reserves.
This is seen as a move to dissociate gold's relation with currencies. Large stocks of gold in the form of bullion, coinage, and jewelry are still held by banks, individual investors, hoarders, and speculators worldwide.
Gold has a wide range of uses from as a catalyst in industrial processes to medical machinery and dental uses as well as decorative uses.
Gold has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history.
Gold standards have been the most common basis for monetary policies throughout human history, being widely supplanted by fiat currency only in the late 20th century.
Gold has also been frequently linked to a wide variety of symbolisms and ideologies.
USES OF GOLD: The world consumption of gold is about 50 per cent in jewelry, 40 per cent in investments, and 10 per cent in industry. It has many practical uses in dentistry, electronics, colored glass production, awards, pigments, and optics. Its high malleability, ductility, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions and conductivity of electricity led to its use in electric wiring.
HISTORY: Gold was among the first metals to be mined. It commonly occurs in its native form that is not combined with other elements, because it is beautiful and imperishable.
Artisans of ancient civilizations used gold lavishly in decorating tombs and temples and gold objects made more than 5,000 years ago have been found in Egypt.
Particularly, noteworthy are the gold items discovered by Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon in 1922 in the tomb of Tutankhamun. This young Pharaoh ruled Egypt in the 14th century B.C. An exhibit of some of these items, called "Treasures of Tutankhamun," attracted more than six million visitors in six cities during a tour of the United States in 1977-79.
The ancient civilizations appear to have obtained their supplies of gold from various deposits in the Middle East. Mines in the region of the Upper Nile near the Red Sea and in the Nubian Desert area supplied much of the gold used by the Egyptian Pharaohs.
When these mines could no longer meet their demands, deposits elsewhere, possibly in Yemen and southern Africa, were exploited. Artisans in Mesopotamia and Palestine probably obtained their supplies from Egypt and Arabia.
Recent studies of the Mahd adh Dhahab (meaning "Cradle of Gold") mine in the present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reveal that gold, silver, and copper were recovered from this region during the reign of King Solomon (961-922 B.C.).
GOLD AS A MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE: The gold is bank money all over the world, because nations of the world today use gold as a medium of exchange in monetary transactions. A large part of the gold stocks of the United States is stored in the vault of the Fort Knox Bullion Depository. The Depository, located about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Kentucky, is under the supervision of the Director of the Mint.
Gold in the Depository consists of bars about the size of ordinary building bricks that weigh about 27.5 pounds each (about 400 troy ounces (one troy ounce equals about 1.1 avoirdupois ounces). They are stored without wrappings in the vault compartments.
Gold has been widely used throughout the world as a vehicle for monetary exchange, either by issuance and recognition of gold coins or other bare metal quantities, or through gold-convertible paper instruments by establishing gold standards in which the total value of issued money is represented in a store of gold reserves. However, production has not grown in relation to the world's economies. Today, gold mining output is declining. With the sharp growth of economies in the 20th century, and increasing foreign exchange, the world's gold reserves and their trading market became a small fraction of all markets and fixed exchange rates of currencies to gold were no longer sustained.
At the beginning of World War I, the warring nations moved to a fractional gold standard, inflating their currencies to finance the war effort. After World War II, gold was replaced by a system of convertible currency following the Bretton Woods system. Switzerland was the last country to tie its currency to gold; it backed 40 per cent of its value until the Swiss joined the International Monetary Fund in 1999.
Pure gold is too soft for day-to-day monetary use and is typically hardened by alloying with copper, silver, or other base metals.
The gold content of alloys is measured in carats (k). Pure gold is designated as 24k. English gold coins intended for circulation from 1526 into the 1930s were typically a standard 22k alloy called crown gold, for hardness (American gold coins for circulation after 1837 contained the slightly lower amount of 0.900 fine gold, or 21.6k).
INVESTMENTS: Many holders of gold store it in form of bullion coins or bars as a hedge against inflation or other economic disruptions. However, some economists do not believe gold serves as a hedge against inflation or currency depreciation.
Modern bullion coins for investment or collector purposes do not require good mechanical wear properties; they are typically fine gold at 24k, although the American Gold Eagle, the British gold sovereign, and the South African Krugerrand continue to be minted in 22k metal in historical tradition.
The special issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin contains the highest purity gold of any bullion coin, at 99.999 per cent or 0.99999, while the popular issue Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin has a purity of 99.99 per cent.
Several other 99.99 per cent pure gold coins are available. In 2006, the United States Mint began production of the American Buffalo gold bullion coin with a purity of 99.99 per cent.
The Australian Gold Kangaroos were first coined in 1986 as the Australian Gold Nugget but changed the reverse design in 1989.
Other popular modern coins include the Austrian Vienna Philharmonic bullion coin and the Chinese Gold Panda.
JEWELRY: It is number one jewelry item for women all over the world. Women decorates themselves at the time of marriage and without gold jewelry, a marriage is most probably incomplete in mainly Asian countries.
Gold is usually alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry, altering its hardness and ductility, melting point, color and other properties.
Copper is the most commonly used base metal, yielding a redder color. Fourteen-carat gold-copper alloy is nearly identical in color to certain bronze alloys, and both may be used to produce badges. Blue gold can be made by alloying with iron and purple gold can be made by alloying with aluminium, although rarely done except in specialized jewelry.
Blue gold is more brittle and therefore more difficult to work with when making jewelry. Fourteen and eighteen carat gold alloys with silver alone appear greenish-yellow and are referred to as green gold. White gold alloys can be made with palladium or nickel. White 18-carat gold containing 17.3 per cent nickel, 5.5 per cent zinc and 2.2 per cent copper is silvery in appearance.
Alternative white gold alloys are available based on palladium, silver, and other white metals, but the palladium alloys are more expensive than those using nickel. High-carat white gold alloys are far more resistant to corrosion than are either pure silver or sterling silver.
MEDICINE: In medieval times, gold was often seen as beneficial for the health, in the belief that something so rare and beautiful could not be anything but healthy. Some gold salts do have anti-inflammatory properties and are used as pharmaceuticals in the treatment of arthritis and other similar conditions. However, only salts and radioisotopes of gold are of pharmacological value, as elemental (metallic) gold is inert to all chemicals it encounters inside the body. In modern times, inject-able gold has been proven to help reduce the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis.
Gold alloys are used in restorative dentistry, especially in tooth restorations, such as crowns and permanent bridges. The gold alloys' slight malleability facilitates the creation of a superior molar mating surface with other teeth and produces results that are generally more satisfactory than those produced by the creation of porcelain crowns. The use of gold crowns in more prominent teeth such as incisors is favored in some cultures and discouraged in others.
Gold, or alloys of gold and palladium, are applied as conductive coating to biological specimens and other non-conducting materials such as plastics and glass to be viewed in a scanning electron microscope.
Gold's very high electrical conductivity drains electrical charge to earth, and its very high density provides stopping power for electrons in the electron beam, helping to limit the depth to which the electron beam penetrates the specimen. The isotope gold-198, (half-life 2.7 days) is used in some cancer treatments and for treating other diseases.
Food and drink: Gold leaf, flake, or dust is used on and in some gourmet foods, notably sweets and drinks as decorative ingredient. Gold flake was used by the nobility in Medieval Europe as a decoration in food and drinks, in the form of leaf, flakes, or dust, either to demonstrate the host's wealth or in the belief that something that valuable and rare must be beneficial for one's health.
INDUSTRY: Gold solder is used for joining the components of gold jewelry by high-temperature hard soldering or brazing. If the work is to be of hallmarking quality, gold solder must match the carat weight of the work, and alloy formulas are manufactured in most industry-standard carat weights to color match yellow and white gold.
Gold solder is usually made in at least three melting-point ranges referred to as Easy, Medium, and Hard.
By using the hard, high-melting point solder first, followed by solders with progressively lower melting points, goldsmiths can assemble complex items with several separate soldered joints. Gold can be made into thread and used in embroidery.
In photography, gold toners are used to shift the color of silver bromide black-and-white prints towards brown or blue tones, or to increase their stability.
Kodak published formulas for several types of gold toners, which use gold as the chloride. Gold is a good reflector of electromagnetic radiation such as infrared and visible light as well as radio waves.
GOLD MINE: Gold mining consists of the processes and techniques employed in the removal of gold from the ground. The value of gold is of course a result of its rareness and also of its interesting physical characteristics. Gold is a so-called precious metal, which means it does not rust (oxidize) at normal conditions.
It is resistant against many acids and a good electric conductor, which makes it useful for electronic circuits. It is also useful for jewelry because of its inertness, as it will not oxidize or change in any other way. The continually high value of gold made it an important factor for money. Originally, the most valuable coins were made of gold.
There are several geologic processes which accumulate gold, most important for classic gold fields is erosion. Typically, gold is the rarest metal in the ore, but depending on the percentage and the value, it may be the most valuable.
GOLD IS FOUND ALL OVER THE WORLD.
The most important gold producer of the world is South Africa. The Kruger Rand gold coins are world famous. The mines in South Africa can provide several superlatives.
The East Rand Mine is the world's deepest mine, 3585m below surface.
The Freegold Mine, owned by an Anglo American corporation, was until recently the world's most productive gold mine at 115 tones per year
Driefontein Consolidated Mine has produced more gold than any other gold mine, about 2292 tons.
The deepest single-drop mining shaft in the world has been sunk at the South Deep Gold Mine, owned and operated by Western Areas Gold Mining Company (Johannesburg, South Africa). It is located in Westonaria, Gauteng Province, South Africa. The shaft, with a depth of 2991.45m below the collar, has taken almost seven years of sinking.
The rising gold price makes some of those mines profitable again.