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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What is gold?

Gold is a rare, yellow metal that occurs naturally in many different places around the world. It can be found in its pure form or mixed with other minerals.
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2. Where is gold found?

Gold is found all around the world. The major gold producing countries include South Africa, Canada, the United States and Australia.
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3. Why is Au the chemical symbol of gold?

Au is an abbreviation of the Latin name for gold, Aurum, which means ‘Rising Dawn.’
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4. Where does the English word ‘gold’ come from?

The word ‘gold’ comes from the Old English word for gold, ‘geolu’, which means yellow.
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5. What is a carat?

Carats measure the purity of an item of gold. Carats are expressed as fractions of 24. 24 carat gold is pure gold, while 12 carat gold means there are 12 parts pure gold and 12 parts other metals.
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6. How stretchy is gold?

Gold is the most malleable of all metals. One ounce, about 30 grams, can be hammered into a sheet more than 30 metres across on each side. It can be hammered so thin that it becomes transparent and light can pass through it.
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7. Can base metals be turned into gold?

No. Alchemists have tried and failed throughout history to change other substances into the precious yellow metal.
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8. What is an acid test?

An acid test is a method used to determine the purity of gold by subjecting the metal to various acids like nitric acid and hydrochloric acid.  If the gold is pure, it will remain its natural colour and texture.  If it has been mixed with copper or another substance, the metal will turn blue!
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9. What is an alloy of gold?

An alloy is a mixture of gold with such metals as copper, silver, zinc and platinum.
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10. What is ‘Fool’s Gold’?

Fool’s Gold is the popular name for iron pyrite. This metallic-looking sulphur mineral is sometimes mistaken for gold, but it is hard and brittle, whereas gold is soft and malleable.
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11. What is the ‘gold standard’?

The gold standard was historically used as a monetary system whereby a country backed its paper currency with gold and agreed with other countries on a fixed price at which to buy and sell gold. The gold standard is no longer used by any nation.
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12. What is the ‘Gold Fix’?

Twice per day, the London gold pool (five members of the London Bullion Market Association) sets the price of gold based on basic economics of supply and demand.  These prices are then transmitted throughout the world.
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13. What is a gold nugget?

A gold nugget is a mass of gold that has been washed from the rock that contained it and deposited in a riverbed. Gold nuggets usually range in weight from about 30 grams to 50 kilograms. The heaviest nugget ever recorded was called the ‘Welcome Stranger’. It was found in Australia in 1869 and weighed 90.9 kilograms or 200 lbs.
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14. What is gold leaf?

Beating of gold into very thin sheets, or leaf, is an ancient craft. Skilled goldsmiths can hammer gold so thin that it would take 250,000 sheets of it to make a layer an inch high. Gold leaf is used to decorate things like buildings, picture frames and ornaments.
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