25 Surprising Facts About Gold
Interactive Research

25 Surprising Facts About Gold (Slideshow)

Author: Frank Holmes
Date Posted: August 18, 2022 Read time: 4 min

Gold has been a prized commodity since its discovery thousands of years ago for its beautiful appearance and variety of uses. Here are just 25 of the most surprising facts about the yellow metal.

25 Surprising Facts About Gold
25 Surprising Facts About Gold

Gold has been a prized commodity since its discovery thousands of years ago for its beautiful appearance and variety of uses. Here are just 25 of the most surprising facts about the yellow metal.


The word “gold” comes from the old English word “Geolu” – meaning yellow.


The Aztec word for gold – “teocuitatil” – was translated by Europeans as “excrement of the gods.”

Gold is highly malleable and it can be beaten into thin sheets only a few millionths of an inch thick. In fact, a single ounce of gold can be drawn into a wire 60 miles long.

A one-ounce gold nugget is rarer to find than a five-carat diamond.

The largest gold nugget found in the U.S. weighed 195 pounds and was discovered in California.

"Hand of Faith"

The largest gold nugget still in existence is the “Hand of Faith” – found in Australia in 1980 and weighing 27 kilograms. It is on display at the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas.

A carat was originally a unit of mass based on the carob seed used by ancient merchants.

The gold standard

Most Western economies were on the gold standard until 1961. President Nixon ended the gold standard in the U.S. in 1971.

Swiss Franc

Switzerland was the last country with a currency that was tied to gold. Forty percent of a Swiss franc was backed by gold until the country joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1999.

Fort Knox

The U.S. lays claim to the largest gold reserve than any other country – a whopping 8,133.5 tons. From what we know, the majority of American gold is held at Fort Knox in Kentucky.


A maximalist, in the cryptocurrency community, is someone who believes that Bitcoin is the only digital asset that will be needed in the future. Maximalists believe that all other digital currencies are inferior to Bitcoin.

South Africa

South Africa was the top gold producer until 2006 and hit peak production in 1970 when it mined 995 tonnes. China took over as the world’s top producer in 2007 and held that spot as of 2018.


China is the world’s largest consumer of gold today, followed closely by India, largely for use in jewelry.

South Asian

South Asian jewelry is on average more pure than Western jewelry, with 22 carat gold, rather than 14 carat.

Mponeng Mine

South Africa is home to the world’s deepest gold mine, the Mponeng mine, extending 2.5 miles underground.

Califonia Gold Rush

During the California Gold Rush, there was so much gold discovered that some speculators paid more for an ounce of water than they received for an ounce of gold.

Double Eagle

The most expensive gold coin in the world is the 1933 Double Eagle, sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $7.59 million in 2002.

Olympic Gold Medal

Olympic gold medals were made of pure gold until 1912.

Canadian coin

In 2007, Canada made a 100 kilogram gold coin with a face value of $1,000,000.

Venus, Mecury and Mars

Scientists believe that gold could be found on planets such as Mars, Mercury and Venus.

Astonauts' helmet

Astronauts’ helmets are covered by a visor that is coated with a thin layer of gold to filter out the sun’s harmful rays, according to NASA.


Gold has been used in dentistry for nearly 3,000 years. In 1530 a dentistry book entitled Artzney Buchlein was published suggesting that cavities and rotten teeth be filled with gold leaf.


Because it’s highly conductive and doesn’t corrode, a small amount of gold can be found in almost every electronic device. A single mobile phone contains up to 50 milligrams of gold.


Injections of liquid gold can help relieve pain to those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Gold ATM

The world’s first gold vending machine was unveiled in 2010 at an ultra-luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi. The machine itself is covered in 24-carat gold.

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