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Mysterious Gleaming Gold

Anthropological excavations of Stone Age burial sites indicate that gold was the first element collected and prized by man. This unique metal, gathered in the form of nuggets, seems to have been highly prized but was not used in practical applications. Rating 2.5 – 3 on Mohs scale of hardness, gold was much too pliable to be hammered into workable tools or weapons. Gold carried little value for prehistoric man except to be admired and treasured for its rare, intrinsic beauty.

However, as man developed he soon discovered numerous applications for the mysterious golden metal. The earliest record of gold exploration dates to Egypt around 2000 B.C. Ancient records tell of an enormous alluvial gold deposit in Nubia, between the Nile River and the Red Sea in southeastern Egypt. This incredible discovery encompassed over one hundred square miles. Using the most primitive of tools and working to an average depth of less than six feet, these first “miners” pried an estimated one thousand tons of gold from this rich discovery. Egyptian artisans, recognizing the extraordinary malleability of gold fashioned incredible jewelry, ornaments and idols of breathtaking beauty.

Throughout the history of man’s involvement with gold, the precious metal has been prized not only for its beauty but for gold’s ability to withstand the rigors of time. No substance that appears commonly in nature will destroy gold. Unaffected by air, moisture, heat or cold, this noble metal will not tarnish, corrode, rust or tarnish. Shimmering gold dust, golden nuggets of placer gold and brilliant vein occurrences have survived 4.5 Billion years of cataclysmic geologic and climate changes; volcanic eruption, earthquakes, upheavals and deposition. Treasures of gold jewelry, bullion and coins, buried for thousands of years beneath land and sea have been found intact; as brilliant as the day they were abandoned.

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A relatively rare native metallic element, gold ranks fifty-eighth in abundance amongst the ninety two natural elements that make up the earth’s crust. Although considered a rare element, of all metals gold is, with the exception of iron, the most widely distributed over the planet. Gold has been found on 90 per cent of the earth’s surface and is mined in high mountain ranges, in the deeply weathered soil of the tropics, harsh deserts and in the permanently frozen tundra of the Arctic.

Gold is commercially mined on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. The richest gold producing area of the world is the Witwatersrand District of South Africa. This ultra rich area has yielded eighteen thousand tons of gold with no end in sight. Additional notable gold bearing areas around the world are Siberia in the former USSR, the Porcupine District in Ontario, Canada and in the United States the Yukon District of Alaska and the famous Mother Lode District in California.

In the United States nature was extremely generous. Thirty-two states have recorded significant commercial gold production. The highest yielding areas are located within the western states, California, Colorado, Alaska, Nevada and South Dakota. Other abundant locations for prospecting include Georgia, Arkansas, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Washington, New Mexico, Wyoming, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Vermont and New Hampshire. The recreational gold prospector can find gold in his pan in practically every state of the union.

Gold is an ideal media for craftsmen. It is a metal that can be deformed by pounding without breaking or crumbling. Gold, in its pure form is the most malleable or workable of all metals. One single ounce of gold can be drawn and stretched into an ultra fine wire over 50 miles in length without breaking or pounded to the amazing thinness of one hundred thousandth of an inch without disintegrating. Gold is easily carved, readily buffs to a gleaming polish, can be heated repeatedly without discoloration and joins to itself or other metals by soldering without the need for a bonding flux.