Gold by the Numbers: These Fun Facts Will Have You Scratching Your Head

The glint of gold caught the eye of early man more than 5,000 years ago and has been coveted by ancient and modern civilizations ever since. We can all agree that gold is rare, valuable and astonishingly beautiful, but here are some little-known, fun facts about the precious metal — as provided by the World Gold Council — to share around the water cooler.

Gold by the Numbers:

49 - The portion of all mined gold that is made into jewelry. This industry is the single largest consumer of the precious metal.

22 – All of the gold ever mined would fit into a cube measuring 22 meters.

187,200 – All the gold ever mined would tip the scales at 187,200 tons.

9 – One ounce of pure gold can be hammered into a single translucent sheet 0.000018 cm thick and 9 meters square.

11.2 million – If all the existing gold in the world was pulled into a 5-micron-thick wire, it could wrap around the Earth 11.2 million times.

1064 – Gold melts at 1,064 degrees Celsius (1,943 degrees Fahrenheit).

31.103 – There are just over 31 grams in a troy ounce of gold.

1/5 – It is rarer to find a one ounce nugget of gold than a 5-carat diamond.

1849 – The year of the California Gold Rush, when 40,000 miners headed west to seek their fortunes. They were called 49ers and the vast majority never got rich.

1885 – While digging up stones to build a house, Australian miner George Harrison found gold ore near Johannesburg in 1885, sparking the South African gold rush.

2,316 – “Welcome Stranger,” the largest gold nugget ever found, weighed an astonishing 2,316 troy ounces (144.75 pounds). It was unearthed at Moliagul, Australia, in February of 1869.

200 – This how many gold coins Julius Caesar presented to each of his soldiers for defeating Gaul in 52 BCE.

400 – The “London Good Delivery” is an investment-grade gold bullion bar containing 400 troy ounces of gold.

530,000 – The number of gold bars held by the US Federal Reserve. The bars weigh a total of 6,700 tons.

750 – Gold is often alloyed with other metals to change its color and strength. Eighteen-karat gold is composed of 750 parts of pure gold per 1,000.

Credits: Image by Stevebidmead, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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