Why is gold considered precious?

It's bright and beautiful, and people have loved making jewelry out of it for centuries. Gold is also used as money and has been used for hundreds of years. But gold is precious not only because it's beautiful and expensive, but it's also very useful. It is used in art, industry, electronics, dentistry and medicine.

So it turns out that the reason why gold is precious is precisely because it is so chemically uninteresting. Gold is much more valuable than any other metal, which means it will always have a use for it. Metal is so popular because it doesn't rust or tarnish and its color never fades. That's why gold is likely to remain valuable, no matter what happens in the market.

In the 17th century, many English citizens had homemade mints on which they marked their gold coins with the percentage of pure gold found in them. So what exactly made gold so valuable and expensive, and why did several peoples show such interest in converting it into currencies? Surprisingly, it's not so much about the properties of gold, but about those that other elements don't have. If you put together all the earrings, all the golden rulers, the small traces of gold on each computer chip, each pre-Columbian statuette, each wedding ring and cast it, it is estimated that you would only have a 20-meter cube left or something like that. As gold became more entrenched in world currencies, many countries began to back their money with the amount of gold their country could produce.

In the 16th century, the discovery of South America and its vast gold deposits caused a huge fall in the value of gold and, therefore, an enormous increase in the price of everything else. Pure gold is too soft to be a metal, so much so that people used to bite into coins to check for gold. Human tooth enamel has a Mohs hardness of 5, while gold has only 2.5, so teeth can make a dent in a piece of gold, but not a gold-plated coin. For example, you can buy physical gold, buy gold shares in gold mines, or even buy shares in an ETF (exchange-traded fund) that tracks the price of gold.

Pure gold is highly resistant to aging and tarnishing, so most of the gold from the hominid era still survives today and lives on in your smartphones, computer chips and watches. Gold can stimulate a subjective personal experience, but it can also be objectified if adopted as an exchange system. Gold doesn't rust, tarnish and doesn't tarnish because gold doesn't react with almost anything. The gold standard gave people the assurance that the value of their money did not depend on their country's ability to pay debts, their international position or a thousand other things they didn't understand, but only on their ability to produce gold.

Gold is the metal we'll turn to when other forms of currency don't work, which means that gold will always have value in difficult and good times. During the gold standard era, anyone could go to a bank and exchange paper money for a certain amount of gold.