Gold 101

May 14, 2015
Stewart Kuper

If anyone has seen the best James Bond movie, Goldfinger, they know that gold is much more than a fancy adornment for jewelry. In Goldfinger, the evil villain plots an intricate scheme to take over the world by gaining complete control of the world’s gold supply. Goldfinger claims, “ever since I was a kid gold has fascinated me, I’ve spent my whole life collecting it. I am drawn to its luster, exceptional nature, and beaming qualities.” Indeed, Goldfinger’s obsession with gold is nothing new, the African king Akuma almost succeeded in total domination of his continent by controlling Africa’s gold supply. Perhaps the reason gold is no longer the standard for currency, is to prevent Goldfinger’s gambit from ever occurring. Although the worlds gold standard was abandoned for a flat currency, gold continues to be one of the most sought after substances on the planet.
The Origin of Gold
Tracing back the origin of gold is a difficult, mysterious endeavor. It is thought that gold was first produced in supernova nucleosynthesis to “seed the dust from which the solar system formed.” Earth was molten when it first formed, so almost all of the Earth’s gold supply sunk to Earth’s core. That is why many believe that most of the readily available gold on Earth, was delivered by asteroid impacts billions of years ago. Ergo, that Gold ring around your finger is not only shiny and beautiful, but it’s extraterrestrial, something foreign and highly exotic.
On the periodic table Gold’s symbol is Au, which may confound those unfamiliar with Latin. The chemical symbol comes from the Latin, aurum, which sounds a lot like the Latin word for bright. Gold is amongst the heaviest atom in the universe that occurs naturally. It is extremely unreactive, meaning it refuses to bond with other elements—it is a pure breed. Goldfinger’s characterization of gold is highly accurate, it is beautiful because it is lustrous, exceptional, unproductive, and beaming.