A Bit About Gold
Gold will last forever and will not rust. About 80% of gold is used in jewelry -- the rest is used for industrial purposes.
Right now, every third radio or television ad seems to be hawking gold as an investment because its price rose more than 40% last year. No one knows whether it will rise or fall in value as time goes by.
Here's a bit of truth and lore about gold and gold mining you may not have heard
At the height of the 1849 gold rush in California, man devised a thing called Hydraulic Mining to increase the efficiency of getting gold out of the rocks in the mines. The process is still used today, along with some other methods.
The only problem with the hydraulic process (which involved shooting large powerful streams of water at the raw earth and gathering the gold from the sediment) was that it required the use of powerful chemical elements to make the system work. The ancient Romans used mercury to recover gold, and the gold rush miners decided to do the same. Mercury will form an amalgam with gold, separating it from any other rock debris.
Cyanide and mercury turned out to be the best solution, but these two elements are two of the most lethal elements on earth. A wee bit of cyanide (teaspoonful) will kill you instantly. Mercury is a more subtle health hazard. More than 26 million pounds of mercury were used for gold recovery during the gold rush.
Both elements find their way into streams and rivers, and into the ground, eventually winding up in plants, livestock, fish and humans.
The environmentalists have been unsuccessful in banning their use in mining, although a few regulations have been passed in the last 150 years to slow the dumping and abandonment processes.
A Christmas Story About Gold
On Christmas Day, 1849, Mrs. William George Wilson delivered a healthy, 12-pound boy at Canyon Creek, near Georgetown, in the gold rush region of California. To celebrate the joyous event, the Wilsons invited all the miners nearby to their house -- to see not only the boy but what George claimed to be the largest gold nugget in the world, which he found on Christmas Eve. It weighed 22 pounds and was indeed a sight to behold.
Problem was, it was a fake. Wilson had somehow managed to coat a big rock to look like gold, and most of the miners believed him. Maybe they longed to believe him, in hopes they too could find a big one.
. . . . . .Many more legends prevail about the rambunctious gold rush days.
Much of the world's gold is stored somewhere, by governments and by individuals. Its value is strictly arbitrary, and it fluctuates - depending upon the stock market, the fear or contented feeling of the populace, and a bit of smoke and mirrors.