From Cleopatra’s glimmering headdress to Marie Antoinette’s golden pocket watch, our love affair with gold can be traced back through 6,000+ years of history. As a society, we still love to adorn ourselves with sparkling gold jewelry and we don’t see that changing any time soon.
For those of us who were daydreaming in chemistry class- here’s a crash course on what gold is and where this symbol of luxury stems from.
What is Gold?
Essentially, gold is a chemical element. It’s a pure mineral that’s found on nearly every continent in the world, within rock formations or in waterways. Gold is known for being durable (virtually indestructible), malleable, and for its natural luminous color.
Now that we know what gold is, we have to figure out where it came from. Would you believe me if I told you gold came from space? Yes, space! An analysis of the oldest rock samples on earth showed undeniable evidence that gold comes from meteorites crashing into our world millions of years after it was formed. Now we don’t know about you - but we love jewelry with an intergalactic twist.
Getting to the Gold
Do you remember learning about the California Gold Rush? People were willing to do anything to find a single speck of gold. While that was over 100 years ago, the sentiment is pretty much the same today. Thankfully, manufacturers and jewelers like us have opted to source our gold through fair-trade mines. These mines meet strict safety standards and prohibit harmful practices to protect the miners and the environment.
Buying gold jewelry adds more than sparkle to your attire, it also helps small-scale miners support their families in developing countries. Around 100 million people worldwide rely on small-scale mining to support their families. With fair-trade gold, you can rest assured that your jewelry is ethically mined and supports these communities.
Beyond mining, recycled gold is being produced more than ever. Mainly because the discovery of new gold mines have decreased and we’re becoming more aware of sustainable choices. Today, at least 90% of recycled gold comes from faded, old or unwanted jewelry. It’s sorted by purity and then melted down to create “new” gold. Not only is the option of recycling gold practical, but it’s also eco-friendly - and who doesn’t want that?!
A Golden Reputation
When we say love jewelry, we mean it. About 78% of all gold is used each year to create jewelry. As for the rest of the gold, it’s used within different industries such as investing and financing, electronics, medicine, and dentistry (gold grillz anyone?).
While we did mention that gold is incredibly durable and malleable, we’d like to add that it also conducts electricity, doesn’t tarnish, and alloys well with other metals. These characteristics make gold the perfect key ingredient for creating long-lasting products we can use daily.
Whether it’s worn as jewelry or used as a long-term investment, the gold we know and love will continue to be one of the world’s most historic symbols of luxury (bling, bling).