What is this lovely shiny thing we know as gold?

Scientifically speaking, gold is a chemical element (Au), and a transition metal that appears reddish yellow in its purest form. It is thought to have been produced through what’s known as supernova nucleosynthesis. In other words an extreme explosion in space involving a lot of space matter and gas, which happened before the Solar System was formed. 

Materialistically speaking, gold has long been considered a treasure. It’s classed as a precious metal, and owing to its malleability and general shininess, has been considered something special since the 4th millennium BC. In the thousands of years since, gold has been used as currency, jewellery, ornaments, and more recently in medicine, electronics and even cuisine.

A single gram of gold can be manufactured into a sheet measuring one square metre. Gold leaf, used in art and cuisine, can be manufactured even thinner than this and still remain intact and beautiful. 

Gold is found naturally in very small particles embedded in rock, often together with other minerals such as quartz. Extracting it and refining it down to pure gold is rather a long process, but despite gold being industrially mined for nearly 150 years, there are still hundreds of large-scale mines operating all over the world.

As of 2019, a total of 197,576 tonnes of gold exists above ground. 75% of this figure has been mined since 1910. According to estimates, this would be equal to a solid cube measuring 21.7 metres on each side.

The world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewellery, 40% in investments, and 10% in industry. Because of the sheer volume of gold that has been mined since gold mining began, much of the world’s known gold supply is in fact recycled and reused over and over. This means that your grandmother’s lovely wedding ring might actually be a reincarnation of Ancient Egypt gold, which - in those times was apparently more plentiful than dirt. A sight which is hard to imagine!

Because of the softness of pure gold (which is 24 karat), it is usually mixed with other base metals when it’s manufactured into jewellery. This ensures it’s not easily marked, scratched or damaged. And it ensures that small claws that are made to hold precious stones, aren’t at risk of failing in their grasp.

Here at Seddon Terrace we source gold that’s mined in New Zealand and we work with expert craftsmen to create the beautiful range of jewellery that you see on our website. Take a look at our stunning collection, you won’t be disappointed. 

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