Pure gold is often too soft to be used alone in jewelry and is combined with other metals to increase strength. Below is a breakdown of the common karats found in jewelry:
24k - 99% gold - Considered pure gold
18k - 75% gold - International standard
14k - 58% gold - Widespread in the US
10k and below - Cannot be sold as gold
India and China alone account for 56% of the demand for gold jewelry. Both cultures are seeing an increase in new designs that fit new fashion trends and lifestyle choices. No longer is gold jewelry only reserved for religious or special occasions, it is now becoming more mainstream in these markets.
Gold is mined all over the world in various methods. Gold can be dredged, panned, leached, and hard rock mined depending on where its found. Hard rock mining is most commonly used by large corporations to extract gold encased in rock. The deepest hard rock mine is found in South Africa at a depth of 12,800 feet. At such depths, heat from deep layers of the earth are unbearable and air conditioning is required.
Gold is the most popular precious metal to be invested in. The different methods of investing in gold are: buying gold bars, buying gold coins, buying exchange-traded funds, buying gold certificates, obtaining a gold account, buying derivatives, or investing in mining companies.
Due to its malleable state, chemically inert properties, and the fact it's a nonallergenic, gold is used in many unconventional ways. Since ancient times, gold has been consumed with food and beverages, used to tailor entire pieces of clothing, inserted into beauty treatments, and used to plate objects to signify wealth and prosperity.
Gold adaptability and conductivity makes it a key ingredient for electronics, exceeding 300 tonnes a year in demand. Other industries in which gold can be found are: automotive, medicine, nanotechnology, space, and engineering.