Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (from Latin: aurum "gold") and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny metal and the most malleable and ductile metal known. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. It has been a valuable and highly sought-after precious metal for coinage, jewelry, and other arts since long before the beginning of recorded history.
- Gold is one of the things for the non-existence of which man would probably be all the better. It was originally called into existence for the service of the Mishkan and of the Temple.
- For millions of workers, gold and diamond mining is an important source of income. But the conditions under which gold and diamonds are mined can be brutal. Children have been injured and killed when working in small-scale gold or diamond mining pits. Indigenous peoples and other local residents near mines have been forcibly displaced. In war, civilians have suffered enormously as abusive armed groups have enriched themselves by exploiting gold and diamonds. Mines have polluted waterways and soil with toxic chemicals, harming the health and livelihoods of whole communities.
Gold is mined in around 80 countries, with approximately 3,200 tons produced every year. The largest producers are China, Australia, Russia, and the US. Most gold comes from large, industrial mines, though 15 to 20 percent of the world’s gold comes from small-scale or artisanal mines, primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Jewelry accounts for over 50 percent of the world’s gold demand, an estimated 1,600 tons of gold for 2016.
Gold from industrial mines may be exported directly to refiners, while artisanal gold may pass from one trader to another before being exported for refining. Gold refiners play a crucial role in the gold supply chain. Because the vast majority of the world’s gold passes through a small number of refiners, these companies are sometimes called the “choke point” of the gold supply chain.
Once gold is refined, it is sold to banks, manufacturers, jewelry and watch companies, electronics companies, or other businesses. Jewelry companies may source their gold directly from refiners, or from manufacturers, banks, or international gold traders. China and India are the largest markets for gold jewelry, representing over 50 percent of global jewelry demand.
Around the world, millions of people work in gold and diamond mining. The vast majority of them—an estimated 40 million people—work in artisanal and small-scale mines, which operate with little or no machinery and often belong to the informal sector.
- Human Rights Watch, "The Hidden Cost of Jewelry", (February 8, 2018).
- I started working when I was 12. Sometimes I help pull out the bags, and sometimes I go underwater. It’s just like digging with a shovel, and putting it in a sand bag. [To breathe] I use the compressor…. I bite the hose and release it whenever I need air, inhale, and exhale through my nose…. At first, it was hard to think about going down… I don’t use goggles. I basically don’t use my eyes. I use my hands to look for the passage, the canal…. Sometimes you have to make it up fast, especially if you have no air in your hose if the machine stops working. It’s a normal thing [for the compressor to stop working]. It’s happened to me.
- "Joseph", "The Hidden Cost of Jewelry", Human Rights Watch, (February 8, 2018).
- Bright El Dorado, land of gold,
We have so sought for thee,
There's not a spot in all the globe
Where such a land can be.
- Letitia Elizabeth Landon, from Mont Blanc in The Bijou, 1829.
- King: "REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE!"
Peasant: "WHAT’S THAT?"
Another peasant: "WHOEVER HAS THE GOLD, MAKES THE RULES!"
- Remember the Golden Rule (1971), by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart (collection of 1967 The Wizard of Id newspaper cartoons) .
- I am working at the old Chinese mining site. I bring the load up from the ground, I dig. I also do the washing [processing of the gold ore]. I use mercury, and get it from the gold buyer… I started about two years ago…. I use the money [I earn] to buy food and clothes, and give some to my mother. I am here every day, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m…. I dropped out of school in P5 [5th grade of primary school]. I was unable to buy my things for school…. I wish I could have stayed in school.
- "Peter", "The Hidden Cost of Jewelry", Human Rights Watch, (February 8, 2018).
- O you who believe! surely many of the doctors of law and the monks collect the property of men falsely, and hinder (them) from God's way. And those who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in God's way -- announce to them a painful chastisement, On the day when it will be heated in the Fire of Hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs will be branded with it :"This (wealth) is what you hoarded up for yourselves, so taste what you used to hoard!"
- Quran 9:34-35
- Imaro exploded. “Why do men fight like starving lions over yellow metal and let valuable cattle go?”
- “Gold,” says the Consul, knowing that this is the only syllable that has held its power over the ages.
- But still less should the gold of rich men lazily sleep its heavy sleep in the urns and gloom of treasuries. This so weighty metal, when it becomes the associate of a fancy, assumes the most active virtues of the mind. It has her restless nature. Its essence is to vanish. It changes into all things, without being itself changed. It raises blocks of stone, pierces mountains, opens the gates of fortresses and the most secret hearts; it enchains men; it dresses, it undresses women with an almost miraculous promptitude. It is truly the most abstract agent that exists, next to thought. But thought exchanges and envelops images only, whereas gold incites and promotes the transmutations of all real things into one another; itself remaining incorruptible, and passing untainted through all hands.
- Paul Valéry, Eupalinos, or the Architect (1921), in Dialogues (Bollingen Series XLV 4/Princeton University Press, 1989), translated by William McCausland Stewart, pp. 147–8.
[A]ny article which is well known to be valued by a large and easily accessible class of persons may be taken habitually in exchange for valued commodities, although those who take it do not want it for their own use, and it does not, on its own merits, occupy such a place on their relative scale as would justify the exchange. … If there is some article of very generally recognised value which actually takes its place, as directly significant, on the scales of a great number of people, it may come to be generally accepted, without any special calculation or consideration, by people who are not thinking of any use they may have for it themselves, but are aware that it occupies a sufficiently high relative place on the scales of others to recoup them for what they give in exchange for it. As soon as this custom begins to be well established it will automatically extend and confirm itself, and the commodity in question will become a "currency" or "medium of exchange," the special characteristic of a medium of exchange being that it is accepted by a man who does not want it, or does not want it as much as what he gives for it, in order that he may exchange it for something he wants more. … Concurrently with these developments, or perhaps in advance of them, the custom will grow up of estimating the marginal significance of things in terms of the generally accepted article even when the article does not pass from hand to hand in exchanges. … The convenience of such a standardising of values is obvious. If everything is scheduled in terms of one selected commodity it is indefinitely easier than it would otherwise be to realise the terms on which alternatives are open to us; and if any man defines his marginal estimate of anything he possesses in terms of this standard commodity any other member of the community will at once know whether or not it stands higher on his own scale than on the other's, and therefore whether or not the conditions for a mutually advantageous exchange exist.
In England the functions of a standardising commodity and of a medium of exchange are both alike performed by gold. Gold is applied to a vast number of purposes in the arts and sciences, and were it more abundant it would replace other metals in many more. Consequently a great number of easily accessible persons actually give a relatively high place to gold on their scales of preference, in virtue of its direct significance to them. It is established by custom (and, so far as that is possible, by law) as the universally accepted commodity; and at the same time it is used as the common measure in terms of which our estimates of all exchangeable things may be stated.
- Philip Wicksteed, "Money and Exchange," ch. 4 of The Common Sense of Political Economy, Book I, Systematic and Constructive, contained in ed. Lionel Robbins, The Common Sense of Political Economy and Selected Papers and Reviews on Economic Theory vol. I (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul LTD, 1910, 1933, 1957), pp. 136–138.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 325-26.
- You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns—you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!
- William Jennings Bryan, Democratic Convention (July 9, 1896).
- A thirst for gold,
The beggar's vice, which can but overwhelm
The meanest hearts.
- Lord Byron, The Vision of Judgment, Stanza 43.
- And yet he hadde "a thombe of gold" pardee.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Prologue, line 563.
- Every honest miller has a golden thumb.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Old saying.
- For gold in phisik is a cordial;
Therefore he lovede gold in special.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Prologue, line 443.
- Gold begets in brethren hate;
Gold in families debate;
Gold does friendship separate;
Gold does civil wars create.
- Abraham Cowley, Anacreontics, Gold, line 17.
- To virgin minds, which yet their native whiteness hold,
Not yet discoloured with the love of gold
(That jaundice of the soul,
Which makes it look so gilded and so foul)
- Abraham Cowley, “Of Greatness”
- What female heart can gold despise?
What cat's averse to fish?
- Thomas Gray, On the Death of a Favorite Cat.
- That is gold which is worth gold.
- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651).
- Gold! Gold! Gold! Gold!
Bright and yellow, hard and cold.
- Thomas Hood, Miss Kilmansegg, Her Moral.
- Aurum per medios ire satellites
Et perrumpere amat saxa potentius
- Stronger than thunder's winged force
All-powerful gold can speed its course;
Through watchful guards its passage make,
And loves through solid walls to break.
- Horace, Ode XVI, Book III, line 12. Francis' translation.
- Stronger than thunder's winged force
- But scarce observ'd the Knowing and the Bold,
Fall in the gen'ral Massacre of Gold;
Wide-wasting Pest! that rages unconfin'd,
And crouds with Crimes the Records of Mankind,
For Gold his Sword the Hireling Ruffian draws,
For Gold the hireling Judge distorts the laws;
Wealth heap'd on Wealth, nor truth nor Safety buys,
The Dangers gather as the Treasures rise.
- Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes (1749), Ver.12-16.
- The lust of gold succeeds the rage of conquest;
The lust of gold, unfeeling and remorseless!
The last corruption of degenerate man.
- Samuel Johnson, Irene, Act I, scene 1.
- L'or donne aux plus laids certain charme pour plaire,
Et quo sans lui le reste est une triste affaire.
- Gold gives to the ugliest thing a certain charming air,
For that without it were else a miserable affair.
- Molière, Sganarelle I.
- Gold gives to the ugliest thing a certain charming air,
- Aurea nunc vere sunt specula; plurimus auro
Venit honos; auro conciliatur amor.
- Truly now is the golden age; the highest honour comes by means of gold; by gold love is procured.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, Book II. 277.
- Not Philip, but Philip's gold, took the cities of Greece.
- Plutarch, Life of Paulus Æmilius, quoted as a common saying, referring to Philip II of Macedon.
- What nature wants, commodious gold bestows;
'Tis thus we cut the bread another sows.
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essay, Epistle III, line 21.
- L'or est une chimère.
- Gold is a vain and foolish fancy.
- Scribe and Delavigne, Robert le Diable, Chapter I, scene 7.
- How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object!
For this the foolish over-careful fathers
Have broke their sleep with thoughts, their brains with care,
Their bones with industry:
For this they have engrossed and pil'd up
The canker'd heaps of strange-achieved gold;
For this they have been thoughtful to invest
Their sons with arts and martial exercises.
- Thou that so stoutly hast resisted me,
Give me thy gold, if thou hast any gold;
For I have bought it with an hundred blows.
- Commerce has set the mark of selfishness,
The signet of its all-enslaving power
Upon a shining ore, and called it gold;
Before whose image bow the vulgar great,
The vainly rich, the miserable proud,
The mob of peasants, nobles, priests, and kings,
And with blind feelings reverence the power
That grinds them to the dust of misery.
But in the temple of their hireling hearts
Gold is a living god, and rules in scorn
All earthly things but virtue.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab (1813), Part V, Stanza 4.
- Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra fames?