The history of gold is long and extensive. The oldest pieces were discovered in tombs of Ancient Egyptian kings and queens. The first gold coins were struck in Lydia around 700 BC. In the Americas, pioneers made the long trek west to find gold in the new frontier.
Throughout the years, gold has been used as a means for monetary exchange around the world. Between 1970 and 1879 many countries embraced the gold standard. The gold standard was a monetary system in which the amount of money produced was based on a fixed quantity of gold. Gold is, and will always be, a hot commodity.
Price of gold
Like other precious metals, gold is measured by its troy weight. When referring to jewelry, gold is measured in grams. The price of gold is determined twice each business day on the London market. The price of gold is driven by supply and demand as well as speculation. Gold price has a long-term correlation with crude oil. For this reason, gold is often sold off during times of economic hardship.
The term karat is used to indicate the purity of gold. Pure gold is stamped 24 karat and lower ratings are proportionally less. Because pure gold is incredibly soft, the metal is often alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry. The most common karat stamps for jewelry are 10K, 14K and 18K. Buying gold jewelry can be an expensive endeavor. The price of gold jewelry depends on weight, karat and labor that goes into the piece. Where you purchase gold jewelry is also a contributing factor. For instance, jewelry stores tend to have higher gold prices than pawn shops.
Gold as an investment
Gold is a very popular investment. Investors generally buy gold as hedge against economic crises. When the economy is unhealthy, the price of gold rises. A common way to invest in gold is to buy coins or clad bars. Bullion coins struck from gold are kept as an investment. These coins are not used in daily commerce. Rather, they have an aesthetic value. The price of gold can fluctuate over time. For almost 200 years, gold price has remained steady. Today, gold is at a two-year low. There is no guarantee that gold will increase, only speculation. But, for those looking to invest long-term, gold is very popular at the moment.
Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on Google+.