Q:

How did gold get its name?

A:

Quick Answer

Gold got its name from the Anglo-Saxon word for the element, which is simply "gold." The word might have been influenced by the Sanskrit word for gold, which is "jval." The chemical symbol for gold is "Au." This is an abbreviation of "aurum," which is the Latin word for gold.

Know More
How did gold get its name?
Credit: epSos .de CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

Gold is an element that's been known for thousands of years, and no one knows who was first to discover it. It's a metal that is exceptionally ductile and malleable. This means it can be pulled into the thinnest of wires and beaten into the thinnest of sheets without breaking. It's one of the few elements that is a natural gold color. Most metals are gray, white or silver.

Gold doesn't tarnish. A gold doubloon retrieved from the wreck of a Spanish galleon is as brilliant in 2014 as it was when it was put on the ship in the 16th century.

Gold is also resistant to most acids. A solution called aqua regia is used to dissolve gold. Gold is also very dense; 24-karat gold is pure gold. The drawback with pure gold is that it's too soft for everyday wear; because of this, it's always alloyed with another metal to create jewelry.

Learn more about Precious Metals & Gems

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why is gold so precious?

    A:

    Hard to find in nature and durable enough to remain in perfect condition for centuries, gold is unlike any other metal in the periodic table. It has been used as currency and as a means to display wealth and power for centuries, particularly among royalty historically.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is gold so expensive?

    A:

    Gold is expensive because there are limited quantities available. In addition, it is expensive to produce, which also drives up the overall cost.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can I tell if an element is a metal?

    A:

    According to About.com expert Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, the simplest way to determine if an element is a metal is to see if it appears with the other metals on the periodic table. There are 117 non-theoretical elements on the periodic table, and all but 17 are either metals or metalloids. Scientists also use chemical experiments to determine if a sample of indeterminate nature contains metal ions.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Does gold have a smell?

    A:

    Gold does not have a smell, and it is also tasteless. It is a dense, soft and inert metal that has been sought after and used since antiquity. Gold is often found in free form, though it can also be extracted from minerals like tellurium. It does not tarnish.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore