Think Tank

Native Gold

Gold occurs in several varieties, including nuggets, a wiry form and as fine grains or 'gold dust'.

Gold nuggets from the Lapworth Museum of Geology

Native Gold

These are some examples of Gold, a naturally occurring metal.

Gold is very resistant to tarnishing and very soft. These properties make Gold ideal for making jewellery.

Gold is an economically important mineral that is used in the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter.

More about Native Gold

Gold is a native metal and an element, or material that cannot be broken down into simpler components. It has the chemical Symbol Au, which stands for aurum, the Latin word for Gold.

This gold was found at various places across the world. The large nugget and the gold dust came from French Guiana, the smaller nugget came from Zimbabwe and the wiry (or dendritic) Gold came from Oregon in the USA.

Gold has been used in jewellery for thousands of years because of its attractive yellow colour and shine, its rarity and because it does not tarnish. It is ideal for making jewellery because it is soft, easy to work and can easily be cast.

Gold is very soft and malleable, so that just 28 grams can be beaten into a sheet covering 30 square metres.

Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity, so it is used in many electronic devices, such as computers and mobile telephones. Gold also has important uses in the aerospace industries.

A carat is a measure of the purity of Gold. 24 carat Gold is pure, containing a minimum of 99% Gold. Pure Gold is very easy to shape, but also very soft, so it is often mixed with other metals to make it harder. 22 carat Gold contains 91.6% Gold, 18 carat Gold is 75% Gold, and 9 carat Gold contains just 37.5% Gold.

Want to know more?

To download this information or to find out more, click on the Resources to your right. 

This Native Gold is part of the collections held at the Lapworth Museum, University of Birmingham. Use the ‘Lapworth Museum of Geoogy’ web link below to find out more about the Collections at the Lapworth Museum.

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Giant tree frog skeleton from Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

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