Gold bars are pictured at the Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo October 23, 2009.
Everything changes, but Gold still remains a highly valued metal. It reaching record highs recently, climbing over 135% in value in the past year alone. The recent rise in the price of gold comes just as annual worldwide mine production has decreased – down by nearly 8% since 2001.
A total of 161,000 tonnes of gold have been mined in human history, as of 2009. Modern industrial uses include dentistry and electronics, where gold has traditionally found use because of its good resistance to oxidative corrosion and excellent quality as a conductor of electricity.
Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, or an ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become translucent.
A visitor touches the world’s largest solid gold brick weighing 220kg (worth over US $7.8 million), at the Jinguashi Gold Museum in Ruifang, Taipei county, on December 2, 2009.
Hava Katz, the head of the national treasures of Israel’s Antiquities Authority, holds up a 1,000-year-old gold coin minted in Egypt and dated 1,095 AD, supposedly brought to Jerusalem by Muslim pilgrims, during an exhibition at the Davidson Archeological center in Jerusalem’s Old city on November 11, 2009.
A statue of a bird of prey made of gold is pictured at a gold and silver exhibition at the Ginza Tanaka store in Tokyo October 23, 2009.