Exactly how is gold formed? No one knows for sure. The story around this rare metal is truly an enigma. No one knows how it was formed and who first discovered it. For thousands of years, gold has been one of the world's most precious commodities. Valued by every major civilization of record, gold still remains as powerful now as it did in ancient times, perhaps because of the mystery involving its origins. The following hypotheses suggest how gold came to be:
The Greek Theory: Gold was probably first spotted in a stream, and Greek philosophers believed gold was a combination of water and sunlight.
The Hot Water Theory: Surprisingly, the most popular of the three hypothesis is a complex variation on the primitive idea that gold is a combination of water and sunlight. This hypothesis states that circulating pools of ground water were heated by volcanoes and molten rock, and then pushed into crevices in the earth's surface. The water went several miles into the earth's surface. As the heated water contacted the mineral-rich crust, it began dissolving the metals in the bedrocks. When the water eventually reached a cooler surface, a unique, gold-like metal formed.
The Magma Theory: The second hypothesis presupposes that the elements that create gold are present and expelled from volcanic magma as it cools. Because granite rocks are solidified magma, this hypothesis especially holds true for gold found near or inside this type of rock.
The Hot Rock Theory: The third hypothesis concerns gold found in volcanic rocks. It states the rocks were heated at high temperatures and pressurized, which created a chemical reaction. As the temperatures cooled and pressure decreased, the rock expelled mineral-rich water. The minerals in this water eventually created gold.
The presence of gold in both water and earth helps explain the various techniques for gathering this precious metal. For example, prospectors panned for gold in California during the Gold Rush, and companies and individual miners have been exploring promising gold deposits for years.
How did gold get its name? The Romans gave gold a Latin name, but the word we use today comes from the German language.
Want to know how to test gold? You could use a simple magnet test, or you can invest in a gold test kit that will tell you just how pure that gold is.