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This blog discusses The Perth Mint's bullion coins and bars, providing information about our latest designs, mintages, sales volumes and sell outs. On a broader front, we share relevant research and opinions for anyone interested in gold and silver bullion investing.

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The Science Of Gold

Topics [ gold ]


For thousands of years, people have been using gold as money. But why gold? Why not osmium, lithium, ruthenium or one of the other 100+ elements in the Universe?

The star of this cool video is a chemical engineer who explains why gold is all but unrivalled as the outstanding candidate for money!

While we’re talking science, apparently gold’s golden glow is explainable by Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity. For the boffins out there, John Walker’s Fourmilab website offers everything you need to know - and then some!

“The colour of metals such as silver and gold is mainly due to absorption of light when a d electron jumps to an s orbital. For silver, the 4d→5s transition has an energy corresponding to ultraviolet light, so frequencies in the visible band are not absorbed. With all visible frequencies reflected equally, silver has no colour of its own; it's silvery. In gold, however, relativistic contraction of the s orbitals causes their energy levels to shift closer to those of the d orbitals (which are less affected by relativity). This, in turn, shifts the light absorption (primarily due to the 5d→6s transition) from the ultraviolet down into the lower energy and frequency blue visual range. A substance which absorbs blue light will reflect the rest of the spectrum: the reds and greens which, combined, result in the yellowish hue we call golden.”

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