Gold is a shiny, dense, malleable, soft precious metal that occurs naturally in the earth. It may be found as nuggets, mixed with soil, grains or specs, or seen in veins in rocks. Its symbol on the chart of chemical elements is AU. It is bright yellow in color, and does not oxidize in air nor water. It is for these accounts and much more that gold is highly valuable. Besides aesthetics, gold has other attributes that other precious metals do not have. It conducts electricity, and it's resistant to corrosion and individual acids. It's used for jewelry, in art, dentistry, electronics, x-ray technology, and in the production of lots of other products globally. In ultrafine colloidal form, gold has great physical and emotional effects on health. It has been used to treat grievous conditions of the muscles and joints as a result of rheumatoid arthritis, and for conditions of brain degradation, such as Parkinson's disease. It has also been documented to improve IQ by 25-35 % when administered under the tongue daily for a month or two.
Gold and other precious metals are calculated in troy ounces. A troy ounce is based on the British imperial system of weights and measurement, and weighs slightly more than a US ounce (avoirdupois). An avoirdupois weight is defined as the series of units of weight built upon the pound of 16 ounces and the ounce of 16 drams. One troy ounce is equivalent to 31.1034768 grams or approximately 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces. The quality of gold is determined by how pure it is. There is a minimum standard of purity set by the market for every precious metal that is bought or sold. It may be defined using karat (parts of gold per 24), percent (parts of gold per 100), or fineness (parts of gold per 1000, used in Europe). For example, 24K = 100 % = 1000 fine. However, it is more than likely that no metal is 100 % pure, so it is more accurate to say 24K = 99.9 % = 999 fine.
Gold is available in many forms today: bullion coins, bars, and ingots. Coins are round in shape and appear in an assortment of sizes, fashions and purity. They are manufactured as per detailed specifications as given by many governments around the world. Companies regularly produce memorable editions of coins for investment purposes or as collector items. Examples of these are the American Eagle, the Royal Canadian or Maple leaf, and the Chinese Panda coins. Bars are categorized as minted or cast based upon how they are manufactured. Minted bars are produced by cutting gold into specific dimensions from flat pieces of gold. The minted bars are then pressed with desired markings. On the contrary, Ingots are cast from molten gold poured into a mold with the desired markings already inside the mold. Ingots are occasionally called "biscuits", and they tend to be thicker and are not as smooth as minted bars.
There are various strategies that you can use to invest in gold. There are many types of transactions available for investing. Some examples are: you could execute a spot gold transaction, purchase or sell gold futures, or acquire shares of a gold exchange traded product called ETF (exchange traded fund), When buying via an ETF, or any stock or mutual fund type financial product, be sure that you read and comprehend the terms of the transaction. Each fund has its own special policies that you may disagree with. Before purchasing, ask if the underlying precious metal (gold actually exists, and to whom it belongs to. There are cases of double counting a physical bar. Inquire if you positively own the asset, and as such is it possible for you take possession of it, or is its value in the price shown on paper only from that particular broker? You may be the sort of person who prefers to hold coins. Always ask about any costs beforehand that are involved with the method that you choose to use for investing.