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FAQ
 
1. Am I better off buying bullion bars or coins?
         Bullion bars and coins are priced on the basis of their fine gold content. However, different premiums may be charged by the same dealer, depending on the availability of each type of bar or coin. You may also want to check, at the time of purchase, how much commission would be charged to buy back any bars or coins should you wish to trade them in the future. Apart from your individual preferences for the way bullion coins and bars look, the premium charged over and above the gold price would probably be the deciding factor.

 2. Alchemy: Can base metals be turned into gold?
       All metal atoms are made of the same building blocks of protons, neutrons and electrons, but in different quantities, so in theory it could be possible to change base metals into gold or any other metal of value to mankind. In practice, it is achieved only in nuclear reactions, where heavy radioactive metals decay into other lighter elements, including some isotopes of gold. However, man's ancient dream of turning base metals into gold is not a practical proposition. So it remains a dream!

3. Are there likely to be new practical uses for gold discovered in the coming years?
        Almost certainly. There is a very active network of university researchers studying the advanced.scientific properties of gold, actively supported by the gold mining industry. The last international gathering of these researchers attracted over 250 delegates from around the world, see www.gold2006.org for more details. Scientists are looking at how gold can be used effectively for a diverse range of new applications including advanced electronics, fuel cells, cancer treatments, and chemical catalysts. In the last 10 years over 39,000 patent applications were published relating to the technical use of gold in practical applications, so new uses for gold will soon emerge based on these patented technologies.

4. As well as electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance, what other properties of gold are useful?
        Gold, like other important metals, has some unique physical, chemical, and optical attributes that mean it is the best material for a certain application. For example, gold is very ductile and for some electronic components like bonding wires, the ability to draw gold alloys into extremely thin diameters without breaking is a critical property in the manufacturing process. Gold is also extremely malleable, so in the annealed state it can be hammered cold into a translucent wafer 0.000013 cm thick. One ounce of gold can be beaten into a sheet covering over 9 square metres and 0.000018 cm thick. Bulk gold has a familiar yellow colour of course. However, when particles of gold are small enough their colour is actually ruby red. This effect has been used to colour glass red, even in Roman times, but if such tiny particles are allowed to coalesce in a controlled fashion, their colour can be varied from pink through violet to blue. This unique property has been used as a colorimetric indicator in home pregnancy tests.

5. Can I find out where my gold jewellery was manufactured?
        Depending on the country that your gold jewellery was purchased in you may be able to tell where the gold jewellery was manufactured from the hallmarking on the item. Hallmarking is only a legal requirement in some countries, for example the United Kingdom. In other countries hallmarking is done voluntarily, and in others is not carried out at all. In countries where hallmarking is carried out, small symbols are made to the item which identifies information such as caratage, country of manufacture and company that manufactured it. The extent of the information available from the hallmark depends on the hallmarking standards of the country that the jewellery was purchased in.

6. Can I tell where the gold in my jewellery was sourced?
        At present, it is not possible to tell which mine or country the gold in a jewellery item was sourced from. Gold jewellery is made from gold from a number of sources, with the most important being gold mining which accounts for around 2/3rds of gold supply. The rest comes from recycling (old jewellery, bars, coins and industrial recycling, often referred to as "scrap"), which is around 20% of gold supply, and from stocks of gold bullion held by banks, which is around 13% of supply.

7. Can the gold used in industrial applications be recycled?
        Yes, there is no technical reason why gold used in industrial applications cannot be recycled and re-used. Gold can be reprocessed without this impairing it’s qualities or performance. In the electronics industry for example, there is a growing market for old recycled computer chips and circuit boards. These are collected in order to extract the valuable metals like gold contained in them. In this way, gold may be re-used again and again, conserving natural resources.

8. Can the information or photos on your website be reproduced for educational or personal use?
        Only by permission, please see copyright.

9. Can you comment on historical returns of gold vs stocks?
        On average, across markets and across time, historical returns on gold tend to be unrelated to those on stocks, as represented by a number of stock market indices. This is of interest to investors seeking to diversify their portfolios. The correlation of returns on stocks and those on gold are reported in our Investment Statistics for a range of countries and are updated every quarter. In addition, our Research area contains a number of papers dealing with this subject.

10. Changing Unsafe Behaviours?
        There are a range of very different initiatives which have and continue to be undertaken at various mines such as:

         The DuPont S.T.O.P. programme (Safety Training and Observation Programme)

        1 One mining company introduced a so called “Golden Wives” initiative focused on getting the wives of mineworkers involved in safety management. Wives                                 were introduced to the way safety should be managed, and even visited their husbands underground. The programme focused on the importance of                                 working safely, and creating just a little peer pressure in the home environment
.
          3 Safety culture surveys with the premise being the need to understand how the workforce perceives safety, so that appropriate interventions could be                                         designed.

11. Do gold mutual funds invest in gold?
        Many gold mutual funds simply invest in the shares of gold mining companies, although some do invest in physical gold. The composition of the fund should be available in the prospectus for each fund. For more information on gold-oriented funds,

12. Do you supply training materials on gold?
        In some cases, yes. For details, please see our 'jewellery professional' site

13. Does the demand for gold follow a seasonal pattern?
       There are seasonal patterns to jewellery demand, although the pattern varies from one country to another. Global demand is usually strongest in the fourth quarter of the year, followed by first quarter demand.

       The main elements governing this are:

      1 Western world: Christmas

    2  Islamic world: Eid Al Fitr at the end of Ramadan is a major gold giving occasion. Since the Islamic year is ten or eleven days shorter than the calendar                    year, the date of Ramadan moves each year. In 2006 the Eid Al Fitr was on October 23rd. Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) takes place seventy days after                     the Eid Al Fitr and is also a significant gold-giving occasion. In 2006 Eid Al Adha fell on December 31st. Pilgrims going to Mecca and Medina may also                         buy gold; the main pilgrimage period, the Haj, culminates around the time of the Eid Al Adha.

    2 India: gold buying peaks during the wedding season and at the times of various festivals that vary from region to another. The biggest festival is Diwali, which                   usually falls in late October or November. The wedding season varies from region to region but is normally from November to May with a break from                   approximately mid-December to mid-January. In August, the two-week Shrad period is inauspicious for ceremonies associated with gold buying; every three                   years or so this is followed by an additional month (Adik Mas) which is also not a time for gold buying. (Exact dates vary since the Hindu calendar is a lunar                   one.)

    2 China and East Asia: Chinese New Year (last part of January or first half of February).

    2 Turkey: Demand is highest in the third quarter due to tourist purchases. The effect of a festival would normally show up earlier than the date in gold sales since               people purchase in advance. Also, since data often represents retail or wholesale purchases demand may often reflect distributors stocking up for the                  season. The seasonal pattern does not affect price; it is well known in the gold markets and therefore discounted. There are many other factors in addition to                  demand which affect the price of gold.

14. Hasn't it been shown that countries without natural resources - like many of those in East Asia - have been more successful economically than those with natural resources?
       Yes, some people argue this. And it is true that the performance of some countries in exploiting their mineral resources has been disappointing (although this is not generally the case with gold). But the research that appeared to demonstrate that exploiting natural resources is not a good route for developing countries has been challenged in a number of quarters. Importantly it is based on only one period of history (1970 to 1990) and ignores the fuller historical record when there is clear evidence, starting with the UK at the time of the industrial revolution, that exploiting mineral resources helps development. Gold mining was of major importance in the development of California and other parts of the American West, Australia and, of course, South Africa. More recently countries such as Chile, Malaysia and Botswana have used mineral resources successfully to stimulate more general growth. We do not know all the answers but it seems that quality of governance is a key factor in ensuring that resources are exploited successfully.

 15. How big is a tonne of gold?
       Gold is traditionally weighed in Troy Ounces (31.1035 grammes). With the density of gold at 19.32 g/cm3, a troy ounce of gold would have a volume of 1.61 cm3. A metric tonne (equals 1,000kg = 32,150.72 troy ounces) of gold would therefore have a volume of 51,762 cm3 (i.e. 1.61 x 32,150.72), which would be equivalent to a cube of side 37.27cm (Approx. 1' 3'').

16. How big is the gold investment market?
       In 2005, the overall gold market saw inflows of US$ 56 billion, of which nearly US$ 9 billion represented investment flows. Ultimately, the size of the gold investment market is some proportion of all the gold that has ever been mined. On this basis, gold represents around 4% of the market capitalisation of global bonds and equities.

17. How can gold be both a currency and a commodity? Isn't this a contradiction?
      For most of history, currencies have been backed by commodities, or metals were used as money directly. Even today, when national currencies are no longer backed by real assets, gold maintains its value as an independent, international currency but at the same time is used as a commodity, and certainly viewed as a commodity, by many investors around the world. Gold’s ability to play this dual role successfully underpins its usefulness to investors.

18. How can I buy or sell gold?
      Our How to Buy section describes various ways that investors can gain access to gold, while a list of contact details is available in our Where to Buy area.

19. How can I contact a bullion dealer?
      Our How to Buy section describes various ways that investors can gain access to gold, while a list of contact details is available in our Where to Buy area.

20. How can I invest in gold?
There are many ways to invest in gold and these are explained fully on www.gold.org/value. How an individual chooses to invest in gold depends on the size of the investment, his/her reason for investing, and the purpose of the investment. People invest directly in bars and coins; through gold futures, options, warrants and certificates. They may also hold gold in metal accounts with their bank in just the same way they could have a foreign currency account. The most popular, fastest-growing form of gold investment is also the newest: gold traded in the form of a security on stock exchanges around the world, generally referred to as “gold ETFs”.

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