Why is Gold Valuable?

Gold Bar and Coin - Why is Gold Valuable

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Have you ever asked, “Why is gold valuable?” It’s not just the captivating color that’s kept mankind fascinated for millennia. Gold’s value lies in its rarity, history as a form of currency, and enduring appeal as a safe investment.

Investors worldwide keep a keen eye on the daily gold price, using it as a diversification tool to shield against market turbulence. But what’s behind this precious metal’s high price tag? Why is it that gold, which no longer backs world currencies, remains one of the most expensive precious metals?

Gold In History & Symbolism

Gold’s role in history is both significant and fascinating. This precious metal has been a symbol of power, a medium for trade, and a mark of wealth for millennia. Let’s delve deeper into its historical journey across different civilizations and explore how its symbolism enhances the value of gold.

Eastern Europe 4000 BC

Tracing back to Eastern Europe, around 4000 BC, gold was already recognized as an assertive marker of wealth and power. Archaeological excavations show that, even then, people held the value of gold in high regard. Regarded more than just a mere decorative item, it had found its way into their daily transactions, strengthening its role as a reliable form of currency. The ingenuity of this stone-age civilization in recognizing gold’s worth and utilizing its element provides evidence for gold’s intrinsic value that holds true even today.

Ancient Egypt 1500 BC

Fast forward to Ancient Egypt, circa 1500 BC, and you’ll see the value of gold skyrocketing. Egyptians revered gold as the skin of gods, significantly enhancing its symbolic value. Pharaohs and temple priests amassed vast amounts of this gold, thus underlining their status and power. Gold was not just a luxury; for the ancient Egyptians, it was also a material with religious connotations. Its versatility, rarity, and symbolic value made it an ideal choice for artifacts and statues of gods, and it has been discovered in many royal Egyptian tombs.

Roman Empire 50 BC

Finally, arriving at the Roman Empire around 50 BC, gold’s value amplified even further. As the civilized world expanded, the Romans started issuing gold coins, further marking its importance as a universal currency. Gold quickly became the common medium for trade and commerce across the wide span of the Roman Empire, its appreciation reflected in the famous Latin phrase, “Aurum Potestas est”, which means ‘Gold is Power’. This historic phase reinforced the value of gold and set a precedent for its use in modern economies.

From prehistoric civilizations to today, gold has remained an ideal store of wealth due to its scarcity, durability, and unmatched universal appeal. Understanding this history provides insight into why gold is enduringly fascinated and why it continues to command such a high value in today’s market.

The Gold Standard

The Gold Standard represents a pivotal point in the history of gold as a valuable asset. Understanding its rise and fall provides crucial context to gold’s ongoing relevance and value, even though modern currencies no longer directly link with this precious metal.

Rise of the Gold Standard

Upholding the intrinsic value of gold, countries in the 1800s established the Gold Standard, a system where gold became the backing for paper money. Any bearer of paper notes could, in theory, redeem their holdings for a specified amount of gold. This system elevated gold from being just a coveted commodity to a literal standard of economic value. This gold-backed monetary system bolstered confidence in currencies, as paper money now had a tangible worth tied to a real, physical asset, further enriching gold’s value.

Collapse of the Gold Standard

However, stability couldn’t coexist with the tumultuous nature of world conflicts and economic downturns. Upon the eruption of World War I, countries annulled the Gold Standard to print more money, catering to war expenses. Post-war, the gold standard returned temporarily but met its definitive end during the days of the Great Depression and the subsequent Gold Reserve Act of 1934. This act declared private ownership of gold unlawful and significantly raised the price of gold for the first time in a century. The Gold Standard’s final breath came on August 15, 1971. The value of gold has since been determined by market forces rather than a fixed gold-to-paper money ratio.

Untethered from the constraints of the Gold Standard, the end value of gold saw a shift from $156 an ounce to approximately $2,359 as of May 28 2024. Despite the standard’s dissolution, gold’s purchasing power doubled, revealing its inherent value independent of a formal economic system. The pathway that gold took, from a sought-after commodity to the pillar of a monetary system and its resilience post-collapse of the Gold Standard, substantiates gold’s enduring value.

Gold Scarcity

To truly comprehend the value of gold, you must first understand its rarity. This precious metal possesses an equilibrious balance, making it the metaphorical goldilocks of Earthly metals. It’s rare enough to pique global interest yet common enough to be discovered and exploited worldwide. Without this specific level of scarcity, gold could have easily lost its allure, turning into just another glittering rock.

However, scarcity alone doesn’t entirely cement gold’s elevated status. Other intrinsic properties of gold lend it exceptional worth. Among them is gold’s unique durability. It doesn’t rust or tarnish and can only corrode under very specific conditions. Bury your gold, come back in half a century or even after 50,000 years, and it would remain virtually unchanged. This durability makes gold a reliable store of value.

When you intertwine gold’s scarcity, durability, and ease of division and transportation, its appeal becomes apparent. These properties have made people chase them worldwide for centuries, recognizing their inherent value over time.

Gold’s true value, however, lies not just within its chemical characteristics but also in its arduous acquisition process. This embodies the concept of proof of work. You’ll find that gold is scarcer than silver. Despite silver being approximately 17.5 times more prevalent in the Earth’s crust, gold is significantly more challenging to discover and extract, further bolstering its value.

In essence, the value of gold isn’t solely reliant on its rarity. It is a blend of gold’s scarcity, durability, usability, and the substantial effort required to procure it, making gold a universally valued resource. Unsurprisingly, gold has been invariably associated with wealth, power, and prestige, rendering silver simply the poor man’s gold.

Gold’s Endurance

Dive into the endurance of gold, a resounding testament to both its tangible and intangible worth. As a symbol transcending generations, the value of gold has always outlasted volatile economic changes, wars, and technological revolutions. Its wealth, power, and beauty symbolism remain unscathed across different cultures. This enduring value results from multiple inherent properties and a unique amalgamation of suitabilities, shaping gold as an asset that withstood the test of time.

Firstly, perceive gold’s paramount role in economies during potential currency collapses. Its reputation as a robust hedge against financial uncertainties stems from its centuries-old role as a preferred means of exchange. Tumultuous times often witness investors gravitating towards gold, seeking refuge in its steadfast worth when currencies weaken.

Secondly, acknowledge how gold’s rarity nudges its value upwards. As a finite resource, it’s challenging to extract, amplifying its desirability. Extracting gold demands considerable time and monetary investment and comes with an attached risk, further supporting its high demand.

Thirdly, due to its malleability, gold’s practical applications fuel its long-standing value. Gold is used extensively in industries like electronics, dentistry, and defense, and it is proven to be a substance of opulence and utility.

Lastly, relish the enduring allure of gold’s visual beauty. Its captivating brightness and corrosion resistance make it suitable for jewelry, again demonstrating its durability and value retention.

Understanding the facets influencing gold’s enduring value epitomizes its undeniable significance. Through the lens of history, economics, rarity, and beauty, gold’s versatility rightly establishes it as a timeless asset.

Modern-Day Uses of Gold

Beyond its historical significance and symbolism of wealth, gold finds everyday practical uses in several fields, thereby enhancing its value.


With its lustrous shine and malleability, gold plays a substantial role in the jewelry industry. It’s a preferred choice for creating intricate designs and timeless pieces. It’s highly resistant to corrosion, which means gold jewelry retains its sparkling appearance over decades, passing down from generation to generation. Hence, gold jewelry isn’t just about adornment; it is a testament to legacy and inheritance.

Investments – Coins & Bars

Gold remains a solid investment asset, serving as a safe haven during economic turmoil. Investors resort to tangible assets like gold coins and bars when dealing with uncertain market conditions. Since gold is relatively inelastic, its value sustains even when prices fluctuate, according to a study by Science Direct. Therefore, gold helps preserve and create wealth.

Dentistry & Medicine

In dentistry, gold’s biocompatibility and resistance to corrosion make it a valuable material for crowns, bridges, and orthodontic appliances. In the medical domain, gold particles are used in specific treatments, including a cancer treatment procedure known as “gold implantation.”


The space sector values gold for its reliable and efficient conductive properties. The protective layer in astronauts’ helmets? It’s gold. Gold-coated polyester film shields spacecraft from radiation and maintains a stable internal temperature. Given gold’s resilience, it’s a resourceful ally in exploring the frontiers of space.


Instruments you use daily, like mobile phones and computers, depend on gold. The metal’s superior electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance make it a pivotal material for connectors, switches, and other electronic components. Thus, gold in electronics underlines the intricate ways in which this precious element integrates into our lives.

Why is gold valuable?

You’ve journeyed through the ages, tracing gold’s significance and enduring appeal. From its early use as currency to its role as the backbone of the Gold Standard, it’s clear that gold’s worth extends beyond its glittering surface. It’s more than just a symbol of wealth and power – it’s a hedge against financial uncertainties and a practical asset in various industries. Whether it’s gracing a jewelry box, filling a dentist’s cabinet, or powering a spacecraft, gold’s versatility and biocompatibility highlight its timeless value. So, why is gold valuable? Its historical significance, enduring appeal, practical applications, and visual beauty all contribute to its worth. But perhaps it’s gold’s rarity – its ability to remain uncorroded and beautiful through the ages – that truly sets it apart. As you navigate your financial future, remember that gold isn’t just a precious metal; it’s a timeless asset.

About Altier Rare Coins

Located in South Florida, Altier Rare Coins has over a decade of experience in buying and selling precious metals, rare coins, currency, jewelry, watches and more!