Gift of love

From the first discoveries of gold in ancient times, its beauty and the ease with which it could be worked inspired craftsmen to create it into ornaments, not just for adornment, but as symbols of wealth and power. The skills of the goldsmith from ancient Egypt to Benvenuto Cellini or Carl Faberge still amaze us. As Pindar wrote nearly 2,500 years ago, "Gold is the child of Zeus, neither moth nor rust devoureth it". Today, gold jewellery is more a mass- market product, although in many countries still treasured as a basic form of saving. jewellery fabrication is the crucial cornerstone of the gold market. For the past several years, the brilliant luster of Gold has fascinated many. Since it was first found it has been a part of our lives. To a lot of people Gold has not just been a precious metal but an investment as well. Since the stone age as estimated 1,30,000 tones of gold has been produced, over half of which has been mined since 1850. It may sound surprising but it is true that as many as 17 tones of ore is mined to extract a single ounce (31.104gm) of gold. Gold is available from earth's crust, in the seas, river and plants. In nature gold if found in veins and secondary alluvial deposits as a free metal or in combined state. Gold is also recovered as byproduct from Silver & Copper refining. Placer mining or panning and open pit mining is techniques commonly used to recover gold from earth. South Africa is world's single largest gold producer, followed by USA, Australia, Russia and Canada and West Africa. Pure gold is used in those parts of the world where jewellery is purchased as much for in- vestment as it is for adornment, but it tends to be vulnerable to scratching. Elsewhere, it is usually mixed, or alloyed, with other metals. Not only do they harden it, but influence the colour; white shades are achieved by alloying gold with silver, nickel or palladium; red alloys contain mainly copper. A harder alloy is made by adding nickel or a tiny percentage of titanium.

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