Discovered around 5000 BC, gold was a coveted commodity in ancient times already. Findings from Germanic graves and excavations in the Nile valley prove that even 4,000 years ago the processing of gold was in high bloom. By the Middle Ages, the gold deposits of European countries were already exhausted. After America was discovered in 1492, it was the gold discoveries in Mexico, Peru and Brazil that provided the Spaniards with immeasurable wealth. In 1848 the gold deposits were discovered in California, in 1854 in Australia, in 1880 in South Africa and in 1896 in Klondyke on one of the tributaries of the Yukon in North America.
Chemically pure gold is called fine gold. It is free of all other metals such as silver and copper and can be rolled out into gold leaf (approx. 1 micrometer). Fine gold is light yellow in colour, which does not change when exposed to air as fine gold does not combine with the oxygen in the air. Fine gold is the most ductile metal. Due to its softness and flexibility, it is mixed (alloyed) with other metals before processing. By adding silver, the colour turns lighter, by adding copper, it becomes darker. Gold is available in the colours yellow gold, red gold, white gold, green gold, rose and grey gold.