MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MANFRED KAGE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Macrophotograph of elemental gold, a soft, yellow, malleable transition metal. Gold is found scattered through gravel (placer gold) or disseminated in veins of quartz (vein gold) and is also present in some lead and copper sulphide ores. The purity of a sample of gold is expressed in carats; 24 carat gold is pure whereas 18 carat gold is an alloy containing only 75% gold (by weight). Gold is used in jewellery and dentistry and in electrical contacts and solders. It is chemically unreactive and has the chemical symbol Au.
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