Because we are one of the leading gold refineries in the world, we hear an awful lot of questions about that precious metal. We hear these questions at backyard cookouts. We hear them when people call us at 800-426-2344 to ask about their recyclable precious metals.
Most of the questions we hear are very smart, but we have also heard some very strange ones. In today’s post, we are going to answer some of the oddest.
“How much gold is in my body and can I recycle it?”
According to the best estimates we have been able to find, about 0.00000005% of the average human body is comprised of gold. That means that if you weigh 200 pounds, your body contains less than one ten-thousandth of one pound of gold. So if you are thinking of recycling yourself, you aren’t going to make much money. And contrary to some myths, gold does not become concentrated in your toenails, hair, or freckles. There just isn’t that much of it inside you. The exception is that if your dental work includes gold fillings, gold bars, or gold wire, they are literally worth their weight in gold.
Sources: “Composition of the Human Body,” Wikipedia, and other sources
“Is it true that Cleopatra ate gold?”
People probably ask this question because they remember the layers of gold leaf that were applied to the wooden coffins of some ancient Egyptian rulers. But there seems to be no evidence that ancient Egyptians royals actually ate gold.
What seems to be true, however, is that Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566), the mistress of King Henry II of France, poisoned herself by drinking a potion daily that contained gold, mercury, and other metals. She thought it would keep her young. That might have been true, but apparently her gold cocktail killed her when she was 66. Modern scientists have tested her hair and found that it contains 500 times normal levels of gold and mercury. So maybe she is the one human being who could have smelted herself.
Source: “French king’s mistress poisoned by gold elixir,” by Henry Samuel, The London Telegraph, December 22, 2009
“Didn’t an Austrian artist paint a solid-gold painting that is worth millions of dollars?”
This rumor has been around for a long time. It is based on the appearance of a gold-encrusted portrait of a woman named Adele Bloch-Bauer that the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt painted in 1907. The painting is worth tons of money because of who the artist was, not because of its gold content. In fact, it only contains a gleaming surface made with very thin gold leaf. Incidentally, this painting is at the center of the plot of a movie that has just been released, “Woman in Gold.”
Source: “The Story Behind `Woman in Gold’: Nazi Art Thieves and One Painting’s Return” by Patricia Cohen, The New York Times, March 30, 2015
“Is gold constantly falling to Earth from outer space?”
The answer is, no it isn’t, so don’t run outside and expect to catch any. Martians aren’t pelting us with it either. But like some other myths about gold, this idea has a possible basis in fact. Some scientists believe that a lot of our planet’s gold (as well as some of its platinum) arrived here during a period of strong meteoric bombardment that happened about 200 million years after Earth was formed. It would be nice to think that gold is always falling around us, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Source: “Did Earth’s Gold Come from Outer Space?” by Elizabeth Svoboda, Discover, December 27, 2011
“Is a huge treasure of Nazi-held gold still waiting to be discovered?”
This legend doesn’t seem to want to go away. And maybe it shouldn’t, because there are credible reports that Nazis did hide large quantities of gold in lake Toplitz in Austria. Those suspicions are now being investigated.
Source: “Has Secret Nazi Treasure Been Hidden in this Beautiful Lake for 70 Years?” by Owen Bennett, The Express, March 28, 2014
“Isn’t there a museum of alchemy somewhere in Europe?”
Yes, there is one. It is the Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague, located in that city. It looks like a ton of fun.
Source: The museum’s website, http://www.muzeumpovesti.cz/en
“Can dachshunds smell gold?” and “Can pigs smell gold?”
Yes, we have heard both those questions. Although it is true that various animals with keen noses have been use to find termites, drugs, truffles, prison escapees, bombs, rodents and more, there is no evidence that they can sniff out gold.
We are here to answer your questions . . .
Our precious metal refiners are here to answer your questions about recycling gold and other precious metals. Give us a call today at 800-426-2344 and ask away!