Gold is an important part of the world of diamond jewellery. Most diamonds meant for jewellery are set in gold rings, pendants or earrings. It’s therefore quite interesting to see how much gold is currently available, to compare it with a little history and have a glimpse at the future.
Gold production in the New World
When stories are told about the 16th century and the New World the Spanish conquered, tales of massive amounts of gold are not far off. But can we really consider the New World to be such a treasure trove by today’s standards?
The 16th century was truly the golden time for the Spanish in the New World, yet in the entire 16th century only 154 metric tons of gold were dug up. This is less than half the gold production in just the year 1900. The Spanish mainly got silver from the New World, 7440 metric tons in the 16th century to be exact. The gold production of the 16th century really wasn’t that impressive from today’s perspective.
The world’s gold supply
How much gold is there in the world? The best estimate says that at the end of 2011 there was about 165.000 metric tons available. This does sound like quite a lot, but when you’d imagine all the gold in volume it’s actually not that large an amount. Gold is extremely dense, so 165.000 metric tons of gold would only equal a cube with sides of about 20 meters each or 67 feet in imperial units.
Annual gold production
The world’s gold production has increased dramatically in the second part of the 20th century. More than half of the entire world’s gold supply has been produced over the past 50 years. Each year we’ll produce about 2.500 metric tons of gold. That is until we run out of gold deposits of course.
Gold is a rare material, but it’s becoming increasingly scarce. The time of massive gold mines is sadly over and gold miners are forced to look at the most desolate corners of the planet to keep up production. Will the high demand for gold and the limited supply cause problems for the jewellery market in the near future?
We’re expecting the demand to shift to alternate metals like platinum over time as gold prices rise. Sadly there are few metals currently available that can offer the same beauty, prestige and quality at an affordable price.