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Addition of some copper gives "rose gold", a soft pink colour.Remarkably other colours such as purple (a gold:aluminium alloy), blue (a gold:indium alloy) and even black (a gold:cobalt alloy) may be formed.Two thirds of the world's supply comes from South Africa, and of USA production is from South Dakota and Nevada.Gold is found in sea water, but no effective economic process has been designed (yet) to extract it from this source.The first UK Assay Office was and is based at Goldsmiths' Hall in London.It founded around 1300, and is from where the term "hallmarking" originates, meaning "marked in Goldsmiths' Hall".Gold has always fascinated people and gold is certainly one of the very first metals known.Nobody knows who picked up a gold nugget first but it would have been because it was shiny.
Tutankhamun's funeral mask is one of the most iconic gold pieces known.
Quite properly they must be alloyed with base metals (which happen to be cheap) for manufacturing.
The assay protects the consumer by ensuring sure that not too much base metal was used.
The 1773 Act of Parliament appointed 30 local men as 'Guardians of the Standard of Wrought Plate in the Town of Sheffield' to supervise the work of the Office.
In 1773 Sheffield already had an established tradition of fine silverware production and the number of Guardians who were also silversmiths was restricted to just ten to ensure that the Assay Office offered an independent and impartial service.