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rarity support spike (2)
mine empire stems from
fill tempt barometer
link emerge currency
fix (2) last (2) announce
set glitter exchange
crisis safe (2) primarily
allure afterlife peak (2)
ounce demand slowdown
limit haven usefulness
suffer immune footstep (2)
cure jewelry conquistador






Homer called it the “Glory of the Immortals”. To the Incas, it was the sweat of the sun. The Egyptians believed it would support them in the afterlife.

For thousands of years, gold has tempted explorers, supported empires, and has become a market barometer.

Its value stems from its rarity: all the gold mined over the course of civilization wouldn’t fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools.

A direct link between gold and currency emerged in 550 BC when the first gold coins were struck in what is now part of modern Turkey.

In the nineteenth century, currencies around the world were fixed to gold.

That lasted until 1971, when President Nixon announced that the US would no longer exchange dollars for gold at a set price.

For investors though, gold still glitters in times of crisis. Its value peaked at $1,900 an ounce in 2011. And demand often spikes in times of market stress, as investor look for a safe haven.

Despite the allure, gold is not immune to economic realities: a slowdown in China has pulled prices down.

And gold’s usefulness is limited — its primary purpose today, for jewelry.

Still many follow in the footsteps of the Spanish conquistadors. Hernando Cortez said, “I and my companions suffer from a disease of the heart; that can be cured only with gold.”

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1. The allure of gold has been universal and timeless. True or false?

2. What is the main reason gold is so valuable?

3. Historically, gold has only been important for jewelry. Is this correct or wrong?

4. When did gold’s role in currency and finance change? Why did it change?

5. Why do people invest in gold?

6. Is the price of gold always high?


A. Has gold been important in your country’s history and culture?

B. I have read and heard lots of folktales and stories related to gold. Yes or no?

C. If you or your friends had lots of money, would you buy gold? Why or why not?

D. Is the gold business and industry big in your city? Do people like to buy and sell gold?

E. What will happen in the future?

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