Copper and gold are the noble metals among their counterparts. Since copper have much in common with gold, it should replace it, unless gold has an edge over the red metal.
Gold physical and chemical properties are well known. Its cultural and physiological value is the one in question here. Should copper, after some cultural reconstructing, be the next world’s gold and money? The price of 1,000 pounds of copper is 3 times the price of an ounce of gold.
To start, copper needs to be introduced properly. It’s a base metal, and has much in common with gold. It is a soft metal with very high electric and thermal conductivity. It shares with gold the ability to emit visible color, unlike most of other metals. Along with gold, both have a very old history with man almost in the late Stone Age, and the beginning of the Bronze Age, that’s roughly 10,000 years!
They differ in their occurrence rate, where gold is more scarce than copper. Copper’s history with man is little bit older, but it was mainly used in industries, unlike gold, where it was used for jewelry and other refined industries. Both maintained their mainly uses in contemporary era. Gold is used now in electronics and nanotechnologies, while copper is used in less refined industries such as wires manufacturing. Moreover, for a base metal, copper has a relatively strong resistance to rusting compared to other base metals.
The key differences between gold and copper are too great. Even if modern technology invented new ways to raise copper’s resistance to tarnishing and rusting to the same manner as gold and other precious metals, it couldn’t take the king of precious metals place.
The more abundant the resource, the cheaper it is and less valued. That is almost a universal rule applied to everything, except for gold. Even if copper has more uses than gold in the future, even if it became more vital to us in the future, gold will have an upper hand over copper.
The main physiological difference between gold and copper is, gold has been used as ornament for too long. The yellow precious metal established its place in the human culture as symbol of refines and supremacy. On the other hand, copper has always been used as a tool. It lacked the charm gold have.
Another difference between the red and the yellow metal is, gold has absolutely no reaction with any living organism, starting from simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria to us, humans. Even other precious metals such as silver have some effect on biological organisms. Copper, on the other hand, is biostatic. It prevents bacteria and similar simple organisms from reproduction. This could affect the bio-balance, if the ratio of copper in a living body changed and altered. Unlike gold, it doesn’t react with biological beings, and even if it enters the body, it is not consumed and the body get rids of it.
So, unlike gold, copper is abundant, affects our health and it has always been associated with practical uses. Ask a random man would they take an ounce of gold or 1,000 pounds of copper, even if these pounds are 3 times more expensive, they would choose gold.