DTK Prix de l'or - Cours des métaux

The German Association of Crystal Growth DGKK and the Swiss Society for Crystallography hosted the 5th German Swiss Conference on Crystal Growth GSCCG-5/DKT 2017 which took place from March 08 to 10, 2017 in Freiburg, Germany.
The whole organizing team says thank you for your contributions to a successful conference!


At the following link you can download pictures of the conference. The login is given in the latest e-mail.

We hope you all enjoyed your time in Freiburg!
The chairmen of 5th GSCCG / DKT 2017

History of gold prices

At the origin of the first monetary systems, gold is a precious metal whose price is closely monitored: it evolves in times of crisis, depending on geopolitical and economic situations. It is a safe haven to which investors turn in anticipation of risks. But it is also a witness to the history of countries with the gold coins struck at the rate of reigns or political developments. How has the price of gold evolved over the centuries, to become that we know today? How has the gold standard or the Bretton Woods agreements shaped the price of gold, and how has it changed since 1970?

How gold became a currency

Wheat, the first gold price standard

Gold was used as early as 950 BC as a currency: the Phoenicians used it in particular to develop trade in the Mediterranean basin. In 600 BC, King Alyattès established the value of the precious metal in wheat. It is the first known reference to a gold price in history. His son King Croesus also imposed a correspondence between gold and silver, by striking silver coins similar to the cresides in gold. It is the beginning of bimetallism: a gold coin is worth ten silver coins. The Persians, then the Greeks keep a price of gold compared to silver. In ancient Greek cities, for example, the 8 to 12 gram stater gold coin is worth 20 to 28 drachmas and the silver stater is worth 2 to 4 drachmas.

How much is a gram of gold worth under the Roman Empire?

Trade is growing, and so is the monetary system. In 121 BC, for example, the Gauls began to mint their own gold coins. The Roman Empire also adopted gold as the basis of its monetary system, and maintained a correspondence between gold and silver. The gold aureus for example is worth 25 silver denarii. It was replaced at the beginning of the 4th century by the solidus. This Roman coin weighs 4.5 grams of fine gold. Its weight in gold is guaranteed: this coin becomes the reference of the Roman tax system. It is divisible: semi-solidus, third of solidus ... It is a real gold standard.

From the gold coin to the gold standard

How much did the gram of gold cost in the Middle Ages?
During the Middle Ages, the silver currency is essential in Europe, for lack of rather important gold deposits. But in the 14th century, gold coins returned: after the gold guilder among the Florentines in Italy, the Franks also struck their first gold franc. It is a 24-carat gold coin, which weighs 3.88 grams. They will then give way to the Ecus d'or, then to the Louis d'or. In the Middle Ages, the first hallmarks on gold and silver also appeared.

What is the price of a gram of gold after the Revolution?
After the French Revolution, it was the advent of the Germinal franc, or gold franc: it was established with a decimal account system, where 1 franc was worth 100 cents. Bimetallic also takes a bigger place, and the relationship is legally established between gold and silver. One gram of gold is worth 15.5 grams of silver.

The Latin Union, a monetary convention around gold and silver coins
In 1865, France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy signed a monetary agreement to harmonize their national currencies and facilitate transactions. It is the Latin Union : other countries then join it, such as Sweden, Russia, Finland, Romania, Spain ... This monetary agreement sets benchmarks in terms of the weight of gold and silver currencies . The 20 francs gold becomes the reference coin: it weighs 6.45 grams, with a title of 90% or 5.81 grams of fine gold.

A gold standard regime until 1939

The gold standard was set up in 1879: it was a fixed exchange rate regime, which enabled countries to make their currencies convertible into a certain amount of gold. But the First World War, then the end of the convertibility of banknotes into gold and the suspension of the circulation of gold coins in the 1930s weakened the system.

The price of gold and the Bretton Woods

With the Bretton Woods agreements , the Gold Exchange Standard governed the world monetary system between 1944 and 1971. Only the dollar is then convertible into gold, and all currencies are convertible into dollars. It must be said that the United States then held 70% of the world's gold reserves. The price of gold and the dollar become almost identical.

Gold prices and the Bretton Woods agreements

How has the price of gold evolved since 1970?
With the end of the gold standard in 1971 and the end of the convertibility of the dollar into gold, the price of the precious metal increased exponentially. Between 1971 and 1980, the ounce of gold went from 35 to 850 dollars: the price of gold was influenced by international conflicts and oil shocks.

What is the price of gold after the oil shocks?

The price of gold rose by 60% in 1974, after the first oil shock in 1973: this was the effect of the investor rush for gold. The situation was the same in 1979, after the Iranian revolution and after the second oil shock: the price of gold fell from 216 to 500 dollars an ounce at the end of 1979. The ounce of gold reached even 850 dollars in January 1980, just after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan: a political crisis which caused great concern, especially in the context of the Cold War. This influence of the political crisis on the price of gold is notable: the price per ounce decreases when military tensions are less frequent, and increases in the event of a political crisis.

Between the 1980s and the start of the 21st century, gold was somewhat neglected by investors. But the price of gold made another good in September 2001: the attacks on the World Trade Center marked a new period of very strong political tension.

How has the value of an ounce of gold changed over the past 20 years?
The price of gold has only increased over the past 20 years . An ounce of gold was worth 303 euros in January 2000. In January 2020, it was worth 1553 euros! But in fact, this evolution has known some notable episodes.

Gold price evolution for 20 years - source AuCoffre.com
Gold prices during the subprime crisis and the euro zone debt crisis
Between 2000 and 2005 , the price of gold was in a very slight upward trend. In January 2005, the ounce of gold approached 321 euros. But from 2006, this increase is much more marked ... especially with the subprime crisis, which first affected the United States in 2008 and then Europe in 2009. Thus, the ounce of gold reached a record at 972 dollars in February 2008, and it reached 700 euros in January 2009. It is however only one stage, whereas the debt crisis in the euro zone worries the investors. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus are particularly affected and the price of gold continues to rise. In October 2012, the ounce of gold was 1373 euros. Over 1000 euros compared to January 2000!

Gold prices have been increasing since 2018: what is the price of gold today?
The price of gold experienced a period of stagnation between 2012 and 2018, but from 2018, it started to rise again, in particular after several central banks decided to take advantage of gold prices to strengthen their own reserves. 'gold.

From February 2020, the price of gold started to rise sharply again. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis and as a new, even more serious economic crisis looms, investors are turning to gold to diversify "just in case". Thus, the price of gold in euros reached 1562 euros per ounce in mid-April 2020. In dollars, it reached 1686 dollars per ounce, which is even lower than the highest gold prices in September 2011 ($ 1,899 per ounce of gold).

Who has been fixing the price of gold since 2004?

Il n’y a plus de cours officiel de l’or en France depuis 2004, mais il existe bien un cours de l’or. C’est en fait la London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) qui fait autorité sur les marchés : cette association regroupe de nombreux acteurs : négociants en or, fabricants, raffineurs, mais également des banques comme la Banque de Chine, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Scottia-Mocatta, UBS ou la Société Générale.

Comment est fixée la cotation de l’or en euros ou en dollars aujourd’hui ?
Le « London Fixing », c’est-à-dire le cours de l’or selon la London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), est établi deux fois par jour, à 10h30 et 15h. Il est calculé en fonction de l’offre et de la demande en or dans le monde. Le cours de l’or est donc étroitement lié à la situation économique, politique et sociale dans le monde… et il peut être fortement impacté en cas de crise.

The demand for gold jewelry in India and China can influence the price of gold.

The price of gold also depends on the demand for precious metal in the jewelry and industrial sectors. Gold jewelry, for example, is particularly sought after at certain times of the year in China and India, which can impact the price of the precious metal. But here too, the economic and social situation can have an effect on the demand for gold jewelry. In January 2020, the coronavirus crisis had a significant impact on the Chinese New Year festivities, a time when gold is traditionally in great demand in China, but at the same time the price of gold climbed to 1428 euros. an ounce… because of the significant risks linked to the health crisis and the effects on the world economy.

But it should also be remembered that "London Fixing", established by the LBMA, is mainly established for the price of paper gold (ETFs). Several scandals have led to a clean-up of the London Gold Fix, replaced by the LBMA Gold Price in March 2015.

Where to buy gold ?

The price of gold is one of the components to know to buy physical investment gold ... but it is not the only one. The characteristics of gold coins must also be taken into account. To be sure not to be mistaken, you must choose a reliable intermediary, with good guarantees of security and transparency. To read in this file "Where and how to buy gold" !

Gold price: how much is a gold bar worth?
How much is a gold bar worth?
Gold is sometimes represented in the form of an ingot, even if this physical form is far from offering the same guarantees of security and certification as investment gold coins . Not to mention that they are not breakable and that they are also… very heavy! A gold bar as seen in films for example could correspond to bars "Good Delivery", a standard of the LBMA. These bars weigh on average 12 kilos, for 400 ounces of gold. During the gold price on April 24, 2020 (1600 euros per ounce of gold), a 12 kg gold bar is worth 640,000 €. But in reality, gold bars are more often one kilo gold bars, or 1000 grs of pure gold. There are also smaller bars.